The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) ACT, based in Canberra, Australia, helps, protects and advocates for better welfare for animals in its local community, and recently celebrated 60 years of service. The organisation has a workforce of about 300 people including voluntary, permanent and casual staff. Services include cat boarding, a dog and puppy training school and a fully equipped veterinary clinic.
Make staff and customer communication more streamlined and effective
RSPCA was looking for a way to make communication with supporters, clients and staff more streamlined and effective. Traditional contact methods included telephone calls and emails, which were used in an effort to reduce veterinary clinic appointment ‘no-shows’ and ensure on-time appointment attendance. The RSCPA ACT was also looking to keep business costs under control.
SMS helps RSPCA ACT keep in touch with clients more effectively
The partnership between the RSPCA ACT and MessageMedia began when MessageMedia recommended the RSPCA ACT should implement an SMS solution that would allow them to send text messages to their clients via a web-based system. SMS would be used to complement traditional contact methods.
Sarah McIntosh, Customer Service Manager at RSPCA ACT, said that SMS was found to be a reliable communication channel that delivered results. “Over the years we have found new ways to use the service and now send a range of messages to clients and staff via SMS,” she says.
The MessageMedia web SMS service allows RSPCA ACT to send and receive SMS messages straight from a web browser. There is no software to install and nothing fancy to configure. It’s a simple and cost-effective way to send SMS and features flexible delivery options, two-way messaging and comprehensive reporting.
Client communication includes:
- Dog training school notifications, such as location changes or schedule updates
- Veterinary clinic reminders, including flea treatments or information about seasonal allergies
- Confirmation of veterinary clinic appointment
The RSPCA ACT also uses emails and telephone calls to communicate with clients of the dog training school and veterinary clinic. “If we try to call a client and get voicemail, we will leave a message, and generally also send a follow up SMS,” says McIntosh. “Often people can’t take a call, but they can read and reply to an SMS.”
McIntosh says they also use SMS for internal communications and find it especially useful for emergency evacuation procedures.
“SMS is personal and immediate, and in an emergency situation we can send a bulk message to all staff, such as an alert to evacuate to the assembly point or we can send specific messages to individuals if their assistance is required to evacuate animals. With MessageMedia web SMS it’s simple and easy.”
SMS helps RSPCA ACT increase business efficiency and customer service
McIntosh said there are a number of benefits the business enjoys with SMS. “Using the SMS system increases our business efficiency, for example, we really find the bulk messaging application useful, because it only takes a few minutes to get the same message out to a big group of people. It saves us so much time.”
RSPCA ACT has also found that SMS is very effective for appointment confirmations. On average, over 80 percent of clients will respond to SMS reminders for veterinary and training school appointments, such as vaccination appointments.
“We find that SMS reminders greatly improve appointment attendance, and customers really appreciate the service. Funnily enough, we have discovered that confirmation responses can be impacted by the day of the week. Phone calls can be better on the weekends (especially in the morning) and SMS works better on weekdays. We assume that’s because SMS is best when people are busy or winding down for the day,” says McIntosh.
Over the past few years RSPCA ACT has added more and more applications for SMS.
“We’ve introduced more SMS applications simply because we found that SMS increases our procedural efficiency and reduces telephone use. The reduced phone use saves us money and it also keeps phone lines open for clients contacting us which improves our ability to deliver better customer service levels.”