“An appointment missed by you is an appointment missed by two.” These are the words that Captain Kim Decker, chief of the Martin Army Community Hospital Healthcare Management Division at Fort Benning, Georgia shared in a 2013 article about the impact of missed appointments in healthcare. When patients miss their appointments, the consequences go beyond wasted resources and revenue, it also deprives the patient that could have been seen instead. But missed appointments don’t just affect healthcare anymore. In today’s time-minded society, industries are expected to offer time slots for busy customers, and honor them. But even when made available, customers can–and will–miss their scheduled appointments. It’s an eventuality that many companies will have to budget for, but there are solutions to relieve the pressures that missed appointments put on the bottom line. In this blog, we breakdown how three industries–finance, utilities, and healthcare–can use SMS, email, and IVR messaging to manage customer appointments, saving them time, money, and effort.
When companies need to improve their customer experience optimization, the first place to find efficiencies is where manual processes can be made into automatic processes. Making, rescheduling, and canceling appointments is a great place to start. Implementing an integrated, omnichannel communications solution that tracks and verifies appointments will not only save your team hours but improves transparency with clients and customers.
Financial firms experience high volume during tax season, and every appointment counts. For SkyCreek client FinCo, appointments were often scheduled months in advance. By the time April rolls around, clients were forgetting about appointments, and FinCo was on the hook for unused time slots.
By programming their appointment reminder system to honor customer contact preferences and channels, FinCo was able to remind customers of appointments by text, email, or IVR in the days leading up to their appointment. Using SkyCreek’s eContact, FinCo was able to reach all its customers ahead of their appointments and dramatically decrease the instances of missed appointments.
Below is an example of how the eContact appointment reminder module can be used for a text communication between a fictitious financial service provider and customer. All of this can be done without human interference, freeing up team members to focus on more important efforts.
In the above example, Tax Right is able to reach out to customers in a personalized way, with the channel the customer prefers. Because John was able to quickly confirm his appointment, it stays top-of-mind for the following day and gives Tax Right the peace-of-mind that he will likely show up for his appointment.
Utility companies often give customers appointment time windows due to the flexible nature of its service sessions, and they require customers to be home during the service to access the needed equipment. Because of this, it’s crucial for customers to keep their appointments. Washington Gas, a mid-Atlantic public utility, implemented SkyCreek’s eContact to enhance the customer optimization experience.
Using eContact’s appointment reminder module, customers could be contacted 1-2 days prior to their scheduled appointments to confirm whether they would be available or to be transferred to a service representative to reschedule. For customers who did not answer calls, messages were left requesting call backs to confirm scheduled appointments. An additional day-of appointment reminder message provided the date and time of the appointment and the address where the service would be performed.
The healthcare industry is no stranger to the negative impact of missed appointments. In U.S. healthcare alone, the cost of missed appointments is $150 billion annually. Healthcare companies can benefit from implementing an appointment reminder system that can aid in reducing missed appointments and improving office efficiency.
That’s exactly what happened when the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute (FCS) implemented SkyCreek’s eContact appointment reminder module to manage their patient scheduling process. Patient reminders are sent via IVR and SMS prior to an appointment to confirm if the patient is able to make the appointment. The patient can reschedule the appointment if needed, which allows the FCS staff to fill that slot with another patient.
Choosing the Right Appointment Reminder System
With so many appointment reminder systems on the market, it’s important to choose the right one for your business. A key consideration is to ensure the appointment reminder system can integrate with your workforce management software. Many appointment reminder systems require software development from scratch to integrate, which dramatically increases costs. SkyCreek boasts a substantial number of integrations within the industry, and is constantly adding more workforce, billing, and CRM integrations.
To trial the eContact appointment reminder module for your organization, contact SkyCreek to schedule a demo.