Missed Appointments = Missed Revenue

How to improve customer ‘show rates’

When customers miss appointments, it can be annoying and inconvenient. But those “no shows” also can end up costing your company in other ways.

No shows can have a negative impact on revenue by:

  • Using up employee availability – Staff must work around a missed appointment and divert resources to maintain high levels of service for other customers.
  • Increasing employee costs – Businesses that require employees to travel onsite (appliance delivery, HVAC, real estate) incur additional costs such as gas, wear and tear on vehicles and hourly employee rates.
  • Slowing response time – Inability to provide prompt service could mean losing one-on-one time to nurture customer relationships, as well as lost sales opportunities.
  • Affecting professionalism and reputation – Last-minute cancelations can really mess up a day’s schedule, which in turn makes an organization look less professional or inefficient. The other “waiting” customers feel frustrated about wasted time. Even worse, customers unable to schedule an appointment or who have a bad customer experience because of a full schedule may turn to a competitor and never return.
  • Harming staff productivity – Staff that is frustrated from having to constantly juggle resources and reschedule appointments may become less engaged and not as productive in the long run.

Consider a healthcare organization. A recent study found that even a small number of no shows can significantly affect patient retention rates.1 Someone who has missed an appointment is less likely to reschedule another one later.

Here’s another way to calculate the potential revenue loss from a missed appointment. Consider that one “no show” per day costs your business $200. If you are not able to backfill that missed appointment, that $200 is lost forever. If you are unable to reschedule that no-show appointment to a new time, that’s another $200 in potential future revenue.

A Fix for the No-show Problem

Addressing the no-show problem head-on helps reduce the chance of occurrences before they happen. Dynamic notifications provide a solution that combines phone, email and SMS to maximize an organization’s potential revenue and ensure a customer or patient experience that generates future referrals.

NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE Dynamic Notifications solution has several advantages:

  • Incorporates a cadence that includes interval, messaging frequency and message content and leverages phone, email and SMS
  • Provides customers or patients with an option to easily “confirm” or “cancel” an appointment
  • If “cancel” is the response, redirects the customer to an agent to reschedule right then and prevent future revenue loss
  • Enables backfilling canceled appointments to maintain or increase revenue
  • Reduces downtime and costs associated with idle staff

The reminder capabilities enable an organization to send outbound voice, SMS or email notifications set to customers’ preferred method of communication, adding to their convenience and satisfaction.

Also, businesses that use UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE Dynamic Notifications are able to offload routine or trivial tasks from their staff. This enables them to reduce cost per outbound call (no staff involved), increase staff productivity, enhance scheduling efficiency and maximize revenue opportunities.

Flexible Industry-related Options

Deploying dynamic notifications not only benefits health organizations and service call companies, but can also be effectively used in a variety of other industries.

  • Retailers alert customers of deliveries, surveys, promotions and collections.
  • A real estate agent can let potential buyers know about open houses and visits.
  • Hospitality businesses remind guests about travel dates, reservations, orders or delays.
  • Banks provide account balances and payment reminders.
  • Utilities communicate with customers about installations in their neighborhood, outages, emergency and weather alerts.
  • Small and medium businesses send promotional offers, upsell new products or launch marketing campaigns.
  • Transportation services provide pick-up reminders and offer scheduling options.

The ENGAGE Dynamic Notifications setup is simple, data-driven and contains customizable options:

  • Phrase Manager, with a buildable library of message templates
  • Highly scalable to fit the size of any organization
  • Tightly integrates with ENGAGE Contact Center features
  • Reports campaign status through a Live Dashboard
  • Provides reports on completed calls
  • Incorporates Text-to-Speech voice notifications in multiple voice options and dialects

UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE is a cloud-based contact center solution that is fully equipped with Dynamic Notifications to help improve no-show rates and potentially increase revenue. Regardless of company size or industry, it is flexible enough to help you reduce those pesky no shows.

Discover more and schedule a demo.

