How a UK startup is helping NHS hospitals save millions and upgrade patient experiences with cloud communications

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Roberto Marzo

Over the years, the concept of what customers consider “convenient” has evolved. As customer expectations increase, businesses can no longer afford to dictate the terms of customer interactions. To deliver convenient, competitive experiences, businesses have to meet customers on their terms, on their turf. But until recently, this was easier said than done.

Up until a few decades ago, every purchase we made was in a physical shop — where a business’s success correlated directly to the proximity of their potential customers. Back then, we knew very little about the power of customer experience.

Data gradually showed that better-trained, friendlier staff, more flexible return policies, competitive pricing and the like were magnets for customers, regardless of their proximity. So, stores started training salespeople, investing in customer service, offering discounts and flexible purchase policies — all in the name of getting customers in the door. This was the dawn of customer experience as we know it.

Over the past three decades, we’ve seen the rise of the internet, smartphones and mobile apps continually revolutionize what it means to make purchases, interact with brands, and become loyal customers. Moreover, we’ve seen giants like Amazon, Airbnb, Uber and Spotify lead their industries and reach unprecedented global usage, all by putting their customers at the center of everything.

Today, we live in a one-click, one-stop-shop world. Customer experience has never been more advanced, but winning customers has also never been more competitive. To win them, businesses have to engineer engaging experiences that build brand loyalty and create strong connections with customers, while also providing the convenience that our increasingly on-demand world expects.

With the rise of cloud communications, the complexities that used to prevent businesses from integrating fast, reliable, global, omnichannel communications into their customer experience have disappeared. Today, businesses can meet their customers on their preferred communications channels, increasing engagement, satisfaction, and retention. We’ve seen customers implement and scale these solutions in a matter of days.

Take DrDoctor, a MessageBird customer who has revolutionized outpatient appointment rescheduling in the UK. The UK’s National Health Service was losing an estimated £1 billion a year in appointment no-shows. DrDoctor helps hospitals prevent no-shows by enabling patients to view, change and schedule outpatient appointments themselves, either online, in-app or via text. With MessageBird’s Flow Builder, DrDoctor built and deployed communication flows that programmatically enable quick, easy appointment reminders and rescheduling, all without having to write a single line of code. Through DrDoctor’s communication flows, the NHS has been able to reach hundreds of thousands of patients anytime, anywhere with reminders and alerts via SMS and Voice. As a result, each NHS hospital in partnership with DrDoctor has saved £1–3 million per year and seen a 50% decrease in phone calls, plus a 40% reduction in no-shows — not only improving patient experiences but also slashing costs.

Lack of technology is no longer an excuse for poor customer experience. Whether it’s via SMS, with a call, on WhatsApp, through Messenger, WeChat, Telegram, Line or any other global messaging channel, today’s CPaaS solutions offer endless possibilities for businesses to craft and deliver experiences that meet and exceed our modern concept of convenience.

As the world becomes more mobile, enabling end-to-end customer interactions on the platforms customers use and love is the key to delivering the experiences today’s customers have come to expect.