1 customer care solutions from Nuance white paper :: Consumer Preferences for Outbound Notifications Outbound calling using predictive dialing technology is nothing new to contact centers. The use of outbound calling for proactive notification purposes however, is significantly improving the contact center s opportunity to further the customer relationship while saving operational costs. To better understand how this newer model continues to evolve, Nuance Communications sponsored a Harris Research study that surveyed consumers about current usage and preferences relating to outbound notifications. This white paper outlines these findings, providing key insights into the use and best practices for implementing proactive notifications in the contact center.
2 NUANCE :: customer care solutions Introduction In the past, predictive dialing occurred when an outbound call was timed with agent availability resulting in a live interaction between agent and customer. These calls were typically telemarketing oriented and rarely tied to a customer s personal interests. Today, however, companies can leverage customer-specific account information and business rules to trigger outbound notifications that are personalized, relevant and welcomed by the customer. Automated outbound notifications have advanced far beyond their ancestry: the dreaded dinner-interrupting calls from predictive dialers. Today s proactive notifications use SMS, or the voice channel to communicate and interact with customers in relevant ways throughout the customer lifecycle. When applied skillfully, proactive notifications are welcomed by the consumer. They improve customer experience when they are used to communicate information that is timely and relevant (e.g. flight delays). They encourage people to buy when they present renewal reminders, personalized offers or alerts that an item on back order is now in stock. From a business viewpoint, they displace inbound call volume when they correctly anticipate the reasons a customer would otherwise call (e.g. confirmation of transactions). They create additional revenue opportunities through personalized, relevant cross-sell and up-sell offers. They can even shorten collections cycles by reminding people to pay overdue bills. Your recent transfer of funds was... Your prescription is about to run out... Your account is past due; would you like to make a payment? Due to weather conditions, your flight... 2
3 To get the most from their proactive notification campaigns, contact centers must be able to design and launch campaigns so customers are contacted when and how they want to receive communication. This must be orchestrated all while complying with key government regulations and best practices. We all know that customers don t appreciate untargeted, unsolicited and non-interactive push calls. The key to balancing this delicate dynamic between costs and your relationship with your customer is to make sure you understand consumers preferences for outbound contact when, how and why they want to hear from you. As we ll detail in this white paper, a Harris Research study sponsored by Nuance Communications that surveyed consumers in both the U.S. and U.K. validates that consumers are ready to embrace proactive notifications. Respondents who felt that proactive notifications had a positive impact on a company s brand far out-weighed those who believed otherwise. About the Study Nuance engaged Harris Research to conduct a 30-minute online survey with consumers in the U.S. and U.K. Respondents were at least 18 years of age. The sample only included consumers who had experienced some form of proactive notification in the six months prior to the survey. Each respondent was asked questions regarding current usage, usage preferences and opt-in preferences. For the purpose of this research study, we defined proactive communication as follows: A proactive communication to your phone is when you receive content, messages, promotions, reminders or offers that are personal, relevant and that you find useful as opposed to intrusive. In some instances, you might have asked for (or opted-in) to receive communications. (Opting-in is when you register to receive information, or check a box saying you wish to receive future notifications for a service or company.) Messages Promotions PROACTIVE Communications Reminders & Alerts Offers 3
4 NUANCE :: customer care solutions Current Experience Most Common Interactions: Appointment Reminders & Order Status Updates by To gain an understanding of consumers current proactive communications experiences, we asked questions regarding the types of communications they currently receive and how they receive them. While SMS was one of the ways consumers currently receive proactive notifications, is more common. 72% of U.S. consumers surveyed have received proactive notifications via with SMS contact coming in at a mere 32%. In the U.S., appointment reminders (49%) and order status (42%) top the list of proactive notifications received from companies. Most Common Current Method of Contact Based on Communication Type (U.S. Example) Communication Type Marketing/Sales Promotion Fraud Check Account Information Payment Reminder Appointment Reminder Travel Status Updates Prescription Status Order Status Outage Notification The most common way in which respondents are typically contacted depends upon the type of notification. Best Approach for Urgent, Sensitive and General Information Delivery Top Ways of Current Contact CC calls from automated system CC calls from live agent CC calls from automated systems CC calls from automated system CC calls from automated systems Most Used Proactive Communications (U.S.) Order Status - 42% Appointment Reminders - 49% Depending on the type of communication, consumers might label it less or more important to receive urgently or at all. To gain an understanding of the best use of proactive notifications, survey participants were given a list of usage scenarios and asked to label each communication as one they perceived to be general, urgent or sensitive in nature. When considering how to send outbound notifications, it is important to take into consideration the consumer s perspective on a per scenario basis as one size does not fit all. 4
5 Consumers Categorization of General, Urgent or Sensitive Based on Communication Type (U.S. Example) Communication Type Marketing/Sales Promotion Order Status Outage Notification Travel Status Updates Appointment Reminder Payment Reminder Prescription Status Account Information Fraud Check Top Perception of the Type of Information General General General General Urgent Urgent Sensitive Sensitive Urgent As might be expected, almost all (96%) of respondents feel that marketing/sales promotions are general information and these types of communications are not perceived as urgent or sensitive in nature. This response held true for both U.K. and U.S. consumers. However, 48% in the U.S. feel that fraud checks to verify a purchase is urgent information. Finally, 60% in U.S. feel that account info is sensitive information. Knowing this how should you be contacting your customers? When asked, consumers prefer contact by for most types of proactive communications. For urgent (67%) and sensitive (68%) information, however, they wish to be contacted by a live agent. Perference for Contact Based on Communication Type (U.S. Example) Communication Type Order Status Payment Reminder Marketing/Sales Promotion Travel Status Updates Account Information Prescription Status Outage Notification Appointment Reminder Fraud Check Preferred Contact Method (62%) (55%) (50%) (44%) CC calls from live agent (43%) (32%) CC call from auto sys (32%) CC calls from live agent (38%) CC calls from live agent (73%) 5