Source:

  1. No-show effect: Even one missed appointment risks retention,” Athena Health

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Using Cloud Contact Center Technology to Improve the Customer Experience

A positive Customer Experience depends upon a few critical elements. Having a streamlined Customer Journey process in place to effectively segment and route customer inquiries, to staff members (agents) that are best skilled and equipped to render the appropriate service or support, the first time. This results in an outcome (resolution) that should require little Customer Effort.

Sounds easy enough, yet businesses continue to struggle in making it easy for customers to conduct business with their organization.

The belief that having someone… anyone… partially skilled to answer a customer call was sufficient enough, is the new recipe for churn.

Today, 89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from just 36% in 2010. But while 80% of companies believe they deliver “super experiences,” only 8% of customers agree. In other words, companies have a long way to go. And, that means there is tremendous opportunity to disrupt a competitor or gain market share in an industry. Shep Hyken – Forbes

For customers, the reasons really don’t matter. If it is deemed cumbersome and the Customer Effort is HIGH, the Customer Experience will be low, which of course can easily erode Loyalty and your revenue suffers. Customers want answers fast and in the most efficient way. That’s the American Way!

What’s driving the rate of change with respect to incorporating a Cloud Contact Center with an emphasis on Customer Experience (CX) within organizations today?

Some of the most common responses from speaking with Customers and channel partners over the past 3 years include: Business Growth by means of Customer Retention, Growth (Upselling/Cross-Selling), Referrals. Reduction of Staff (Agent) Turnover, Leveraging Data Insights to Handle More with effectively Less. Customers are seeking to Monitor/Manage by way of Business Outcomes and not legacy only Metrics.

Some Customer Experience (CX) observations that I think you’ll relate to/with:

A few interesting things.

  • It started with the early adopters, before Digital Transformation was a thing.
  • Cloud Contact Center initiatives propagated from being a Future IT Project Consideration to a Business Sponsor’s Speed to Market Weapon of Choice
  • Digital Transformation continued to surge as top planning initiative amongst executive leadership (CEO/CIO/COO/CFO/RO)
  • Speaking of surge, the pandemic (COVID I & II) accelerated the Cloud adoption model and gave most businesses a taste of WFH (Work from Home)
  • Schools and Parents learn about Distant / Online Learning really fast!
  • A frenzy of UCaaS/CCaaS acquisitions and strategic alliances emerge in the market
  • Some of the remaining blue chip hardware centric manufacturers of communication systems (PBX) exited the scene. A few limiting procurement through a subscription-based only model to further attempt to isolate them from future churn
  • We witnessed an additional wave or two of acquisitions and strategic alliances amongst Cloud Contact Center Technology (CCaaS) and UCaaS providers. Primary focus to balance and strengthen their portfolio and GTM strategies centered around single-pane of glass (unified applications)
  • Work from Home (WFH) adoption continues to grow, as employment of skilled “Available” staff (agents) become harder to source (hire). We’ve learned that Talent demands Tools.
  • Logistic Challenges to Supply Pent Up Demand compounded by Inflation makes for some interesting Customer Reviews. The Power of Online Reviews and the Suggested Customer Experiences of others (Good or Bad) impacts the bottom line
  • The Battlefield for Customer Loyalty affects ALL Businesses

CX Cliff Notes

Every Business wants Happy Customers and Profitable Growth
Loyalty of these Happy Customers is what drives Profitable Growth
Customer Experience drives Customer Loyalty

So… What Drives the Customer Experience?

Making it EASY and EFFORTLESS for Customers to Conduct Business with You (Customer Effort)

Through Effective Planning to Optimize the Customer Journey

By Enabling Staff / Agents with Appropriate Tools and Relevant Customer Information, that support Personalized Customer Interactions

Via Trained Staff / Agents that can easily Collaborate with Co-workers to Quickly Address Customer Inquires, the First Time.

Customer Effort Score (CES) is a single-item metric that measures how much

effort a customer has to exert to get an issue resolved, a request fulfilled, a product

purchased/returned or a question answered.

