Appointment Control

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ContactEngine seeks to make the communication part of the customer journey perfect. That desire for perfection stretches right across the whole journey from initial sales and marketing, through to fulfilment (installation, delivery) and later onto repairs, upgrades, outages and then back to sales when a product might, say, require renewal after an initial contract period has elapsed.

Many of the case studies on this website focus on work we carry out in specific sectors such as TV and Broadband – helping firms such as Virgin Media and Sky to improve their customer journey through better communication. We also work in many other sectors such as the building trade with Wickes and white goods with Whirlpool. However, one of the biggest impacts we have made in recent times has been in the ‘other’ utility areas – with the power companies looking at making their customer journeys perfect as well. Two short cases studies follow:

Case Study 1

We work with one large utility firm in the UK on the first part of the customer journey—the sale. ContactEngine specialize in communication across all channels—not dictating terms to a customer – rather being empathetic to the fact that customers use different channels for communication because of age, location, familiarity or just plain preference. So, to the challenge:

  • Our client markets their service using all means possible to attract a customer to have a home visit—to send someone round to visit them and quote them happy for a new heating system;

  • They store this data in the ever-popular Salesforce CRM system;

  • There are a limited number of sales  people—who can make around four appointments a day;

  • Before ContactEngine was applied they were losing around one appointment a day. Why? Because appointments were not being validated as well as they might be—meaning a potential customer might have forgotten the appointment, changed their mind, the address might be wrong etc etc.

  • ContactEngine (see Figure 1 below), by drawing data automatically from (and back into) Salesforce and having automated conversations with customers—can confirm appointments just before they’re set to happen—do that ‘out of hours’* and you’ll make the sales people’s lives hugely more productive.

*Because we carry out tens of millions of automated conversations each year we know that the best time of day to reach people and get a response, and it’s not between 9 and 5.

Now the Return on Investment case here is simple  enough—avoid wasting time and you make more money. But it’s not quite that simple. Stopping an unnecessary visit undoubtedly saves companies money but it’s less impressive than automating the filling of that empty slot with another potential customer. We do that service for many clients (we call it Backfill)—it’s more complex than it first seems—you need to reach forward in time, you need to give each potential ‘bring forward’ customer enough time to respond, they need to be nearby (sending your South West guy to the North East would be unhelpful!), and if they respond too late then you need to automate a reply that is considerate and reconfirms their original (but later) visit.

It’s this subtle nuancing that turbocharges their sales and marketing, making sure that the customer journey is perfect. 

Case study 2

In the UK there is a big push towards installing smart meters in all homes and businesses by the end of the decade. Given we’ve just clicked over into 2017 that’s not very long to go. The benefits of a smart meter are clear—more accurate billing, better visibility of consumption patterns and giving the consumer the ability to save cash on what, for many people, is one of their largest monthly bills, especially over the winter months. The challenge for the power companies is however enormous; it’s one of the largest ‘retrofit’ projects ever undertaken with over 20 million meters needing to be installed. That’s why we at ContactEngine are excited to be providing a number of the power companies with the means and method to optimize the roll out.

Using our ‘all channel’ communication engine, we can begin to perfect the journey with customers by helping to schedule in visits for installations. What’s more exciting for us is that this really is the beginning of a much longer journey. Once installed, the meters will provide householders with more data on their consumption and we can help the power firms to encourage loyalty from their customers by proactively contacting them if consumption is growing unexpectedly. Without a smart meter, often the first time a customer knows about their large bill is when it arrives in the mail—with better communication it will be possible to help reduce these unwanted surprises. Happy customers = more loyal customers! With an increasingly competitive market place, keeping hold of your hard-won customers is a win-win all round.undertaken with over 20 million meters needing to be installed.

 

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