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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You Have Choices . . . In How To Improve Your Contact Center

With our world increasingly becoming multi-channeled, companies – especially larger organizations with call centers – must come to terms with this.  Whether by text, chat, email, social or phone, support agents must be empowered to engage with customers in the way the customer wants and do it seamlessly regardless of contact choice.

Such agility doesn’t come easy, especially for contact centers managed in-house or at large enterprises where the complexity of on-site, remote and even overseas operations can impede highly integrated and consistent experiences.

So what can be done …

The most obvious choice is to concentrate on the customer experience. Smart companies are doing this by unburdening themselves from the technical aspect of contact center management by moving to the cloud.  Cloud Contact Center as a Service solutions – such as those provided by NEC UNIVERGE BLUE® – deliver relevant multi-channeled environments that integrate telephony, collaboration, responsiveness, security and transparency into a single, fully managed and interconnected ecosystem.UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT

Some of the value we bring includes:

  • Interactive voice response wizards, voice prompts, customized call journeys and self-serve call management that make the customer experience crazily simple to implement, change and maintain
  • AI interactive analysis with sentiment tagging and automated phrase alerts for insight into trending customer requests and reactive agent amendments
  • Automatic call distribution synchronized to specific functions, regions, time of day and organization or industry-specific criteria for faster and more direct handling
  • Multi-channel options like chat, email and text to take the conversation beyond voice easily
  • Customizable desktop and browser agent clients that effortlessly integrate with standard CRM platforms and critical business apps for broad and intuitive access to vital information and resources
  • Call monitoring to help assess agent performance so reps are always ready to meet incoming requests and service gaps are quickly filled
  • Status alerts for heighten visibility into call center performance to improve staffing levels, conditions and availability

Hesitant or unable to totally transform …

Cloud adoption doesn’t have to be an all or nothing business directive.  Take for instance NEC’s partnership with T-Metrics and our ability to deliver an advanced blended omni-channel contact center solution – with comprehensive cloud-based services – that sits on top of existing infrastructure.
UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT

By integrating with most unified communications systems, cloud contact center adoption and expansion is easy to achieve and without having to replace existing or still valued tech stacks.

This is ideal for organizations with current contact centers or those  looking to build highly responsive, productive and cost efficient call centers but without having to contend with a major overhaul.

There’s even disaster recovery from the cloud …

Imagine the ability to move 1-800 and contact center numbers from one carrier to another instantaneously during an outage, ensuring inbound call continuity. This way customers can access agents and support without disruption.

It is possible with NEC NETWORK CONNECT Toll-Free Dynamic Protection – our cloud-managed disaster recovery solution for toll-free connectivity. Our service provides inbound call continuity by programmatically moving 1-800 numbers from a nonworking carrier to a working one. Our built-in inbound failover provides optimal toll-free and contact center resiliency by circumventing issues that are the root cause of downtime and outages and protecting against poor service quality.

This innovative toll-free protection service is easy to deploy, cloud-managed, and comes with no or minimal upfront cost and five-nines reliability. It also provides operational cost efficiency due to our carrier plan’s wholesale pricing.

Want to learn more …

Let us show you what’s possible and would work best for your organization with a no-obligation demo of our cloud contact center services and a free gap analysis of your current contact center environment.

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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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Put Your Airport Data to Work: See Patterns, Forecast Needs

Each airline passenger follows a logical process through an airport, but it is unique. Travelers on the same flight will have a different path: some will check bags, some will grab a quick bite to eat, some will fly through security lines. Add the complexity of passengers dealing with canceled, rescheduled and connecting flights, and you will quickly see that consuming and processing the data collected at each point gets complicated.

However, it’s important to understand the data to see patterns and make decisions that can enable smoother operations and a more enjoyable experience. Data can be collected at each interaction throughout the airport, but the data is often seen in silos – not as a complete, comprehensive picture.

Relying only on seasoned employees to interpret and master the data alone is risky in today’s environment. Any turnover or absence in staff would affect the flow of vital information that can help decision makers adjust to everchanging needs and requirements in the airport environment.

Today, it’s important to be able to adjust staffing and services in real time because the customer experience at an airport is largely predicated on crowding and wait times. Especially in the age of social distancing, people have concerns around long lines and inefficient service. Trust in baggage handling is also a critical factor, as well as providing adequate amenities near gates.

KMD, an NEC Company has designed business intelligence software specifically for the needs of the air travel industry. For example, data analytics can be used to understand current processing times at a given security point, forecasting passenger traffic and determining the number of lanes that need to be open to keep wait times at an acceptable level. This is just one example of how data can be optimized to streamline airport operations.

In this whitepaper, KMD has outlined several airport-specific use cases to demonstrate how business intelligence and planning software can help ensure actionable data and its ability to improve operational performance.

To learn more about this software solution, checkout this three-page preview of this whitepaper to better understand the potential of KMD airport data analysis.

Be sure to visit www.necam.com/aviation to learn more about our aviation solutions.

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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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