So where do customers go to find CX enabled solutions that better meet customer expectations while making their operations more efficient.

Customers typically have several channels when contacting organizations—email, chat, phone and even social media. Despite the choices, research shows that the phone call is still the preferred method of communication.1

A positive customer experience depends on having a streamlined process in place to handle incoming calls. Customers want answers fast and in the most efficient way.

Several common reasons cause a business to either mishandle calls or fail to answer calls altogether. Unexpected or seasonal volume can mean there’s not enough staff to handle the calls. Live agents might not be available after hours. Or perhaps the areas of responsibility of “who handles what” are not clearly defined.

For customers, the reasons really don’t matter. The customer experience suffers if they hear an annoying busy signal, get put on a long hold, or worst of all, get disconnected before their questions can be answered. Luckily, new technology is available to help organizations manage these and other issues while also enabling a more improved and often a more personalized customer experience.

Setting Up Call Queues

Call queues offer a way to handle incoming calls more efficiently. As part of a Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solution, call queues give the contact center a means to segment and route incoming calls based on information provided, such as reason for the call or priority level.

Specific queue segments can be configured to offer callback options or enable callers to leave messages on a specific voicemail box for after-hours inquiries. Pre-recorded messages can provide general information, including business hours, current outages or promotions. These multiple call queue options help organizations better meet customer expectations while making their operations more efficient.

Self-service Options

Intelligent call routing (ICR) is another way of effectively handling incoming calls. These options ensure the right agent answers a customer’s call. Using Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, contact centers can optimize the flow of customer interactions. When configured correctly, these systems help boost sales, reduce churn and increase customer satisfaction by making sure interactions are quickly and efficiently routed, handled and reported.

The automated IVRs interact with callers to gather information and route calls to the appropriate recipient. Examples of self-service prompts include:

  • Initial greetings and welcome messages
  • Options for language preference
  • Answers to common questions (hours of operation, location, access to personal account data)
  • Choices for customer actions (cancel an appointment, place an order, speak to someone in a specific department)

Giving customers a straight-forward way to address tasks, such as checking an account balance or paying a bill, enables customer self-service without using a live agent. It can also provide customer access to information during off hours, such as personal account data. If a problem or question goes beyond the offered menu options, an IVR system quickly leads the caller to the most relevant agent available, providing more personalized service.

Benefits of Contact Center Automation

Automated contact center systems benefit companies as well as their customers. Improving customer interactions through call queues and IVR, creates more efficient contact center operations, saving time for customers and contact center agents alike. Self-service options help eliminate the frustration of long hold times and enable a company to serve customers after hours and on holidays. Companies won’t miss a customer call, which ultimately help sales and creates a better customer experience benefitting your company as well as your customers.

NEC offers UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE, our cloud-based contact center solution. ENGAGE uses IVR to give your customers options on how they want issues to be resolved and enables them to obtain the right information or to engage with the right agent for a personalized experience. What makes UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE different from other offerings is that configuration and deployment is simple. Using the user-friendly and intuitive wizard, Easy-IVR gives organizations the power to build highly customized IVRs that drive business and improve customer interactions. Non-programmers can either build an IVR or enhance an existing one through simple, easy steps.

To learn more about NEC’s contact center offerings, fill out the Contact Us form below or visit our website .

Source:
40 Customer Service Stats to Know in 2021,” Swetha Amaresan, HubSpot, 6/9/21

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Choosing the Best-Fit Unified Communications Partner: 5 Must-Have Characteristics

Are you ready to support a hybrid workforce?

Google and Economist Impact recently completed a survey which says 75 percent of respondents believe hybrid/flexible work will be standard practice within their organizations in the coming three years.1

Working with remote teams and allowing for flexible schedules requires robust communication and collaboration tools. In addition to reliable, instantaneous conversations and multichannel messaging, asynchronous features will be critical to successful information exchanges.

Unified communications (UC) technologies are essential to support ongoing digital transformation. To maintain productivity, creativity and team engagement, as well as exceptional customer experience, it’s important to partner with the right UC vendor to support your business goals.

