A blog post on the website for a business software provider, The Business Catalyst, www.thebusinesscatalyst.co.uk, dated 7 September 2022, entitled “How the Ideal Patient Journey Helps Practice Owners Get More Out Of Every Lead” described their customer relationship management (CRM) tool (Ideal Patient Journey) which was designed for appointment based businesses. Text stated, “In this article, we’re looking at the Ideal Patient Journey alongside some alternative systems currently being used by UK healthcare professionals to see how they compare”.
Under a heading “What else is on the market?” text stated, “Two popular alternatives that we have found currently being used by UK dental practitioners are: RoboReception: a website chatbot that fields customer enquiries from your website and can transfer their details to a Kanban board …”.
Under a further heading “How the Ideal Patient Journey stands out from the crowd” text stated “…RoboReception too is for the top end of your marketing funnel, specifically designed to manage the new enquiries. The Ideal Patient Journey, on the other hand, allows you to communicate with referring practitioners, manage cross-selling and upselling opportunities, track treatment plans and get the patient back into the pipeline once they’ve finished treatment …”
The blog linked to a comparison table entitled “Ideal Patient Journey Features” which listed various features of Ideal Patient Journey, RoboReception and a third software provider under the headings “COMMUNICATION AND MARKETING”, “REPORTING” and “OPERATIONS & STAFF TRAINING”. All features were ticked for Ideal Patient Journey but considerably fewer for the other two providers. Small text at the top of the table stated, “Please note that the features listed were at [sic] the time of this page being published and may have varied. Please check with respective software providors [sic] to ensure you have the latest and most up to date information”.
RoboReception Ltd, who believed the claims about its software were reductive because they omitted other key functions the software offered, challenged whether the comparison was misleading.
The Business Catalyst Ltd said that they had invited RoboReception to elaborate on the functionality and features of their product as they had not been able to find that information online. They believed that RoboReception did not have a full CRM system and that Trello, the Kanban board where new patient lead details were transferred, was merely a project management and tasking tool. They pointed out that the comparison table contained a disclaimer.
The Business Catalyst said they would amend the description in the blog to add that RoboReception allowed users manually to update the stages of a contact in the patient journey and manually create reminders for the daily to do lists. They said they were prepared to update the features list in the comparison table accordingly.
The ASA considered that traders would understand the claims “RoboReception: a website chatbot that fields customer enquiries from your website and can transfer their details to a Kanban board” and “RoboReception … is for the top end of your marketing funnel, specifically designed to manage the new enquiries” to mean that RoboReception was a chatbot and that it dealt with the initial stages of customer enquiries only, rather than later stages of the customer journey and the ongoing relationship that customers had with the business. We also considered that, where a tick did not appear under RoboReception’s name in the comparison table, traders would understand that the listed feature was not part of RoboReception’s software. Features such as “Lead Reporting”, “Lead Management System” and “Customisable Dashboards” were not ticked and therefore traders would understand that to mean those features were not available on RoboReception.
We understood from the complainant that, in addition to a chatbot, their software offered a wider CRM functionality and they provided some examples, including customisable dashboards, workflow pipelines, treatment plan tracking and a lead tracker function.
We acknowledged that the table included a disclaimer that advised traders to check with software providers for the latest features. However, we considered that did not override the overall impression given by the ad that the RoboReception software was a chatbot, dealt with the initial stages of customer enquiries only and did not offer the features that were unticked in the comparison table.
The Business Catalyst did not provide any evidence in relation to RoboReception’s capabilities.
In the absence of evidence to demonstrate that RoboReception was merely a chatbot whose functionality was restricted to managing initial customer enquiries and did not have functions such as “Lead Reporting”, “Lead Management System” and “Customisable Dashboards”, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3 (Misleading advertising) 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.33 (Comparisons with identifiable competitors).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told The Business Catalyst Ltd not to make claims about the functionality of other software unless they held adequate substantiation for those claims.