Salutations and sign-offs: why our templates default to “hi”, “dear” and “thanks”

Have you noticed that when you go to send a text message in Chain, the greeting automatically says “hi” if the patient you’re texting is under 30 and “dear” if the patient is over 30? There’s a reason for this!

Many of you are aware that a lot of our products and features are based on user feedback, and this is the same for the content within our message templates. Since patients are on the receiving end of our SMS service, we wanted to get their feedback about this too. 

As part of our preparation for creating templates, we held two focus groups with patients (the majority of whom were age 30+) to find out the various ways they prefer to receive information. On the whole, participants said they preferred to have name in the message greeting, citing that it is important they know the text message was meant for them. They were particularly keen on the message including their first name, saying that they feel more valued by their doctors when they are on a first name basis with them.

We also asked patients if they preferred “hi” or “dear” in the message greeting. Most of the participants either preferred “hi” or had no preference about what salutation was used. They instead were much more concerned with the content of the text message. After doing some more research on the side, we found that “hi” was the most popular email salutation. Since we also wanted to be mindful of the character limit in text messages, we decided this was the best option for our default salutation.

Some Chain users mentioned that they were not comfortable using “hi,” as it felt too casual for communications with older patients. As you know, we love user feedback and were keen to find a solution that both users and patients are happy with. This is why we decided to default our salutations to “hi” for patients under 30 and “dear” for patients over 30. 

We also asked patients about their preferred sign off. Participants in our focus groups weren’t too worried about the text message sign off, again being interested in the actual content of the message. When we asked if they preferred “thanks” to “sincerely,” “kind regards” “yours truly” etc., the majority of patients said they preferred a simple “thanks.” These findings were consistent with other studies that reported email sign offs containing “thanks” yielded a higher response rate. Just like how “hi” works well as our default salutation, “thanks” works well as our default sign off and also leaves our users with more characters to be put in the content portion of the message. 😃