Improving the Customer Journey: Interactions with Practitioners
By Licia Wolf
Healthcare company customer satisfaction ratings have consistently been on the bottom of the scale. Even though research shows that the contact center can be a significant competitive differentiator, hospitals have prioritized other areas such as technology, regulations, scheduling, and mobile staffs. As a result, the contact center has lacked focus and investment.
Today’s patients are communicating through several channels such as cell phone, text, website, or email with an expectation of efficiency, and they rely on the contact center to relay critical information to and from their provider. Unfortunately, many hospital contact centers deliver less than satisfactory service. Often contact is restricted to phone calls during business hours, and the limited service can be inadequate and disappointing.
Some facilities are transforming their contact centers into customer engagement centers to provide a more positive customer journey. The new strategy includes flexible communication channels, adopting a relational and proactive approach, training agents for high-quality customer engagement, unified internal communications, and even helping practitioners to improve communication.
To deliver an excellent customer experience it is essential to create strategic internal communications and infrastructure. A comprehensive CRM that integrates with unified communications is the core of the system. Along with this centralized integrated information hub, the right processes can achieve desired results. An effective IVR system will help route callers to the right person in less time, striving to answer 80% of calls within 30 seconds, connecting with text, email, and video, and recording calls for quality assurance are some of the ways to improve contact center scores and patient satisfaction.
Internal unified communications allow agents to communicate effectively and quickly with the various practitioners and services in the organization. The use of mobile devices, secure wireless networks, and special apps can help deliver information to the right person with little delay. Even with these capabilities, patient experience can suffer if communications with the practitioner breaks down. A contact center may have 30 agents that cover 10 practices and 55 doctors. The agents in the contact center may not be familiar with each facility or understand their operations, which can lead to transfers to the wrong person, no one answering, or sub-standard caller treatment by practitioner staff.
Getting to Know Your Practitioners
To remedy this issue, some contact centers have implemented a practitioner visitation program. During low call volume periods, contact center staff visits are scheduled to each office or facility for a few hours. Contact center staff meet practitioner staff face-to-face and learn about the work flow and roles of individuals. A few agents may go at a time, but eventually everyone in the call center participates. This allows both agents and practitioners to better understand each other’s organizations and make adjustments that benefit the patients. If physicians or nurses push back at making changes, these can visits help them to understand the value of improving patient experience.
With the tools of an integrated communication infrastructure and a relational, proactive approach to patients, hospitals can greatly improve their patients’ journeys and become the facility of choice.
HigherGround provides call recording and data capture for healthcare contact centers and other applications.
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 rest of 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.