Feb 7, 2022

How to leverage digital transformation to fast-track customer experience

Five take-aways on how SimonMed Imaging benefitted from the rapid transition to the cloud using innovative out-of-the-box communications applications.

The business world has rapidly shifted in the years since the pandemic began, relying heavily on digital solutions for interactions and communications. Many leading organizations are leveraging communications workflow automation platforms to streamline customer interactions and operations, allowing them to optimize staffing and deliver additional communications channels for best-in-class customer experience. Other organizations continue to struggle with digital transformation, impacting their ability to stay competitive.

In a recent interview conducted by IDC, analyst Courtney Monroe and SimonMed’s CIO, Duleep Wikramanayake, discuss how they used their communications platform to deliver powerful, automated communications features to improve internal operations and customer communication. During the interview, Wikramanayake noted five aspects that were critical to SimonMed’s success and should be considered by other organizations that are still navigating digital transformation.

1. Leading companies are utilizing cloud and communications applications to adapt to the new normal.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in 2019, many businesses rapidly transitioned to the cloud. Today, that movement continues. One of the key drivers has been that companies are not only leveraging applications in the cloud for their employees, but also increasingly utilizing the cloud to communicate with customers, partners, and suppliers.

By incorporating communications platform as a service (CPaaS) and communications workflow automation into their cloud transition, organizations can rapidly adapt while freeing themselves from the restrictions of legacy platforms. Additionally, CPaaS is cost effective, delivers increased flexibility, allows organizations to use pre-existing APIs, and can be utilized to add voice to UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) and contact center solutions like Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx.

2. To improve success with CPaaS, focus on defining outcomes first.

To find true success with CPaaS, organizations and providers shouldn’t look at generic tiers of success. Instead, it’s critical to begin the conversation by defining the desired outcome. This is often done in the discovery phase of an implementation. From there, your organization and the CPaaS provider can work together to design a solution that will meet your unique needs and drive business.

During SimonMed’s discovery period, Wikramanayake articulated two primary outcomes they required:

  1. Automation: SimonMed required the ability to interact with 10,000 patients daily without adding resources to their team. This outcome was met by first analyzing call metrics, then implementing intelligent call routing, communications workflows, and omni-channel communications to free up staff.
  2. Patient / customer experience: SimonMed required their communications experience to match their brand experience, thus delivering best-in-class customer experience. This outcome was met by leveraging their communication workflow automation platform to create personalized automation: getting the right message, to the right patient (or customer), at the right time. Omni-channel solutions were utilized to create personalized communications and ensure that patients could contact SimonMed on the channel of their choice, as well as receive automated appointment and payment reminders to help patients stay up-to-date.

3. Personalized automation is critical to patient / customer experience.

Every generation, and individual for that matter, prefers a different mode of communication. Delivering a personalized, omni-channel experience ensures that communications are clear and available on preferred channels.

That being said, there’s more to this strategy than just investing in dozens of different communications channels. Utilizing a single platform for omni-channel communications ensures that you can deliver the same experience across every channel, leverage comprehensive analytics, and constantly adapt your strategy to deliver the best experience possible. To find success, each channel should deliver a consistent message and satisfy customer/patient needs. Contacts should have an opportunity to opt-in to their preferred channel.

As noted in the webinar by Wikramanayake, “…we talk to the younger generation and they go, ‘Hey, just send me a text’. So, this is where CPaaS is going to expand to a point where you’re going to be using the APIs and all that is available. And when we get our [omni-channel] applications ready, this is going to be a slam dunk.”

4. Communications platforms shouldn’t take months and unlimited internal resources to get up and running.

When the business world is rapidly changing, organizations don’t have months to make changes to their communications strategy. They also don’t always have the ability to find new developers or reallocate current staff to implement a new communications platform or strategy. To find success, businesses need to be able to move and adapt quickly. That’s where CPaaS and communications automation come in. Solutions like Atmosphere CPaaS can be quickly implemented. And IntelePeer’s Marketplace Applications low-code and no-code applications can launch new communications workflows within minutes.

When investigating a new platform, it’s critical to review the speed and needs of implementation, the level of technical expertise required, and how quickly you can get features up and running. After all, you can’t quickly and effectively do everything at once. IntelePeer recommends a “Crawl, Walk, Run” approach to get their customers up and running quickly and improving as they move through each step.

The Crawl, Walk, Run approach starts by contemplating two things:

  1. What’s your largest pain point, and how can it be solved immediately? In SimonMed’s case the largest pain point was automation.
  2. What low hanging fruit can immediately be targeted? In SimonMed’s case, this was delivering a consistent patient/customer experience.

IntelePeer then addresses the two points in the “Crawl” phase. To move to the “Walk” phase, IntelePeer optimizes what they’ve established in the Crawl phase, continuing to iterate and improve upon the pain points. By the time the “Run” phase is achieved, a comprehensive system should be in place.

As an example, to meet SimonMed’s pain points (as related to their desired outcomes in takeaway number two and above), IntelePeer crafted the following Crawl, Walk, Run Approach.

  • Crawl Phase: Deploy quickly to achieve automation and get analytics to understand what the customer experience is.
  • Walk Phase: Personalize communications to ensure a consistent, best-in-class patient/customer experience.
  • Run Phase: Ensure a holistic patient/customer life cycle is in place, from scheduling, to follow-up and reminders.

5. The CPaaS return on investment (ROI) is easily definable and speaks for itself.

ROI is required to build a case for any new platform. For SimonMed, that was easy. They were able to look at their current bill for outbound calling, compared to the cost of the CPaaS solution. When looking at the cost of automation and eliminating the cost of the call, the cost was about three employees. So, in essence three employees were able to handle 10,000 patients daily through automation. In a non-automated system, agents could only handle 10 calls in a day, which would require 120-200 people. This meant that not only did SimonMed not need to hire additional resources to respond to 10,000 customers daily, but that they could reallocate those employees to different roles within the company. Implementing the IntelePeer CPaaS solution increased customer/patient satisfaction, improved engagement and easily justified the purchase through a solid ROI.

Whether you’re just starting your journey with digital transformation or communication automation, or you are looking to improve your strategy, IntelePeer can help. Reach out today, Contact Us call (877) 336-9171, or visit our website!

If you’d like to learn more from SimonMed, listen to the full 20-minute webinar here.