Outbound reminders were once exclusively handled by call center agents working from a list of customer phone numbers. While there are still reasons to use agents for some outbound call reminders, increasingly, this form of outreach is being handled by anoutbound IVR. The reason? According to Forrester, live agents can cost up to $12 an interaction compared to pennies with an IVR. Soan automated approach is helping a growing number of businesses save money and generate higher volumes of revenue.
Automated outbound reminders are most effective when they’re used to deliver short, simple messages that require little or no response from the person on the receiving end. Because of this lack of interactivity, this means they are particularly beneficial in certain industries. For example, in healthcare, automated outbound reminders can be used for appointment reminders or to notify a patient of when a prescription is ready for pickup. In the insurance industry, the same technology can be leveraged for reminding customers of when it’s time to pay a premium or to provide general information to policy holders during an event that may result in a high level of claims, like following a storm. In education, utilities, banking and even retail, there are many applications for outbound reminders,which can be used to generate more income, gain greater efficiency and deliver a better customer experience –all of which can improve cash flow.
A Wide Range of Use Cases
For a credit card company, automated reminders are particularly beneficial for notifying cardholders of both upcoming payments and overdue accounts. By sending out a perfectly timed reminder, cardholders can be notified before a late charge is issued and reminded what that late charge willbe if they don’t pay in time. Within the message, a prompt can then take the caller directly to the automated payment option. Not only is this a convenience for the customer, it can significantly help minimize accounts from going into late payment status.
For a healthcare system, automated outbound remindershave a range of valuable use cases that can generate income. For example, patients, segmented by age, can be reminded to obtain their flu shot at their local clinic or by calling their practitioner. Reminders can be used to notify patients of upcoming appointments which can dramatically reduce no-shows and lost time for doctors and support staff. When you consider that missed appointments can cost a single doctor more than $150,000 a year, the value of an outbound IVR solution can be very significant. And, through the use of these reminders, patients are kept more in touch with their provider,which ultimately heightens proactive care and improves outcomes.
Automated reminders are also a smart solutionfor restaurant reservations, retail order status updates, scheduling car maintenance and more. And during these automated calls, additional information can be provided to deliver promotions ortojust build brand awareness –all without involving the expense of live agents.
Creating an Outbound Call Reminder Strategy
Successfully keeping customers in the know requires both thought and planning. The following are some guidelines to help you set up an automated outbound reminder strategy that drives significant ROI.
Determine What Types of Reminders to Send
Not all information is right for an automated reminder. For example, a healthcare system may find that reminders are better used for encouraging patients to schedule their next appointment or to remind them of an upcoming appointment than to provide test results that will require the patient to take additional actions. When identifying the right messages to send, consider not only the type of information you’ll provide but also what you want the customer to do with it. If there are complex steps or if it prompts a flurry of questions, the message may be better delivered by a live agent.
Choose the Right Channels
With all of us flooded with content being sent through a variety of channels, like email and social media, it’s important to send messages on the right channels, at the right time. With Plum Voice’s solution for outbound notifications and reminders, proactive messages can be sent to thousands of recipients simultaneously with any combination of voice, MMS and SMS. Many businesses are still not using SMS –one of the most effective ways of sending messages. In fact, 90percent of SMS messages are read within three minutes of being received.
Connect with Your CRM
Automated messages can be tailored to recipients by connecting to your CRM and even personalized with custom offers or scannable coupons. This level of engagement can help increase engagement and generate sales and brand awareness.
Through the use of an IVR, you can gain insights into the success of automated reminders. Whether it’s determining the reduction in no-shows to increased sales from promotions shared in reminders, it’s important to look at how your outbound efforts are performing and how they can be improved upon.
Automated reminders not only can provide information to customers and propel them to take specific actions, they can also be used to solicit feedback from them. An automated survey, sent via text messaging or voice, sent after a customer interaction increases take-rates and provides valuable, accurate data that you can use for continuous improvement. Today, IVR systems offer far more than just routing incoming calls. And outbound reminders have quickly become one of the most promising new ways to leverage this technology to heighten the customer experience and drive increased revenue.