BUSINESS: Almost Half Of UK Consumers Have Missed Public Sector Appointments Due To Communication Issues Since Start Of Pandemic, According To Research From Vonage

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By Daniel Webster, dWeb.News Publisher

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Vonage (Nasdaq: VG), a global leader in cloud communications helping businesses accelerate their digital transformation, today announced new research revealing that 44 percent of public sector service users have missed an appointment due to communication issues with the organisation. This soars to a staggering 70 percent of 18-24 year-olds.

Vonage’s independent survey of 2,000 UK adults who have contacted public sector organisations since the Covid-19 lockdown started*, revealed that more than a third (36 percent) felt extremely frustrated following their last interaction. Nearly half of those (46%) attributed this to not being able to make contact through their preferred communications channel. In fact, 27 percent of respondents reported that their favoured channel wasn’t available, despite 71 percent of those questioned stating this would have enhanced their experience.

According to the survey, 88 percent of respondents want public sector organisations to send them important messages directly, with email being the preferred channel for 43 percent, closely followed by SMS (41%). Twelve percent of 18-24 year-olds would like to be notified via Facebook Messenger, while 15 percent of 25-34 year-olds chose WhatsApp. As the younger generation gets older, these numbers will increase.

When asked about their favourite overall channel for contact from public sector organisations, respondents again chose email (33%) followed by SMS (25%). Top reasons cited for email were ‘the message is documented for reference’ and ‘I can easily respond if needed’ (both 47%). Those preferring SMS chose the channel as they ‘can be reached instantly, anywhere, any time’ (56%) and they are ‘unlikely to miss the message’ (55%).

NHS data shows that missed general practitioner (GP) appointments alone cost the NHS PS216 million a year, meaning the annual cost to the public purse of all these missed appointments across the sector is likely to be significant.

David Darmon, Vonage Vice President of Sales for EMEA, commented, “The fact that almost half of those surveyed, and almost three-quarters of 18-24-year-olds, have missed appointments due to these issues points to a growing problem in how the public sector communicates with its citizens.

“Sending out letters may have worked well enough in the past, with only 18 percent of those over 55 having missed an appointment, but preferences are changing rapidly, with our research highlighting that this age group now favour email (46%) and SMS (23%).

“We’re at the beginning of a revolution in communications as organizations around the world accelerate their digital transformation efforts to provide a better customer experience and are increasingly recognising it as a competitive advantage. The research shows that public sector organisations must be able to connect with service users anywhere in the world via their preferred communication methods. This is because there is a greater demand for exceptional customer experience.

Vonage supplies the Crown Commercial Service’s G-Cloud framework for its Messages API. It also provides Vonage Business Communications and Vonage Contact Center solutions. G-Cloud allows public sector organizations to search, assess and procure cloud services from selected suppliers. CCS helps the public sector achieve maximum commercial value in procuring common goods or services. In 2019/20, CCS helped the public sector to achieve commercial benefits worth over PS1bn, supporting world-class public services that offer the best value for taxpayers.

Vonage provides a complete communication experience. It includes unified communications, contact centres, and communications APIs that allow integration of voice, video, messaging, and verification into customer applications, products, and workflows. Vonage Messages API can be integrated with SMS, MMS, and popular social chat apps such as Viber, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Viber to allow organisations to communicate with their customers at every stage of their journey, including fulfilling their needs and providing real-time support.

Download the research report for more information.

*Research carried out by Opinion Matters, a London-based insight agency. Sample: 2,003 UK-based adults who have had reason to be in contact with public sector organisations since the Covid-19 lockdown started. Field dates: 27.05.2021-03.06.2021.

### About Vonage

Vonage, a global leader in cloud communications, helps businesses accelerate digital transformation. Vonage’s Communications Platform allows integration of Video Voice, Chat and Messaging into existing products, workflows, and systems. Vonage’s fully-programmable unified communications platform and contact center applications were built using the Vonage platform. They allow companies to transform the way they communicate and work from anywhere. This allows for great flexibility and ensures business continuity.

Vonage Holdings Corp. has its headquarters in New Jersey and offices across the United States, Europe, and Asia.

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