• United States

Take two aspirins and e-mail me in the morning

Jul 24, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* The importance of messaging when selecting doctors and other providers

We are wrapping up a survey to determine the importance of e-mail and instant messaging in selecting service providers like physicians and travel agents. The goal of the survey was to find out just how important these communication media are to consumers of various services.

Here’s what we found:

* Only 13% of respondents indicated they could communicate with their physician via e-mail, while less than one-half of 1% indicated that they can communicate with him or her via instant messaging. However, 25% of respondents indicated that the ability to communicate via e-mail would be “extremely important” in selecting a physician if they did not currently have one.

* Further, assuming a physician did not provide the capability to communicate with his or her office via e-mail, 4% of respondents indicated that they would “definitely” switch physicians if another provider in the same location offered this capability; 13% indicated that they would “very likely” switch to a physician with whose office they could communicate via e-mail. Among patients who either do not have a regular physician or who have had one for five years or less, 20% indicated that they would very likely or definitely switch; among those who have had a regular physician for more than five years, this figure was 14%.

* Customers are most demanding of e-mail capabilities when purchasing tickets directly from an airline; 60% of respondents indicated that the ability to communicate with an airline via e-mail was extremely important in choosing a provider. Airlines were followed by travel agents (49%), real estate agents (40%) and tax preparers (35%).

* Instant messaging capabilities are not nearly as important as e-mail. Only 24% of respondents indicated that instant messaging capability when purchasing tickets directly is extremely important when choosing an airline, followed by physicians (22%), real estate agents (17%) and travel agents (16%).

More highlights of the study can be found at: