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5 Reasons Your Outage Communications Aren’t Working

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Layna Shuppert's picture
Marketing Communications Manager Message Broadcast

Message Broadcast provides engagement solutions that shape customer experiences for the world’s top brands. As a leader in intent-driven conversation, Message Broadcast improves customer...

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  • Nov 15, 2021
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The murmurings begin on social media…neighbors checking with neighbors to see if their power is out. Your phone number is posted and, within minutes, a flood of activity hits the call center, overwhelming the lines.   

Hold times increase, patience decreases, and your customer care team scrambles to provide answers amid escalating chaos.   

The answer seems simple: Proactively communicate with customers before they call. Easy, right? Except, it’s not so easy. Let’s look at some common pitfalls.    

1. Right Message, Wrong Time  

With lengthy approval processes, your perfectly edited message is sent an hour later than intended, rendering it old news. Unfortunately,   the right message sent at the wrong time is more damaging to your brand than not sending anything at all. It shows you tried – and failed.    

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2. Right Time, Wrong Customer  

Let’s imagine your message is ready to go. Ah, but not so fast…the outage is in a specific area, but you’re sending a notice to the entire west side of town. In an instant, your customers’ trust in your ability to deliver accurate information is lost. It's been said, trust takes years to build, minutes to break, and forever to repair.     

Are you able to segment your customers for specific communications in a timely fashion?    

3. Right Customer, Right Time, Wrong Channel  

If you’re able to send the right message to the right customer at the right time, congratulations! But what if you’re sending it via voice call when the customer prefers a text? Knowing begins with asking…and asking implies you’ll be able to deliver. Does your system target the right channel?  

 4. Right Information, Wrong System  

If you’ve got loads of data in your legacy system, but your new OMS can’t integrate – it’s akin to discovering a mine filled with precious gems and using a toothpick to extract them. When acquiring a new solution, ask how it will integrate. If you don’t have expertise on your team – does your vendor?  

5. Know Your Rights  (And Wrongs)

If you don’t have the ability to pull reports quickly, how will you improve? How will you adapt to ever-changing customer expectations if you’re not able to plan a path forward based on past outcomes? It’s your right to access reports—quickly and easily. 

 It’s Time to Right the Wrongs  

Fortunately, there are solutions that will vastly improve your customer communication experience, addressing each issue we mentioned. In the process, you’ll do more than decrease your inbound call volume...you’ll level up your customer service program, and increase both CSAT scores and efficiencies within your department. It begins with identifying a partner who offers CPaaS solutions, and be sure to include the questions addressed above in your RFP:

1. Will the platform allow you to (easily!) segment your customers for specific communications?
2. Will it do this quickly?
3. Does it offer preference center capabilities, and if it does, how’s the follow-through? Will it target the right channels, per your customers’ preferences?
4. How’s the integration with your legacy systems? Are there APIs available? Do they have the staff to build them if not?
5. Does the platform offer dashboards and reporting so you can always be improving?

Including these questions in your RFP (and getting the right answers) will help ensure the next time there's an outage, you won't be left holding the phone. 

Layna Shuppert's picture
Thank Layna for the Post!
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 15, 2021

I wonder if mobile apps can come into play here-- as a customer, I'd certainly opt into push notifications about potential issues and expected resolutions to them. Do any utilities have those in place? 

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