For many of us, cell phones are our lifelines to the outside world. Yet, we spend WAY more time on our phones doing things OTHER than talking.
Today’s popular communication channels—such as live chat, email and texting—provide the privacy and ability to connect with others when it works for us. These communication preferences carry through to how participants want to engage with member and employee wellness programs too.
For tobacco users who are apprehensive about quitting, need help with cravings or are unsure which quit medication to use, live chat coaching is a valuable resource. It’s a convenient way for smokers to easily connect with experts to address their questions.
How to use live chat to authentically engage participants
When I say “live chat,” I know what you may be thinking. I recently interacted with my cell phone carrier via live chat. There was no human touch; the chat agent was a robot. The robot didn’t understand my specific needs and I didn’t feel heard or important.
This isn’t what I mean.
When I talk about live chat for tobacco cessation, this is the experience participants have with me as an EX Coach: authentic connections, personalized support and expert guidance.
So what do we do as EX Coaches that’s so special?
- We are trained experts in tobacco cessation.
Through live chat, we use behavioral counseling techniques to enhance and explore the specifics of a participant’s quit plan. This includes planning together how to overcome potential stumbling blocks they might face during their quitting journey.
We are also trained on all FDA-approved medications, including those that require prescriptions or are available over the counter. We know dosing information for each of the medications.
Plus, we have been trained on handling crisis situations and challenging situations with participants. Tobacco addiction often comes with other challenges, whether it’s other substance use or mental health concerns. We know how to work with people to address these challenges and live healthier lives.
- We are real people.
If a participant mentions it’s his birthday today, I’ll wish him a happy birthday. When another participant has the same name as my daughter, I’ll likely tell her that and that it’s a great name! I might even use an emoji (just one, no need to go overboard!) to help make the chat feel conversational.
Because we are real people interested in supporting participants, chats last as long as they need to. For some people, that’s just a few minutes. For others, it can be as long as 20 minutes. Especially when we’re talking about using medication, I make sure each person is clear on how best to use the product. The extra time focused on adherence can make all the difference in a successful quit!
- We ask questions tailored to our participants’ specific needs.
We call ourselves EX Coaches because our job is to help all participants who reach out to us through live chat feel empowered in achieving their personal goal of quitting tobacco. We are trained to meet members where they are in the quitting process.
If someone isn’t ready to quit right away, we talk about relevant topics to that stage of the journey. We’re not the smoking police. We’re here to support participants in their individual quitting processes. It is never a cookie-cutter experience.
Simply put, I like to think of us as the “Pete Carrolls of tobacco cessation.”
For more information on additional tools that engage today’s tobacco users in a successful quit, download Personalize Employee Benefits Where It Matters Most.