case-study-culliganClient: Culligan Water
Location: Ann Arbor/Detroit, MI
Solution: VoiceWave® Plus

By Justin Brazelton, Culligan of Ann Arbor/Detroit
Originally printed in CDANA Connections September 2013

The most common complaint with our deliveries was that the customer never knew when we were going to show up with their product. Typically, they would find out by pulling into their driveway and six bags of salt were stacked next to their garage and now they had to carry it downstairs. Others would find four, 5-gallon bottles were left sitting on their porch. They now have to figure out where to store the bottles and call the office about either picking up their empty bottles and/or to discuss their inflated bill because of bottle deposits.

Another example is they find a note on the door that says, “Sorry we missed you” and had to go out of their way to call the office during normal business hours and reschedule their delivery for when it was convenient to us. All of these issues left a negative mark with the customer and makes them wonder why they are paying for such an inconvenient service. When the Culligan Man is going to deliver is not the most important thing on peopleís minds and it is our responsibility to make sure we are easy to do business with. Sending calendars and printing the next 4 delivery dates on the billing statement was a good start, but we needed to do more.

I was introduced to PhoneTree at a Culligan Tri-State Vendor Fair. They offered a program that would make automated outbound calls to anyone we setup with a message that could be prerecorded and customized. It was a no brainer to set this up in our office and have it start calling delivery customers. The reminder message was short and simple:

Hello, this call is to remind you that your Culligan Man will be stopping by for you delivery tomorrow. If you need someone from our office to call you, please press 1 and your call will be returned tomorrow morning. Thank you, we appreciate your business and we will see you tomorrow.

To avoid any confusion with our message content, we call Monday’s route customers on Sunday evening.

There is a report that we print every morning that will indicate if anyone would like a call back. Once the reminder calls were up and running, the bad delivery testimonials on Net Promoter turned into positive reviews. The complaints about never knowing when the next delivery was scheduled stopped and more reviews about how much the customers like their route salesman started.

A couple more recent Net Promoter delivery quotes:

The delivery guys are absolutely fantastic and they do exactly what we ask them to do.

Timely delivery, excellent service, and they are always pleasant.

PhoneTree is now another member of our office staff. It has its own computer, telephone, and job duties. Best of all, they never call in sick! The program did not take long to pay for itself by significantly reducing the number of stops where no product was delivered and return trips to carry salt or water into the customer’s home. The automated system is also being utilized to call on past due accounts that are 60 days or more every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The next step is to have PhoneTree call filter changes and annual maintenance reminders for Privilege Plan customers. The goal is to utilize PhoneTree throughout the day, every single day. The amount of reduced complaints from unhappy customers and money saved by improving route efficiency more than justified the startup costs.

Update from Justin: April 2016

PhoneTree completely eliminated our Customer Service Representatives or Route Sales People taking 20-30 minutes per day to call all of their stops the day before. And, the added revenue from filter change reminders, efficiencies in routes, and reminder calls on past due accounts, pays for the PhoneTree service and equipment over and over again. PhoneTree adds another office person to your team that can generate revenue for about $34/month (the cost of the phone line).

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