This article is sponsored by Relay Network and was reviewed before publication.
“In an age when people aren’t downloading apps, their email is filled with clutter, they don’t read mail and don’t pick up the phone, how do you engage with customers?”
That is the question CEO Matt Gillin and his fellow cofounders asked themselves when they created Radnor, PA-based Relay Network — a customer engagement program for enterprise companies.
Realizing customers had become numb to email and would rather get a root canal than call a customer service line, the team came up with an idea to look beyond traditional engagement methods and build something completely new.
“We invented a simple concept: the Customer Feed,” said Gillin.
Relay enables businesses to proactively deliver communications through individual feeds that guide customers to take specific actions, like scheduling a service. It also provides them with personalized support in moments of need. Users are notified of new messages through texts containing links to the user’s web-based feed, achieving higher engagement than email and mobile app notifications.
The mobile engagement program can function on its own or plug into a business’ existing CRM or marketing automation platform, enhancing its functionality.
“Because each feed is unique to the customer, the information is always relevant to them. It changes the entire dynamic of the customer relationship,” added Gillin.
Due to its ability to securely deliver information straight to each customer when they need it, the product has been especially successful in industries that require extra guidance and education, like healthcare, financial services and telecom.
"Our ability to help our members close gaps in care has been significant."
A good example of the solution’s impact can be found in Relay’s ongoing work with Independence Blue Cross (IBX). At the start of their relationship, IBX was looking to expand and enhance its digital platform for communicating with its customers. With Relay, IBX has been able to engage two-thirds of its subscriber population in digital communications, delivering information to educate them on their health and encourage more routine care.
More specifically, the product gets personal. It works by leveraging contextual information about users so that it can securely send out relevant messages and solutions based around each person’s unique situation.
In the example of health insurance, it could be that a user has diabetes. With the individual’s background information in place, the insurer uses the feed to deliver timely care management throughout the lifecycle of their condition in the form of interactive mobile experiences related to tests, assessments, appointments or wellness advice. Using personalized data, the platform can also help users find a doctor or even alternative emergency options, like a local urgent care, to reduce unnecessary ER visits.
“Our ability to help our members close gaps in care has been significant,” said Brian Lobley, EVP of health markets for IBX. “For members who opt-in to IBX Wire, our personalized, HIPAA-compliant communication feed, we are seeing an increase in preventive screenings, like colorectal and breast cancer. We are also seeing members better adhere to their chronic care routines, like getting regular A1C tests.”
"We’re increasing customer satisfaction and reducing inbound calls."
One report found that members who signed up to receive IBX Wire messages were 14% less likely to go to the ER for non-emergencies. Another showed a 20% switch rate to generic medication alternatives (compared to non-users of the feed), after messages educated recipients about cost savings opportunities.
According to Lobley, Relay gives IBX a new way to connect with members that checks all the boxes: “Incredible user experience, secure, and most importantly, the ability to communicate with them in the way they want to be reached.”
Telecommunications giant Comcast also entered into a partnership with Relay in its own effort to engage its customers more effectively.
“The Relay platform has been an important part of our work to provide proactive service to our customers and we are now sending millions of relevant messages to our customers a month,” wrote Piers Lingle, SVP of customer experience product at Comcast.
Successful outcomes for its clients have led to successful outcomes for Relay, itself. Two years ago the company had 6 million customer feeds. Today, it has over 30 million active customer feeds in the marketplace, growing at 1 million feeds per month.
Gillin and his team welcome the growth (hear that, job seekers?) and enjoy seeing the tangible impact their product has made.
“We’re increasing customer satisfaction and reducing inbound calls,” said Gillin. “Calling a customer service line is always more work than you hope for, but when you’re better educated, you don’t need to call. That’s the real magic.”
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