Case Study

Blood Systems

Blood Systems found that 66% of people responded to text message appointment reminders about their upcoming blood donation appointments.

Challenge

How do you improve donor response rates and increase appointment confirmations?

Blood Systems is one of the oldest and largest blood service providers in the US. Its nationwide network of blood centers, (United Blood Services and affiliates Blood Centers of the Pacific, Bonfils Blood Center and Inland Northwest Blood Center) gives people plenty of opportunities to donate blood. When Blood Systems started to see lower response rates from phone and email appointment reminders, they wanted to explore a more effective way to reach donors and confirm their blood donation appointments.

“As more people depend on mobile devices, we need to be at the forefront of changing trends and use whatever communication channel works best for donors,” said Carol Brugman, Marketing & Communications Specialist at Blood Systems.

Solution

Send appointment reminders by text message, making it easier for donors to confirm or reschedule their appointments

Blood Systems launched a pilot program to send out appointment reminders for scheduled blood donors using text messaging as the communication method.

A sample reminder read:

UBS: John your apt to donate blood is Wednesday at 11:30 AM. Reply YES to confirm, NO to reschedule/cancel, or STOP to quit.

If a donor responded NO, a Blood Systems staff member would send a follow-up text to reschedule the appointment. If a donor responded YES, they would be confirmed for their appointment and offered additional Blood Systems promotions – for example, a chance to win tickets to an event.

Results

Blood Systems saw a 57% increase in overall response rates and a 28% increase in appointment confirmations

Blood Systems saw a 57% increase in response rates from the donors who received text messages versus the donors who received phone calls. Donors were also 28% more likely to confirm their appointments and 80% more likely to reschedule if they couldn’t make it:

  • 66% of donors responded to text message appointment reminders, compared to 42% who responded to phone calls
  • 43.92% confirmed their appointments by text, compared to 34.39% by phone
  • 6.76% used text message to reschedule their appointment, compared to 3.76% who rescheduled by phone.

Blood Systems plans to expand the pilot program and use text messaging to do more targeted outreach – for example, around particular blood types.

“More than 60 percent of donors who were texted in the pilot responded either to confirm, cancel or reschedule the appointment to donate,” said Dustin Schodt, Director of Blood Systems’ Customer Contact Center. “We typically see a 40 percent answer rate with traditional reminder calling.”

 

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