11 May 2018
Like the private sector before them, local authorities are having to change tactics in order to engage with their audiences in the most effective ways. “Digital natives” who grew up with the internet expect to be contacted in via digital channels rather than getting home to see what has arrived through the letterbox.
Housing associations are far from immune from these changing demographics – with missed maintenance visits being a particular point of concern.
Tenants not being home for a planned maintenance visit are an expensive waste of resource, and with widespread budget cuts being made to government-funded organisations, innovative ways to remind tenants about their appointments need to be embraced.
It’s time to take advantage of rising smartphone numbers
Smartphone ownership has seen a huge increase in recent years, with an impressive 85% of the UK’s population now owning a smartphone (source). This gives housing associations an opportunity to connect with audiences through digital channels such as SMS, email and social media.
SMS is the heavyweight in this group. Channels like email may be great for cost-effective marketing communications, but because of this they’re perceived by many to be “spammy”. The result of this is that when used for different applications like appointment reminders, email is all too easily ignored. The open rate for email is only 20%, whereas SMS boasts a 95% open rate, which is unequalled by any other channel.
This high open rate results in a much better chance of the appointment being attended by the resident. In fact, SMS can reduce the amount of missed appointments by as much as 30% (source).
What are the options available to help reduce missed appointments?
Standard SMS reminders can be sent easily through either online portals or integrated APIs, which allow SMS functionality to be integrated directly into housing associations’ existing management systems.
Alternatively, housing associations can facilitate two-way text conversations by using tools like SMS Chat. This is particularly helpful for audiences who may need to re-arrange their appointment in a convenient way, with no need to call the service provider. It also means that the provider can handle multiple conversations at the same time.
Getting started with text-based appointment reminders
Esendex have worked with a range of different housing associations to implement SMS based strategies for appointment reminders.
Multichannel strategies can also be implemented which combine SMS with our Voice, Email, Mobile Web Apps and upcoming RCS technologies. These multichannel strategies will use intelligent decision engines look at the contact details that you have available for a resident and use the next most cost-effective channel to remind them about their appointment.
To find out more about how other housing associations have successfully used SMS to reduce their missed appointments please get in touch with our team on 0345 356 5758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.