Interact with retail customers

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.--Diabco Healthcare Software Solutions has taken an existing product and given it a new twist to help HME providers increase cash sales.

For a little more than a year, the company has offered VoiceGuide-IVR. The automated phone system calls patients who regularly use medical supplies, reminding them that it’s time for a reorder and then, with the patient’s say-so, takes the order. This spring, Diabco began promoting the system to the HME industry’s growing retail sector.

“You could have it call every customer in your database to let them know that you are having a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day special,” said Diabco President Edward Kutt. “Or you could use it for a customer loyalty program: If you spend $100 with us, you get $10 free. It’s a way to get customers back into the store.”

HME retail consultant Jack Evans called it a great way to generate additional business from existing customers. One of his customers in Missouri used “robo calls” in May to help promote a grand opening. This provider called every person within 50 miles of the location (about 7,000 people).

“He fed 370 people at his BBQ,” Evans said. “I think it’s the best way to go. He out drew every open house I’ve ever been to.”

MedSage Technologies and QS/1 also offer IVR products.

John Durkee, vice president of sales for MedSage, said his product is not intended for advertising calls. However, one HME client has used it successfully to send out sales calls every six months, reminding customers who purchased compression stockings that they may need new ones, Durkee said.

According to Kutt, IVR is a classic example of providers using technology to do more with less. The VoiceGuide-IVR costs $3,000 and allows a provider to send 500 calls an hour over four phone lines. An additional four phone lines can be added for about $700.