The Healthcare Contact Center: Creating a Positive Patient Experience
Updated: Jun 28, 2019
By Licia Wolf
Today’s patients and customers demand a better experience from their healthcare providers, and providers can equally benefit by keeping them happy. With high cost of care and numerous providers to choose from, customers and patients know they can take their business elsewhere. Customer experience can be improved in a variety of ways, including upgraded hospital rooms, state-of-the-art websites, and pleasing dining areas. Possibly even more important for the customer experience is the contact center, which handles 68% of customer communications.
Customer-Focused Engagement Center
Healthcare contact centers are shifting their focus, offering more value to their customers and patients. That value revolves around offering personalized engagement that is based on the customers’ history, preferences, and needs. This allows the most appropriate treatment offerings and highest level of customer experience. This type of value-add contact center is now called a customer engagement center.
There are several factors to consider when crafting the infrastructure of a successful customer engagement center. Customer issues that should be eliminated are:
Difficulty finding the right phone number
Getting put on hold and transferred several times, then must repeat personal information
Too much time spent resolving the issue, sometimes with several calls and call-backs. In a West Survey, 77% of patients rated first call resolution as the best indicator of good service.
With new technologies and communication systems in use by most consumers and enterprises, customers expect no less from their healthcare providers. These capabilities will contribute to a more effective customer engagement center:
Personalized service - Customers expect the agent to know about their background and be able to provide an appropriate resolution, such as schedule an appointment with the appropriate physician, transfer to a nurse or their physician, or reschedule an existing appointment.
Resolution on the first call – Agents must be able to quickly access information about the customer or patient to provide relevant resources. This eliminates call-backs and delays.
Provide multiple channels for customers to interact within, such as online patient portals where customers can message the contact center or their physician, email, text, or chat. Many customers are more comfortable interacting via these media.
Simplify the process of reaching the right person – Customers and patients want to reach an appropriate agent quickly and expect the information they disclose will be transferred to the next agent. Employing an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) or Speech Recognition system can accomplish this, saving the customer time and frustration.
To become a comprehensive engagement center, contact centers must step up their technology. They will need to become cross-channel with unified communications that allow various departments and disciplines to communicate directly with each other.
The contact center must combine several capabilities and resources into a modernized, centralized, proactive, organization. The key to this fusion is a healthcare customer relationship management system (HCRM) that can integrate the necessary channels of communications. This type of system enables agents to quickly pull up customer records with the necessary information to enable on-the-spot customer assistance if they are on a phone call, texting, e-mailing or engaging in other messaging systems. The HCRM can also set up automatic reminders that are customized for each patient.
Even the best equipment and software can only work with competent people that know how to work it. Training agents and nurses how to best utilize the system and providing them with suitable scripts is essential to run a high-quality operation. Training should also include self-awareness of the agent’s voice sentiment, as the right words, tone, and responses will improve the overall customer experience.
HigherGround provides call recording and other data capture for healthcare contact centers and other applications. For questions about our capabilities email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About the Author - Licia Wolf is the Marketing and Communications Manager at HigherGround. She holds a Ph.D., and a professional background in electronics, internet marketing, and print/imaging technology. Click here for more information on the HigherGround team.
HigherGround, Inc. provides best-in-class, reliable data capture and interaction storage solutions that enable clients to easily retrieve critical information. Our interaction recording and incident reconstruction solutions transform data into actionable intelligence, allowing optimization of operations, enhanced performance, and cost reduction.