Discover how UNIVERGE BLUE® can reimagine your business through hybrid working.

Here are five must-have characteristics of the best-fit UC partner:

1. All-Inclusive – Look for a partner who can provide your complete cloud communications needs — including voice, chat, video conferencing, file sharing, multi-channel contact center, data management, backup and security solutions.

Fifty percent of businesses that have consolidated their applications reported an improved ability to keep up with customer expectations, according to Forrester.2

Bundled UC solutions offer cost savings and the simplicity of one bill. You get the convenience of going to one place for customer support, while minimizing the need to toggle between applications.

NEC’s newly integrated UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT & ENGAGE combines Contact Center (CCaaS) with Unified Communications as a service (UCaaS) to make employee collaboration easier and customer communications smoother. Business communications are simplified and teamwork is improved since the one-stop shop approach reduces complexity and costs. Plus, user experience and customer experience (CX) are upgraded because the platform is accessible on a single pane of glass.

By consolidating your employee collaboration and customer experience solutions, you receive:

  • Faster Service Speed – Advanced call management tools unified within ENGAGE enables users to resolve customer inquiries faster
  • Better Productivity – Employees seamlessly work as a team to help each other or a customer
  • Better Service Quality – Supervisors have improved visibility into their customer experience and customer-facing users have better access to other employees
  • Flexibility – Streamline onboarding and give any user immediate access to help manage customer calls instantly
  • Adoption Rate – Users learn 2x faster due to the intuitive user interface and having only one application to operate

2. Flexible – Organizations must become more agile and responsive to ever-changing working conditions, whether remote, in office or on the go.

Mobile and desktop applications need to be available for anywhere, anytime connectivity.

NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE EXTEND connects powerful voice, team chat, video conferencing and contact center functionalities into everyday business applications. Benefits include higher productivity, better customer retention and increased insight all-in-one tool.

Some vendors require your business to move the entire communications infrastructure to their cloud platform. NEC offers flexible deployment models that satisfy any business infrastructure whether on-premises, hybrid or cloud.

For current NEC customers, our UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT BRIDGE extends your existing investment, while gaining all the tools and features of cloud that benefit your hybrid/remote workers. We won’t force you to move to the cloud.

3. CX-Centered – Choose a UC partner dedicated to you and your customers.

Make certain the UC solutions are not only advanced and full featured, but also focused on a user-friendly experience.

NEC promotes a flourishing channel partner network for local, dedicated support. While there are many unified communications options in the marketplace today, not all technology providers will offer an extra layer of local support through a channel partner program.

Using UNIVERGE BLUE EXTEND, you can provide your customers with voice, chat, video conferencing and contact center solutions integrated with popular business applications like Google®, Microsoft®, Salesforce® and more. You can improve customer service and increase insights to better meet your customers’ needs.

4. Reliable – Make certain your partner has the expertise and track record of success to support your evolving UC requirements.

NEC has been a leading provider and integrator of advanced IT, communications and networking solutions for 120+ years with more than 80 million users worldwide.

We maintain the highest compliance standards for healthcare organizations with contact center tools across communications and payment processes.

UNIVERGE BLUE is purpose-built for reliability—extending peace of mind. To help you avoid the risks of downtime or unreliable communications tools, we offer:

  • A 99.999% financially-backed uptime SLA (service level agreement)
  • VoIP tests to help ensure a reliable connection and high voice quality
  • Redundant East/West data centers to increase reliability and reduce latency

5. Forward-thinking Partner – Work with a partner investing in emerging technologies and committed to giving you a competitive advantage.

As business environments continue to shift and evolve, employee and customer expectations do, too. You need a UC partner who is regularly upgrading platforms for your organization and customers’ requirements.

UNIVERGE BLUE delivers tomorrow’s smart workspace today. We are continuously innovating and partnering with industry pioneers to stay ahead of the curve. By integrating with other leading business applications, UNIVERGE BLUE streamlines your operations, enhances user-experience, and makes seamless communication a reality across your entire organization.

