More Examples of How SMS Can Help Businesses Improve Customer Experience WHILE Lowering Costs

Steve French, VP, Global Product Management and Marketing – January 3, 2017

My colleague, Andy Shirey, has written a few blog posts about the many benefits that businesses realize from leveraging SMS to engage with their customers – “Save Over $6M per Month with SMS and Your Boss Will Notice” and “The ROI of SMS.” In both posts he provides examples of how businesses used SMS to improve customer experience (CX), while at the same time lowering costs. This is a rare feat because quite often improving CX requires spending money, not actually saving money.

I’d like to provide three more examples of how enterprises can use SMS to improve the customer experience AND lower costs.

  1. Global retailer uses SMS to notify customers when groceries are ready for pickup

A European division of a global retailer has recently started sending SMS to notify customers when their groceries are ready for pickup and/or have been delivered. The main goal of this use case was to reduce the number of calls that came into the support center with queries about customers’ orders.

An analysis done on the first 5 weeks of the program, and compared with the same 5 weeks the previous year, the results showed that related inquires to the call center had decreased by 50% (more than 5,000 calls!) – a significant cost savings to the retailer, and also an improved customer experience – as most sane folks don’t enjoy calling support centers.

  1. UK train service uses SMS to manage flow of passengers in train station

A globally recognized UK train service provider was looking to improve the customer experience at the very busy Euston train station, which has almost as many passengers on a daily basis as Heathrow Airport. The goals were to break up the customer surge, reduce anxiety and herd mentality, encourage enjoyment of station facilities, and improve pre-boarding experience – while minimizing impact on station staff.

The train provider decided to use the SMS channel due to its wide penetration compared to mobile apps, and numerous drawbacks of using voice (reception, background noise, channel preference, etc.). Several notifications (see figure below) like “your train is in the station and then another with the gate and passenger seat info” were sent to priority passengers (handicap, older and frequent travelers).

Follow-up customer surveys showed higher scores than normal, with many passengers specifically citing the positive customer experience of receiving the SMS notification.

Travel Notifications via SMS

  1. Health insurance provider uses SMS to send premium payment reminders

A health insurance provider was having issues with subscribers forgetting or being late with their health insurance payments, thus causing their insurance policy to lapse. This resulted in the subscriber having to get a new physical to requalify for medical insurance. This was a lose-lose situation for both the subscriber and the insurance provider:

  • Subscriber left without insurance until re-qualified, which could result in large costs if a serious medical incident occurred during the insurance coverage gap
  • Subscriber must endure another physical and the related paperwork hassle
  • Insurance provider must perform another physical with an estimated cost of ~$400 to re-qualify patient for medical insurance policy
  • Lost premiums during coverage gap and for those who decide to switch providers or not renew any health insurance

This provider decided to use SMS to send health insurance premium payment reminders to their mobile subscribers. Though I don’t have specific figures for what percentage of missed payments were reduced, the ROI was significant enough that the insurance provider continues to use SMS to send payment reminders – improving CX, lowering costs AND increasing revenues.

Summary

As businesses look to CX as a way to differentiate versus the competition, while keeping costs in check, the savviest of the bunch have realized the twofold (and sometimes multiple) benefit of using SMS to engage with their customers.

Trying getting with the program, the SMS program! Feel free to contact us if you’d like to learn more.

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