6 NUANCE :: customer care solutions Call Backs Preferred over Please Hold As reported in numerous research studies, one of the most frustrating customer care experiences for the consumer is to call a business with a question or concern and to be placed on hold. A call back feature, now available in some outbound notification solutions, gives consumers the choice of holding or receiving a call back. Using a solution like this, a business can let the consumer know there is a hold time, the estimated length of the hold time and give them a choice to continue holding or to receive a call back when an agent becomes available. This provides the consumer with a choice and puts them in control of how they want to interact eliminating a lot of frustration. Phone INBOUND Call Backs Mobile Device PBX IVR Speech DTMF Self-Service Business Intelligence (Backends) Phone PBX OUTBOUND Advises First Available Agent to Return Customer Call Mobile Device As might be expected, our research found that as hold time increases, the perceived usefulness of a call back also increases. In the U.S., almost half (48%) find a call back appealing or somewhat appealing. This finding points to a great opportunity for businesses to address one of the consumer s biggest pet peeves while driving down call volume and related costs. Consumers Are Not Receptive to Fees for Proactive Communications There has been discussion in the industry as to whether consumers would be willing to pay a modest fee to receive information based on level of sensitivity or urgency. This study tested that idea along with the consumer s willingness to pay to receive updates on valuable promotional opportunities. The Harris Research found that a fee for proactive notifications has a negative impact on interest levels in all industries tested and among all communication types. Consumers were a little more positive towards paying a fee for proactive notifications regarding fraud (21% for U.S.). The study also explored payment preferences for proactive notifications subscription or pay-per communication. The findings weren t conclusive. It was a 50/50 split between subscription and pay-per-communication in the U.S. 6
7 Opt-in Remains Important Especially for Promotional Communications The study did confirm that most respondents feel permission should be asked before proactive notifications are sent. However, the need for permission varies across proactive notification types. In the U.S., more than half (56%) of respondents feel it is absolutely/very essential that their permission be asked before a company sends sales or marketing-related proactive notifications, while only a quarter (24%) feel it is essential for order status communications. For notifications that are very important or absolutely essential, respondents would prefer to give permission via or by talking to a live agent. A third of respondents (33%) feel that it is not important at all to ask permission to send proactive notifications regarding fraud checks and/or order status. Opt-in for Proactive Notifications 56% 56% of Survey Respondents Want Companies to ask Permission Before Sending Proactive Notifications 33% 33% of Survey Respondents Feel It s Not Important to Ask Permission Before Sending Proactive Notifications Overall the study found very low interest in proactive notifications of a promotional nature, even when consumers were offered something of value. 38% of respondents in the U.S. stated they are not at all interested in proactive notifications of a promotional nature. Consumers experience with SPAM-related communications probably heightens sensitivity here. As more and more organizations build relevant, proactive communication interactions with their customer, this reaction is likely to change. 7
8 NUANCE :: customer care solutions Conclusion The customer care operation plays a pivotal role in both top-line growth and bottom-line business management. Proactive notifications offers a new opportunity to cut operating costs, increase customer retention and loyalty, increase revenues and expand business both with existing customers as well as new customers. Being reactive is no longer enough in today s highly competitive and cost-conscious business environment. Winning organizations are realizing strategic business value through a comprehensive customer contact approach which combines informed, proactive contact with the more traditional, reactive customer care. Nuance Outbound Notification Solution $10.00 $9.00 $8.00 $7.00 $6.00 $5.00 $4.00 $3.00 $2.00 $1.00 Cost Per Call Agent In Agent Out Automated In Automated Out Cost per call for automated out is about 50% less than automated in. Nuance Notification Hub (www.nuance.com/care/solutions/outbound.asp) is a complete outbound customer lifecycle solution that enables automated, personalized, actionable notifications over SMS, and voice. Nuance Notification Hub helps businesses reduce inbound call volumes, increase customer satisfaction, and create new revenue opportunities by delivering interactive, relevant communications to customers. Unlike other outbound offerings, Nuance Notification Hub may be deployed on premise, as a managed service, or in a SaaS model. The Nuance Notification Hub solution can be easily extended to integrate with third-party outbound dialers. Add-on modules such as Nuance Subscription Manager help companies comply with MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) best practices and FCC (Federal Communications Commission) regulations by allowing customers to set preferences for communication channels and times. With Nuance Notification Hub, your contact center can successfully design, develop, launch, manage, and analyze your multichannel proactive notification campaigns. About Nuance Communications, Inc. Nuance is in the business of helping companies better support, communicate with and understand their customers while maintaining operational efficiency goals. Nuance currently supports over 8 billion care interactions around the world. No other company has as much experience as Nuance in understanding how customers interface with a care operation. Our vision is to make every customer interaction a winning experience. For more information about our customer interaction solutions, business consulting and professional services, please visit Nuance. All Rights Reserved. Nuance is a registered trademark of Nuance. All other trademarks mentioned here are the property of their respective holders. WP NUCC376 NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS, INC. one wayside road burlington ma nuance.com