February 12, 2024

Why Call Centers Need Digital Conversation

Organizations that manage contact centers with responsibility to large populations in order to provide care or engage patients/consumers proactively are challenged with communicating efficiently and eliciting a timely response in a manner that reduces cost, unlocks revenue opportunities, and enhances customer interaction.

Voice as the standard communication channel has been challenged and supplemented with, if not fully overtaken, by digital messaging that includes SMS, secure chat, asynchronous secure texting and secure video.

The data is real and compelling.

  • 61% of consumers have been texting significantly more since the pandemic started. (Hubspot)
  • 78% of patients wish they could have a text conversation with their provider. (AARP)
  • For those ages 50-69, texting has surpassed email as the preferred method of communication. (AARP)
  • Text is the most used form of communication for people under 50. (PR Newswire)
  • The average text message open rate stands at 99%. (RedEye)
  • 95% of texts will be read within 3 minutes. (Kenect)
  • The average US smartphone user spends around 26 minutes per day texting. (Cision PR Newswire)
  • Three out of ten people would give up calls in favor of texting. (Globe Newswire)
  • 78% of consumers wish they could text a business. (Intelligent Contacts)
  • Over 50% of consumers want companies to text them back. (ZDNet)

44% of business have some type of texting but only 37% actually use it in a functional manner – truly integrating the channel into their customer engagements. Historically, businesses that have texted have done so unilaterally, which often is described as the following: the business creates a message, contracts with a texting company which in turn sends the message. Messages are usually marketing and or informational and rarely request a response due to the inability of the business to respond. Some businesses saw the power of digital messaging and began to figure out various ways to respond, many times reviewing the responses in bulk and choosing which ones warranted a response. As texting matured, companies started to centralize their texting by literally providing their administrative and salespeople with one or more cell phones to reach out to their patients/consumers thereby creating a more personal and timely response.

This type of texting inherently created challenges around controlling the message, auditing the messaging, analyzing the messaging, staying in compliance with federal laws and creating a work flow process that could scale and handle significant capacity.

Generationally, patients/consumers are now much more open to communication via text and other forms of digital messaging. Poor customer service over the years including long wait times, offshore agent populations with strong accents, and shaky technology have contributed to the relatively poor view many patients/consumers have of traditional voice. In addition, the FCC and carriers have initiated programs to mitigate spam and robocalls, which ultimately stifles legitimate engagement. Communicating via text forces companies to ‘stick with the facts’ and drive a more efficient and effective communication event.

Digital messaging, specifically texting and secure messaging is the fastest growing business service in the world. The primary reasons for this growth include: Preferred Consumer Channel, Operational/Agent Efficiency, Lower Cost, Higher Contact Rates, Promotion of Self Service, part of a Digital Transformation Strategy, and to Deflect Inbound Voice Traffic.Call centers deploying such a platform decreases agent work time by up to 60% compared to other channels such as chat, email and voice. Digital messaging also creates efficiencies not available in traditional voice channels as digital messaging allows for a concurrency of 1 agent to several patients/consumers or end points where voice is 1:1 (very inefficient). Leveraging these channels allows contact centers to derive higher revenue and lower costs which can reduce pressure on historically thin operating margins.

Digital Conversation provides a platform that allows business to develop and deploy a strategy to maximize the text channel and provide complete control of messaging within a contact center while still preserving their investments in voice. Allowing for multiple delivery methodologies to include data consumption for Campaigns, Pathways©, Scheduled Future Messages and Enhanced Chat create the foundation for outbound engagement. Managing responses from patient and delivery of web based secure apps completes the engagement and delivers on the value proposition. The following are critical attributes within User Interface that the DC platform delivers:

Workforce Management

  1. Creating SmartTags© that allow for routing of inbound patient responses to specific users or pools of users.
  2. Applying SmartTag© to allow for population segmentation, as an example, by disease state.
  3. Apply SmartTags© to understand the disposition of a campaign.
  4. Autobot with AI to automatically respond to inbound messages without user requiring to respond.
  5. Creating visibility to the last user to read or act on a message.
  6. Providing the ability to change the state of a message between read and unread.
  7. Providing visibility to messages that are unread with an aging application to improve response.
  8. Desktop browser notification of inbound patient responses.
  9. Integration into scheduling software (Acuity) for resource deployment.
  10. Multi-tenancy, multi-number construct to handle multiple business units with on demand user access.

Patient Management

  1. Holding critical patient demographics to include care giver information, customer type, current Pathways©, multiple patient record numbers to integrate with other applications, consent status, opt out functionality and management.
  2. Dispatch Windows to keep campaigns within the guidelines of TCPA or an organizations engagement methodology.
  3. Ad hoc access to create a future message scheduled by date and time.
  4. Unlimited date and time stamped notes can be created for the patient.
  5. Management of “Welcome Message”

Integrated Channels

  1. Move effortlessly between texting, secure texting, secure video and asynchronous secure messaging.
  2. Hub Messaging© for delivering asynchronous secure messages with the ability to attach documents.
  3. Integrated view of all messaging, irrespective of digital channel.

Deployment of Secure Web Based Apps

  1. Allow for web-based applications such as SecureRX and SecureOrder to be delivered via the text channel.
  2. Self-service settings to allow for the patient to request specific information from the organization (#Help).
  3. Forms can be created to be delivered through the text channel along with capturing electronic signatures.
  4. Management reports emailed to designated users on productivity and transactions.

The text channel is still underutilized but in the same context provides a channel with a tremendous amount of utility beyond simple messaging. With texting being declared an “Informational Service” by the FCC, carriers have become more aggressive in managing text messages through filtering. The development of the Campaign Registry is still new to many businesses (if not unknown) trying to text. Organizations need partners aware of the legal, operational, functional and financial nuances of digital messaging.

In summary, digital messaging allows businesses to more actively and proactively manage interaction with their customers and patients that will create less time to revenue, more revenue in a shorter time, lower communication costs and illicit behaviors that ultimately meet the business and financial edicts of an organization, with a device that 97% of the population owns.