How conversational AI chatbots are helping healthcare companies acquire and retain users



I remember my first conversation with an AI-powered healthcare assistant. I woke up with watery red eyes. The more I rubbed them, the more miserable I became. I didn’t have time to go to the Doctor so I turned to my voice assistant for help.

Hi, I need help. My eyes are red and watery. What should I do?

Hi Sunpreet. That must be painful. Let me see how it looks. Can you point the camera at your eyes?

Sure. *points camera at eyes*

You have bloodshot eyes and it looks allergic. Nothing serious though. Wash your eyes in running cold water and put 2-3 drops of Naphazoline. Avoid rubbing and touching the eyes and reduce your screen time for today. You should feel better in a few hours.

Oh thank you!

My pleasure. If the redness doesn’t go away, you must go and see an ophthalmologist immediately. I can help you in booking an appointment whenever you want. Just let me know.

Sure. Thanks once again.

I was blown away by this interaction with a chatbot. My voice assistant was not just helpful, ‘she’ was empathetic and gave the right advice.

A friend also shared a similar incident of using Youper for monitoring her panic attacks and anxiety. She needed someone whom she could talk to at any time of the day. Youper not only listened to her like a friend, but also shared insights to reduce her anxiety.

None of this is fiction. This is the reality of modern healthcare. Friendly, human-like, chatbots are becoming a part of our lives. To backup my claim, here’s a Forbes article that says that “chatbots are projected to see over a 100% increase in their adoption rates in the next two to five years.”

But how did we reach here? What is one thing that makes chatbot’s adaptability easier for the end users?

The answer lies in customer experience.

Look at it this way- if you had a good experience shopping at a store, you’re likely to visit it again. You would also recommend it to your friends and family. The same is true for chatbots. If end users find the chatbot to be smart, intelligent, responsive, and useful, they are likely to use it again.

However, there’s one thing that we need to take into consideration. Customer experience, without customer service is of no importance.

Relationship between customer experience and customer service

Although the two sound similar, there is a difference between the two. Customer service is a subset of customer experience. You can have good customer service, but that does not mean your customer experience is great.

Customer service includes answering questions correctly, personalized responses, giving timely information, pointing to the right resources, transferring to the human-counterpart in case the chatbot is not able to handle customer’s questions, etc.

On the other hand, customer experience is a bigger subset which includes the experience of using the chatbot. It includes things like– UI of the chatbot interface, the ability to read customer’s tone and answer accordingly, preemptive monitoring of user’s symptoms, etc.

To build a good healthcare chatbot, both customer experience and customer service need to be exceptionally great.

How chatbots help in acquiring new users?

acquiring new users

When COVID-19 happened, a lot of us were caught in the frenzy. Nobody knew much about the virus and a lot of wrong facts and figures floated around the internet.

At that time, conversational AI healthcare chatbots came to the rescue. They answered pandemic-related questions and helped tackle the flood of misinformation. Since the chatbots were available 24*7, they didn’t pose any geographical barrier and helped people around the world.

This is just one example of how chatbots can help healthcare companies acquire new users. There can be many other use cases. For example- if your healthcare platform is information-based, then you can use chatbot to create awareness or disseminate right information. With help of Natural Language Processing (NLP) you can engage with your audience in a compelling manner where you understand/observe their mindset and offer them backlinks mixed with casual conversation. If you offer them quality content, they are likely to show more interest in reading more about your product/service. This behavior increases the chances of a conversion.

In acquiring new users, customer experience plays an important role. If the experience of interacting with the chatbot is broken, the users will move on, no matter how good quality content/service you provide.

How chatbots are helping in retaining users?

retaining users

Retaining users is the trickiest part and it’s more difficult than acquiring new users.

At the same time, retaining users is more rewarding. The reason is simple– one happy user will go and talk about the great experience to many of his/her friends. When users are satisfied with the service, they become the goodwill ambassadors. They share the word around, talk about it on social media and some people even go to the extent of posting raving reviews about the product/service.

The same is true for conversational AI healthcare chatbots. Great experience with the chatbot helps retain users and they further help in bringing organic traffic to the chatbot. Here’s a perfect example-

One of my friends had an unfortunate experience a few months back. She was out for grocery shopping when her elderly mother fainted in the house. The mother was all alone and her vitals dropped extremely quickly. My friend immediately received a notification about it and she called 911 for help. Thankfully, she received help at the right time and is now doing fine.

This incident made my not-so-tech-savvy friend grateful to technology that saved her mother’s life. After this incident, she has referred the app to everyone in our friend circle.

It only takes one excellent experience to retain users. Once users have engaged with a chatbot and gained a positive experience, they are more likely to return for more queries in the future.

Everyone wants access to authentic sources of information and wants to interact with responsive businesses. A well-designed chatbot helps you meet these requirements by removing the scope of human-error. Chatbots can be programmed to provide necessary information to new customers and gain their loyalty by offering them complete information about their query.

Investing in building chatbots for your healthcare product shows that you value your customers and want them to access the right information, quickly. It also shows that you, as a technology company, value their time and want to provide the best service. This, in turn, builds a sense of trust among your users. And trust, over a period of time, manifests itself in the form of loyalty.

Therefore, it’s the right time to invest in building conversational AI chatbots for your healthcare products and services. If you build it the right way, it will help you attract new customers and eventually turn them into repeating ones.

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