Connie Feick, Communications Manager for a large managed vision care company has a big job. Her company is the fastest growing vision plan in the United States, and it’s Connie’s job to keep network providers informed, engaged, and satisfied.
Since 2010, Connie has been working to make provider relations more simple and modern. She worked to create a web-based information portal and started an email newsletter to help providers and practice staff stay informed. But after many years of growth, Connie says the newsletter engagement was beginning to stagnate, “So we grew, grew, grew, and then for the last two years, it was just flattening out. Those people who are engaged, they are engaged and doing great, but how do I reach these other people that aren’t paying attention? That’s where my focus really was turning.”
After seeing Cerkl’s CEO speak at the IABC World Conference, Connie decided to learn more about what Cerkl could do for her organization. “For me, the entire concept was so different,” Connie remarked. “I think the fact that they have said all along they want to make communicators’ jobs easier. There aren’t a lot of people out there who say that.”
A demo revealed that Cerkl could automate and personalize the provider newsletter, a process that Connie says was taking her three or four hours every two weeks. “In the past, I was taking all of our content that I would post on the website, I would then have to manually put it into an email template every two weeks to generate a newsletter.” After she plugged her content into the template, she had to worry about missing characters, broken links, double sends, bad data, and a host of other logistical nightmares.
Time Saving Integrations
Connie was interested in the automation and personalization Cerkl offered but was worried that adding another system would make things complicated. The Cerkl tech team built a custom integration between her provider website and their existing CRM to let all the data, subscribers, and stories flow freely through the systems. Connie said she was impressed. “My data is very complex and I’m pretty sure it was probably one of the most complex if not the most complex you guys have ever seen. You guys were able to say, ‘you know what we’re going to make this work in the way you need it to.’ You guys always have my back.”
Automated Personalization Begins
With all the systems singing the same tune, Cerkl’s automated personalization could begin to work its magic. Cerkl selects the most engaging and necessary content for each subscriber and creates an automatically personalized email message.
The messages are beautiful, personalized for each audience member, and mobile-ready. Connie says providers took to the new platform right away. “They’re opening, they’re clicking, they’re reading what they need to read when we need them to read it. It’s a win-win for all of us, really.” For Connie, Cerkl has been a huge time saver, “So this process has automated everything and then I have the additional bonus of the personalization. It takes me no time because Cerkl does it all for me.”
Like a lot of communicators, tying an ROI to her work proved to be laborious. After battling the email beast to get her message out, she still had to deal with bounces and importing data across systems. Not anymore. Connie says Cerkl has removed some major data barriers, “It’s all integrated with my portal that I was already using. So now I don’t have to touch data because I don’t like touching data.” With Cerkl, Connie says her weekly report is a breeze, “I just change the dates, run it, and it’s there.”
From Tactics to Strategy
With Cerkl sending a personalized newsletter to her audience automatically, Connie has been able to turn her attention to more strategic tasks that enhance the provider process. She’s refreshing the provider website, creating new training modules, and heavily editing old communication to make it more interactive and exciting. “Cerkl has definitely allowed me to focus on those a lot more because I know in the background my newsletter is going out and I don’t have to set anything up and it’s just magically happening,“ Connie said.
“It’s Like Being a Part of a Family”
As a team of one, Connie has collaborated with a lot of vendors but says the relationship she enjoys with Cerkl and our staff is something special, “For me, it’s been like being a part of a family, and I know that sounds a little cheesy. I feel like I can turn to you guys and you’re gonna help me solve my business challenge.” When it comes to support, Connie says the Cerkl team is always available, “I’ve always gotten a resolution, it’s always been super fast, and there’s great follow-through.”
Making the Case
Connie knows how tough it can be to convince the higher-ups that a new software can save time and move the needle on engagement. Connie suggests evaluating the real cost of your communications efforts, “If you’re trying to make a business case, really look at what you’re spending, like to do what you’re doing today, considering both your time as well as any additional agency or even if it’s an internal creative resource that you’re using because you can make a business case very easily.”
Then Connie suggests looking at your objectives, big and small to see if Cerkl would help, “For me, Cerkl was a great solution to those specific objectives and challenges. I think they are challenges that all communicators have. We’re trying to cut through the clutter, we’re trying to make our jobs easier because we’re being asked to do more with less, and we’re trying to approach people in the way they want to be approached. Cerkl allows you to do that with no effort at all. For me, it’s been worth every penny and was a no-brainer.”