Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Automated Outbound Finds a Home in More Industries

November 14, 2007

If you've had a doctor's appointment recently, or if you've had a prescription waiting for you at a major pharmacy chain, you may have noticed something: an automated voice on the other end of the phone.

Calls to remind patients of appointments or customers of meetings -- or frazzled parents that Little Billy's prescription has been waiting for five days at the pharmacy -- used to fall into the laps of unenviable receptionists, call center agents, office assistants or pharmacy counter workers. More often than not, the party being called was not available, so the aforementioned unlucky office worker had to wait for voice mail or answering machines to kick in.

Outbound automated calling has really found a home in many industries today, not only healthcare. By automating the process, companies need no longer take up valuable employee time making rote phone calls. Additionally, a certain amount of interaction can be added to the process if the party being called has a question or needs to make a change to an appointment or meeting.

TimeTrade Systems, which provides self-service appointment scheduling, today announced a noteworthy expansion of its customer base by securing new wins in retail, healthcare, education and government. New customer organizations include:

--Retail – Ritz Camera Proex Portraits, Cleveland Golf, and Toyota of Colchester
--Higher Education – Mayo Medical School, Loyola Marymount, the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the University of Toronto
--Healthcare – DSI Holding Company
--Government – Greater Toronto Airports Authority

New customers’ applications for TimeTrade’s Web-based solution include scheduling time for customer service, admissions interviews, IT upgrades and security credentialing. TimeTrade users schedule from hundreds to several thousand appointments per month — and in many cases, per week.

“With 21 portrait studios in the Twin Cities area, we literally take thousands of photos every year, either in the studio or on location,” said Bryan Engblom, general manager, Portrait Studios, Ritz Camera Proex Portraits. “Our goal is to make every photo experience for our customers the best possible and setting up the appointment is the first step.

“Whether through our store locations or, during the holidays, through a call center, TimeTrade has enabled us to schedule photographers, equipment and facilities seamlessly, while capturing valuable information on the customer needs. I’m able to view utilization of resources across our store locations weekly to optimize our capabilities and we’re able to confirm the appointments in email with tips on how to improve the portrait before our customers come in – all through TimeTrade. We view TimeTrade as an asset in our customer commitment to be the portrait studio of choice.”

TimeTrade can offer a strategic and competitive advantage for organizations striving to improve customer relationship management or drive internal scheduling efficiencies. TimeTrade’s hosted SaaS (software-as-a-service) system handles millions of appointments a year for enterprises large and small, without requiring that they install or maintain any software themselves.

A recent survey of TimeTrade customers indicated that they have experienced the following benefits:

--88 percent reported happier and more loyal customers;
--85 percent achieved better staff accountability and use of resources;
--79 percent enabled 24x7 self-service scheduling for the first time;
--77 percent increased revenues; and
--75 percent reduced costs and administrative overhead.

“Our rapid growth is fueled by the simple fact that our customers, for the first time, are able to truly transform appointment scheduling into a key component of their business efforts and their drive to improve the customer experience,” said Ed Mallen, president and CEO of TimeTrade Systems. “Rather than minimizing that first very important interaction with a customer, we’ve enabled businesses to maximize it by capturing valuable information, leveraging the information for future sales opportunities, branding their services in the scheduling process and tracking the utilization of resources and effectiveness of locations. For organizations, such as government agencies that schedule millions of credentialing appointments a year, TimeTrade has saved hundreds of hours of time, reduced administrative costs and eliminated long wait lines. We look forward to completing a record year in 2007 and to continuing our growth in 2008.”

For more information about TimeTrade, visit