Our analytics and reporting capabilities include hundreds of reports at your fingertips. Be at the forefront of fast-changing circumstances. Get access to vital communications and contact center metrics, business data and other key performance indicators (KPIs) to make informed decisions.

Choosing a UC partner with these five essential characteristics will support you in gaining opportunities—and making the leap into a hybrid world.

Learn how UNIVERGE BLUE can help improve communications and transform your hybrid work model.

Sources:

  1. Insights from our global hybrid work survey,” Google Workspace
  2. Improve Business Agility Through Platform Consolidation,” Forrester Consulting

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How Peavey Electronics Keeps the Music Alive with UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP & RECOVER

If you’ve seen live music, you’re sure to recognize the Peavey® logo. As one of the largest manufacturers of musical instruments, amplifiers and audio systems, Peavey® Electronics has helped musicians and audiophiles to achieve high-quality sound production since the 1960s. In the pursuit of perfection and reliability, the company wanted to improve the resiliency and security of its network infrastructure and critical data in its SAP HANA® implementation.

Peavey turned to NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE® BACKUP (BaaS) and RECOVER (DRaaS) managed service offering after the challenges with their legacy backup and recovery approach.

Peavey’s Critical Data Requirements

Peavey uses SAP business warehouse software to generate daily business reporting pertaining to areas including finance, inventory, and sales. Notably, Peavey uses SAP HANA® to deliver real-time inventory information to its global network of distributors and resellers. It relies on SAP HANA for up-to-the-minute product availability and inventory levels for customers. Without this information, channel partners do not have access to inventory information and might move to another vendor’s product to purchase. In today’s fast-paced, online-centric marketplace, this is especially a threat for Peavey.

Modernizing SAP HANA Backups

Peavey required a modernized approach to its backups to reduce the administrative load on their small IT team. In addition, they looked to reduce backup errors, increase protection against cyber security attacks and ensure complete system backups with no performance impact. Another added bonus of working with NEC was the availability of modern infrastructure, including cloud-hosted storage.

Peavey chose NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE® BACKUP and RECOVER managed service offering to meet these objectives and more. The NEC managed service offering allowed Peavey to:

  • Automate SAP HANA native full and incremental Backups
  • Implement automated data archiving
  • Enhance cyber security by implementing the 3-2-1 rule of data protection best practices
  • Include additional disaster recovery capabilities against natural disasters and cyber-attacks through optional UNIVERGE BLUE RECOVER without the purchase of additional systems
  • Centralize visibility and control via the UNIVERGE BLUE COMMAND CENTER

The biggest value that NEC has brought to Peavey is the ability to offload tasks and responsibilities of its IT team. Peavey has strengthened its data protection at lower operating costs and IT administrative overhead.

Read the Full NEC-Peavey Case Study

The NEC UNIVERGE BLUE Difference

NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP (Backup as a Service) and RECOVER (Disaster Recovery as a Service) offers control and compliance to meet data protection best practices. The managed service offering is based on industry-leading backup software such as Commvault® and Veeam to deliver backup and recovery services. The service also leverages NEC HYDRAstor® distributed grid storage systems that are hosted off-premises in Iron Mountain® data centers. Managed services are provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days per year via NEC’s Network Operations Center. NEC will also configure and tailor the solution to meet or exceed your business’s unique requirements.

Typical benefits provided with NEC UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP and RECOVER include:

  • Meeting 3-2-1 rule data protection best practices
  • Offloading tasks from IT Staff
  • Reducing insider threats
  • Providing proof of best practices for Cyber Security Insurance

Learn about NEC UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP and RECOVER from this Evaluator Group Product Brief.

Read the NEC-Peavey Electronics Solution Case Study

With the help of NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP and RECOVER managed services, Peavey can keep the music alive while NEC patches servers, replaces old hardware and provides secure backup and reliable data recovery. Be sure to read the NEC-Peavey Electronics Case Study to learn more about how the companies worked together to secure the critical data necessary to ensure continued success.

