The rise of consumerism in healthcare is driving many marketers to focus on patient experiences. With a variety of provider options available, customers want exceptional care experiences – and aren’t standing for any less.
In fact, Forrester research found that 45 percent healthcare customers are frustrated enough by poor customer service that they lost touch with the health system completely.
This shockingly large percentage shows health organizations need to prioritize patient experience in order to create superior care encounters. How do health systems prioritize patient experience? By boosting patient engagement. This idea is proven; health systems with more engaged patients see higher patient satisfaction numbers and reap other benefits like higher acquisition and retention rates and increased revenue.
A key factor in patient engagement is the call center since 75 percent of healthcare consumers communicate with brands via call centers. This channel presents countless opportunities for health systems to engage patients and create exceptional patient experiences. In this post, we will look at how healthcare CRMs and call centers integrate to increase patient engagement.
A Look Back: The Traditional Call Center
Traditional healthcare call centers without CRM integration have limited capabilities. They focus on transactional efficiency, utilize fragmented data, and don’t work to create holistic experiences for the patient. Without CRM integration, call center agents are blind to why someone is calling, including their past online journey, intent, and interests. Also, this environment produces multiple call backs to patients from different agents to follow up on separate requests.
In the past, call centers would aim to cycle through callers as quickly as possible, which leads to hurried and impersonal interactions. Additionally, traditional call center agents are unlikely to be able to answer all caller queries in a single interaction, forcing the patient to speak to multiple agents or practitioners to find the information they’re looking for.
How CRM and Call Centers Work Together to Create Engagement Centers
In the modern healthcare landscape, patients interact with health systems on a variety of platforms, including call centers, websites, social media, and patient portals. Since interactions often occur across these channels, it’s imperative to create holistic customer experiences and promote engagement using a healthcare CRM.
Healthcare CRMs weave together data from multiple sources, including consumer and patient demographics, psychographics, social, behavioral, clinical, financial, website, call center, provider credentialing, and more to acquire, engage, and retain patients. Marketers can use this data, combined with patient preferences and engagement history, to create personalized interactions that are valuable for the patient and the hospital.
CRM integration alleviates the challenges traditional call centers face. A proactive call center optimized with a healthcare CRM integration is also known as an engagement center. Engagement centers provide callers with personalized service that complements other marketing touch points. With a CRM in the mix, engagement center agents have access to caller histories and profiles in one centralized location.
In addition to drawing from a healthcare CRM, engagement centers can also be sources for CRM data. Information gathered during engagement center interactions automatically integrates into the CRM to help inform future marketing efforts. In this way, engagement centers and CRMs work together to create better patient experiences and boost engagement across many marketing channels.
CRM + Call Center = Patient Engagement
Call centers with CRM integration, or engagement centers, are hubs for patient engagement. Engagement center agents use CRM data about patient history and interests to be proactive, such as suggesting additional resources, scheduling clinical appointments, registering callers for upcoming events, and more. This way, engagement center agents promote further patient engagement, rather than simply answering the caller’s current query and signing off.
Engagement centers are also able to deliver customers with cross-channel experience and engagement – each caller’s previous web-based interactions, clinical encounters, and social media activity inform their call experience. When armed with this cross-channel data, engagement center agents are able to interact with callers on a personal level. Callers feel important, respected, and understood, leading them to engage with the health system again in future. This kind of multi-channel engagement delights patients, makes them desire further interaction, and creates a positive impression of the health system.
How This All Works Together to Boost Patient Engagement
Let’s look at what an engagement center call focused on boosting patient engagement could look like:
A caller contacts a health system’s engagement center and an engagement center agent answers the phone. The caller asks a question about her upcoming orthopedic surgery. The engagement center agent can look at CRM data to determine what her upcoming surgery is and figure out what information she already recieved via email.
Based on this data, the engagement center agent anticipates future questions this caller may have. Thus, the engagement center agent suggests an upcoming lecture on orthopedic surgery recovery that this caller may want to attend, as well as a digital pamphlet about pre-surgery best practices that could be helpful.
Delighted with the personalized service she has experienced, the caller signs up for the lecture and asks to have the pamphlet emailed. The engagement center agent then schedules her for a post-operative follow-up appointment and wishes her luck for her upcoming procedure.
The above example showcases the power of a CRM-enabled call center; the caller may have contacted the call center with a simple question, but CRM data allowed the agent to personalize her interaction and encourage future engagement with the health system.
With the shift towards consumerism in healthcare, personalized, engaging patient experiences are more important than ever. Engaged patients are central to the ongoing health of healthcare organizations since they drive lifelong patient retention. Pairing a CRM with a call center to boost patient engagement leads to tremendous ROI for health systems. An Evariant case study found that one leading health system saw a $72 million increase in revenue, as well as heightened customer acquisition and retention, after turning their focus to patient engagement.