Receive – Read – Act: Discover the Intelligent Service Alerts inspiring customer action.

Ian Flynn
On: 12 Jul 2018
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Reaching customers is one thing, engaging them is another. Making them act is the final hurdle. Many businesses have found that SMS, with its 98% open rate, is a most effective way of driving customers to act. Now intelligent service alerts, where the customer contact strategy is automated for efficiency, look set to enhance SMS effectiveness and transform mobile working.

As people’s lives become busier and more complex, it seems inevitable that appointments will be skipped, deliveries missed, and emails ignored. This is especially true if there’s an attitude that the appointment doesn’t seem all that important, that the courier will try again tomorrow, or that the email doesn’t really demand a response.

However, when you are running a business or providing a service, these missed events are disruptive, unproductive, and inefficient.

When you are running a business or providing a service, missed events are disruptive, unproductive, and inefficient.

In the Irish healthcare sector, for example, 134,000 missed new appointments and 343,000 missed review appointments in 2017 cost the HSE just under €12m*. Each missed appointment affects at least three people, as an appointment missed is one that can’t be given to someone else and it wastes a staff member’s time too. As a result, waiting times go up, costs go up and everyone suffers.

The solution to the “no-show problem” is two-fold.

Remind and engage.

Firstly, if you want people to remember their appointment, delivery or other time-crucial event, you have to remind them. Secondly, if you want them to be more committed to it, you have to engage them with it. In other words, you have to make them want to keep their appointment, or be at home to receive the delivery or, at the very least, to act responsibly by advising in good time whoever needs to know if they need to rearrange.

If you want people to remember their appointment, delivery or other time-crucial event, you have to remind them.

The methods for sending reminders and encouraging engagement can be crucial to their effectiveness. Most are currently sent by email, though incredibly some are still sent by post. Both methods have failings.

People tend to respond to a reminder in the same way they receive it. In reality, that means if they receive a letter about an appointment they are unlikely to respond at all. Email reminders are slightly more effective, but there is the danger of them being diverted into junk folders, and they have low open rates.

The third option, to which many businesses are now returning, is SMS. This not only has several advantages in terms of effectiveness, but with the introduction of automation is becoming even more cost-efficient.

98% effective.

The fact that the recipient has provided their phone number already indicates a certain level of willingness to engage with the business. Then unlike an email or letter – an SMS is delivered directly to the recipient wherever they are, at any time. They always have their phone with them, and neither pockets nor handbags have junk folders.

Also unlike an email, SMS has a very high open rate, usually quoted as being around  97-98%.

In addition, the imminent arrival of “SMS 2.0”, or Rich Communications Service, means that rich media elements – such as a link to a delivery tracker or to enable an appointment to be rearranged – can be incorporated without the need for an app.

Now the icing on the cake, enabling SMS to truly transform mobile working, is the automation of these alert notifications via machine-to-person communication.

Automating the conversation.

Intelligent service alerts enable the development and implementation of a fully-automated contact strategy which, rather than simply sending reminders, can increase engagement, enhance customer satisfaction, strengthen customer loyalty and – where relevant – optimise repurchasing.

An automated formula-driven contact strategy will change the “conversation” based on the distance travelled along the customer’s engagement journey: from “just purchased” to “warranty expired”, for example, or from “goods despatched” to “en route” and “delivered.”

A customer satisfaction survey can also be conducted using the same automated method, and depending on the result can be followed-up automatically with, for instance, a voucher to apologise for poor service, or initiation of a person-to-person call if appropriate.

The key to the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of intelligent service alerts is the high level of automation now possible, which releases staff for more productive activities or more critical customer service touchpoints.

If engagement and responsiveness are important to your operation, perhaps it’s time you made an appointment with intelligent service alerts.

*Source: Health Service Executive / Irish Times

3Communicate is an easy to use bulk SMS service. It’s the ideal way to contact a group of people, e.g. your customers or staff, quickly, cost-effectively and reliably, directly on their mobile phones.