To learn more about NEC UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP and RECOVER, download this Evaluator Group Product Brief. Or to become authorized to sell the solution, request authorization and take the training available in the NEC Learning Management System.

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Future-Proof Your Data with UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP & RECOVER

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an above normal hurricane season is predicted in 2021. And while ransomware attacks are decreasing in number, the costs have been steadily increasing, including hidden costs such as downtime, stolen data and IT upgrade costs.

Data is one of your organization’s most valuable resources and must be protected from cybercriminals, as well as weather emergencies, global health crises and more. NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP & RECOVER offers peace of mind for business leaders with secure data storage, management and recovery from the cloud.

Emerging Challenges Call for Evolving DR Requirements

According to a 2021 IDC Data Protection and Disaster Recovery Readiness research study, these emergencies have redefined the top IT priorities for organizations.

Other report findings include:

  • 95% of organizations are rethinking data protection due to work from home requirements.
  • 43% of organizations suffered unrecoverable data within the past 12 months.
  • 63% of organizations suffered a data-related business disruption within the past 12 months.

More companies are looking to cloud deployments and cloud-based disaster recovery solutions to ensure their data is safe and readily accessible.

Data Protection in 3-2-1

A tried-and-true best practice for ensuring no single point of failure in a backup strategy is the 3-2-1 methodology. Three copies of the data are backed up to two different storage media types with one copy saved offsite. The data integrity must also be certain so that recovery from any of these copies is complete and uncorrupted. NEC UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP & RECOVER offers control and compliance that meet these data protection best practices.

Top Technology Needs for Backup

According to the Evaluator Group Backup-as-a-Service Fundamentals Technical Insight Report, flexibility is one of the top considerations when implementing a new Backup System. “Today, recoveries are flexible (for example, recovering an entire VM or an individual file, to a few different target options)”.

NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP & RECOVER addresses this requirement through a solution that supports any type of infrastructure configured and tailored to your business’s unique requirements. Built on industry-leading data protection software and NEC’s award-winning HYDRAstor® storage platform, the infrastructure is hosted in data centers such as those provided by Iron Mountain®, serving as an offsite, disconnected copy for protection against ransomware and other malicious attacks. Replication includes:

  • Complete on-premises or off-premises data backed up to and recovered from the cloud.
  • VM snapshots replicated between regions and across clouds, so that one major cloud outage does not preclude access to the data.
  • Most major databases are also replicated, including SQL and HANA.

Learn more about NEC UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP & RECOVER from this Evaluator Group Product Brief.

Top Support Needs for Backup

According to the Evaluator Group Backup-as-a-Service Evaluation Guide that was recently released, “customers expect continuous availability of their backup service as well as fast resolution of any technical issues.

In a recent evaluation of NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP & RECOVER by the Evaluator Group, NEC received the highest Value Scale Mark of “Exceeding Requirements” on six (6) out of ten (10) selected criteria and “Meets Requirements” on the other four (4).

NEC UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP & RECOVER services are managed by NEC with supplemental support from an NEC partner. Managed services are provided via NEC’s Network Operations Center (NOC) that is staffed and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days per year. Through documented access control lists and SoC audits, the compliance and security of this NEC solution provides proof of best practices for Cyber Security Insurance. Reducing the workload of your IT staff and reducing the risk of threats provides more valuable time for fulfilling proactive business needs.

Learn More About NEC UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP & RECOVER

Through NEC UNIVERGE BLUE’s flexible and affordable pricing, backup and recovery services can future-proof critical data from hackers, ransomware attackers, on-site catastrophes and natural disasters. Your organization can also customize the solution to meet your own requirements, with the choice to manage the solution in-house or through NEC’s managed services.

Learn more at https://www.univergeblue.com/cloud-services/backup/ or schedule a no obligation consultation with an NEC BACKUP & RECOVER expert to determine which solution fits your needs and budget. Simply fill out the form below, and we will get back to you soon.

Or to become authorized to sell UNIVERGE BLUE BACKUP & RECOVER solution, click here.

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