When we talk to organizations about their healthcare call center, we hear about the following challenges:
- Operates in a silo: Marketing has little visibility into how the call center is contributing to lead-to-patient conversions and/or revenue. This makes marketing attribution and proving ROI difficult.
- Agents aren’t able to be proactive: A customer on the phone is an opportunity to provide value and excellent customer service, but agents don’t have the information necessary to proactively engage with customers efficiently and effectively.
- Unable to integrate with marketing campaigns: Activating the call center as an optimized channel for patient engagement means the ability to field inbound calls and incorporate targeted outbound calling initiatives.
- Disconnected patient journeys: Patient acquisition and retention is a multi-channel journey and the call center needs to be integrated as a key part of marketing initiatives.
- Lacking efficiencies – Agents are using up to 10 different applications and tools while managing a call and trying to stay focused on giving the patient an exceptional patient experience.
- Unable to show value – Call centers aren’t able to track the activities and metrics that contribute to the revenue for the health system. This results in the call center being classified as a cost center and not a revenue center.
Outside of an appointment or physical visit to a hospital, the call center is the one channel that provides a clear one on one personal connection between a hospital and a customer.
As healthcare organizations work to improve their customer experience across the board, the call center needs to be a key part of those efforts.
However, transformation of a healthcare call center takes time, money, and executive buy-in. At the heart of it, it’s about integrating the call center’s contributions into the greater marketing strategy through an HCRM-enabled engagement center solution.
To convince leadership teams of the need to transform the healthcare call center, here are four compelling benefits:
1. Centralized Platform for Customer Data
Achieving “trusted provider” status in the eyes of consumers and patients takes more effort than ever before – patients look for a superior customer experience at every stage of the patient journey. The most effective health organizations take advantage of every patient and consumer interaction – from the initial touch to actively supporting proactive health, ongoing care, and recovery. Yet, most healthcare call centers don’t have the tools necessary to deliver the robust, personalized support patients and customers now expect.
An HCRM-enabled call center centralizes all patient, consumer, and provider data, as well as logs past inquiries and call center activities, including class and event registrations, campaign inquiries, provider referrals, and appointment scheduling requests. With complete 360-degree caller profiles, agents have the data at their fingertips to deliver highly-personalized patient experiences and the communication channels their customers prefer.
2. Empowerment of Call Center Agents
Every employee is both a cost and an asset to an organization. Executives looking at the bottom line want to understand how employees – especially in the marketing department – are contributing to business objectives. An HCRM-enabled engagement center addresses this concern in two ways.
First, by using the same HCRM as other marketing initiatives, agents are empowered to act as true representatives of the organization and proactively engage with customers and patients. Instead of starting each conversation from scratch, agents build upon previous interactions and deliver personalized, efficient service.
Second, each and every call center interaction is recorded and documented in the HCRM. This gives marketing increased visibility into agent’s activity and the ability to properly attribute their contributions to conversions and revenue. With these insights, marketing can convey the true ROI of the call center to the C-suite.
3. Patient Engagement to Drive Revenue
Conveying value in each patient and consumer interaction is key to supporting patient engagement, acquisition, and retention. Developing patients for life requires engaging with the right customers, at the right time, in the right way. Integrating personalization at every level of marketing increases the likelihood of conversions.
With the right training and tools, call center agents have robust caller profiles and campaign data to guide each call, allowing them to address inquiries quickly and proactively identify opportunities for engagement.
For example, a customer calls in response to a direct mailing about knee pain and the hospital’s orthopedic center. The agent finds an orthopedic doctor near the customer’s home and schedules the appointment and sets up appointment reminders via SMS. While on the phone, she notices the customer is due for his annual physical, and offers to set up an appointment with his primary care physician for the coming month. The agent also provides information about a flu shot clinic coming up near his office.
Without visibility into the customer’s profile, the agent wouldn’t see the customer was due for another service, or connect him with information on a relevant population health initiative. On the other side, the customer is happy because he has proactively managed his healthcare needs in one simple phone call.
Additionally, outbound calling can be integrated into marketing campaigns. With the HCRM, a targeted audience list of prospects who previously expressed interest in a knee replacement could be nurtured to drive event registrations for an upcoming seminar on the topic. Another use case is agents could proactively follow up with patients after a procedure and connect them relevant services.
4. Integration into Multi-Channel Patient Journeys
An optimized healthcare call center plays a critical role in the patient journey – going beyond reacting and fielding incoming calls to being a part of the overall marketing strategy and the organization’s growth objectives.
With call center interactions detailed within the HCRM, the marketing team builds more accurate and complete customer profiles. Agents see what resources the caller has previously interacted with, allowing them to proactively answer any related queries from other channels and suggest further resources or opportunities within the health system.
In speaking directly to patients, call center agents are in a unique position to connect with patients and encourage them to engage with the healthcare organization in different ways across multiple channels (web, email, social media, direct mail, SMS, and phone).
This integration also helps develop a more complete picture of how customers are interacting with the health system. This data can be used to inform and guide other marketing efforts, such as building more targeted audiences and campaigns, as well as tailoring and personalizing messaging.
The healthcare call center has been a fixture at hospitals and health systems for years – and it’s always served as a critical touchpoint for patients and customers. But, healthcare leaders need to recognize that it can – and should – do more.
With the right technology and tools and place, the healthcare call center can be a revenue-driving force for the organization, connecting channels, and proactively contribute to the patient journey and the patient experience.