In the United States, approximately 48 million individuals report some level of hearing loss, nearly 20 percent of the total population. Miracle-Ear, Inc., a trusted resource for hearing loss services for over 65 years, empathizes with these individuals and recognizes the diverse population who need state-of-the-art technology to remove the barriers of hearing loss. Through an understanding of the challenges individuals with hearing loss face, Miracle-Ear launched a search to find a way to offer tailored communication services to their customers that are not limited to phone calls. Initially, email was implemented as an alternative to phone communication; however, only five percent of customers provided an email address to use for continued contact and follow-ups, and they needed to find an alternative solution that provided broader reach and enhanced flexibility to meet their business objectives.
In order to improve feedback and communication with customers, Miracle-Ear partnered with CareWire, a text-first mobile patient engagement platform, to provide a solution. What CareWire learned is that Miracle-Ear’s customers not only have the SMS (text messaging) capabilities, but most of the customers found great value in the service, regardless of age, gender, location, or demographic. While the initial adoption of the program focused heavily on customer service, Miracle-Ear quickly saw promising operational KPIs begin to improve. Over 230,000 Miracle-Ear customers have enrolled in CareWire across 882 locations in the United States and Canada since inception, and CareWire’s platform is now regarded as extremely valuable not only for the customer experience but also for driving business.
How CareWire Helped
CareWire provided a dynamic and flexible platform tailored to meet the challenges facing Miracle-Ear’s customers and the goals of the 1,200 franchised locations across the U.S. and Canada. As a result of identifying Miracle-Ear’s communication and engagement objectives, CareWire constructed a strategy that positively impacted key performance indicators and provided a solution that continually responds to the needs of the business. Currently, Miracle-Ear uses CareWire services for:
- Sending customers appointment reminders with clickable maps
- Informing customers about warranty expiration and hearing-aid maintenance options
- Confirming appointments through text messages
- Measuring and responding to real-time customer satisfaction
Since all pertinent information is provided via text communication, customers are less likely to miss appointments or call the business with questions prior to the appointment, and the ability for the maps to conform to a customers’ location decreased late appointments by providing specific and tailored directions. On-demand, courtesy messaging is used by staff to manage customer flow and address last minute scheduling changes, such as those due to inclement weather. These changes decreased workload for staff at each franchise, saving money and resources, as well as provided an easy alternative to audio communication.
Miracle-Ear also uses CareWire to support customers after a purchase or consultation to request specific feedback immediately following a customer visit. Following the survey, the customers are guided directly to store-level review pages, which supports current digital marketing goals. From this feedback, CareWire was able to provide key metrics to the marketing team to move the customers to a targeted review page as well as store key analytics.
The text-first mobile patient engagement platform also provided Miracle-Ear with an opportunity to immediately identify dissatisfied customers, and “Detractor Alerts” are delivered directly to franchisees to contact customers who would otherwise be lost to Miracle-Ear or feel enticed to write poor reviews. Aaron Toth, one such franchisee, has first-hand experience of the benefits of CareWire and detractor alerts. “RapidSat saved a sale—I called a detractor back and it turned out the issue was price. I was able to talk to them and close the sale. RapidSat gave me the opportunity to continue the conversation.”
Since Miracle-Ear tends to serve an older population, there was concern over using text messaging as a means of communication. However, participation rates have exceeded expectations. Brian Rafferty, a franchisee, said, “I expected this to be another program that would generate complaints and issues with customers: impressive that this has gone smoothly after nearly 700,000 interactions.” Here are some key numbers to emphasize Rafferty’s comment and illustrate how CareWire streamlined the communication process:
- Over 100,000 messages per month are delivered to customers via 64 mobile phone carriers.
- Over 215,000 distinct, customer responses have been collected automatically, freeing up staff to meet other organizational needs at Miracle-Ear.
It is clear that customers do not see the text messages as a nuisance as the engagement rate has been exceptionally high. While only five percent of customers had provided an email address for ongoing communication, over 50 percent of customers have provided a mobile number in order to participate in CareWire messaging. Of the customer interactions that have been conducted automatically through CareWire, 70 percent of customers respond to messages within 15 minutes of receipt. This rapid feedback provides an opportunity to reach customers quickly and to address concerns. As Angela Turnipseed, marketing manager at Miracle-Ear, said, “Our organization has come to rely on CareWire as a way to communicate with our customers. The messages have helped to improve our appointment-show rates and customer relationships, and our customers appreciate receiving text messages from us.”
Overall customer enrollment and franchisee feedback demonstrates that customers appreciate the opportunity to receive text-based communication. As Brenda Arndt, Digital Marketing Manager, said, “The CareWire platform has enhanced the Miracle-Ear experience and improved Franchisee business results. It is a powerful channel for directly communicating with customers and gathering real-time feedback. We value our relationship with CareWire.”
To learn more about CareWire, its efforts, mobile platforms, and program options, contact us or visit http://carewireinc.com today.
Thinking about Mobile?
Text Messaging: Designing a Program That Really Works
eIf you are reading this, you already know that the benefits of this communication channel are numerous and include boosting effectiveness and efficiency, improving outcomes and enhancing the patient experience. Realizing these benefits, however, is predicated on a well thought-out, end-to-end messaging initiative.