Today’s healthcare customers have the ability and the tools to shop around for the best possible value, care, and experience.
According to Gallup, in order to thrive in this type of environment, health systems need to build and maintain patient trust, loyalty, and engagement over time. An excellent tool for this is a proactive and strategic call center.
A proactive and strategic call center – also referred to as an engagement center – integrates with data from a healthcare CRM to provide call center representatives with additional information about the caller, such as health history and previous engagement.
Healthcare CRMs weave together many different sources of data – including demographics, psychographics, social, behavioral, clinical, financial, website, call center, and provider credentialing – to provide a 360-degree view into consumer and patient preferences, habits and activities. With this information available, call center representatives can create comprehensive caller profiles, giving them the knowledge necessary to assist customers throughout their journeys within the health system.
Engagement centers fulfill many functions, including answering caller questions, registering people for classes and events, logging complaints and compliments, handling physician referrals, scheduling clinical appointments, and providing additional educational resources. Ideally, a proactive call center can handle several of these use cases in a single call. In order for this type of call center to be functional and successful, call center agents are required to have a more extensive skill set than traditional call center representatives.
Through these types of interactions, proactive call centers play an integral role in health systems’ acquisition and retention of customers and patients. Let’s take a look at how:
Create a Holistic Customer Experience
For a proactive call center focusing on new patient acquisition, the CRM is the hub because it enables the 360-degree view of customers the call center representative needs to create a unified experience for customers.
When a customer calls into a healthcare call center, they are typically responding to a not-so-personalized messaging like direct mail. With the help of the data from a CRM, the call center representative is able to “know” the caller and offer a personalized experience. For example, the representative sees, via CRM data, that the caller just moved into the area, has children in the household, makes an estimated income between $75,000 and $100,000 per year, and has already received a new mover campaign mailer. This information provides appropriate talking points to the proactive call center representative so they can not only assist the caller with their current query, but also create additional engagement opportunities.
It is also important to note that call center-generated acquisition efforts are not always reactive; many acquisition efforts can be proactive and automated. This engagement works best when it is coordinated with other touch points. This may mean sending communication at specific times, through selected channels, and to recipients identified through propensity modeling. These types of coordinated, automated activities make patient acquisition easier and less expensive.
Develop Programs to Engage Patients Long-Term
Long-term patient engagement is essential if a health system wants to retain patients, because it helps increase loyalty and healthcare revenue. For health systems, it is extremely expensive when customers miss their clinical appointments. Therefore, efforts need to be made to prevent this kind of clinical conversion loss. A proactive call center is a great tool for this type of loss prevention; outbound text messages, emails, and phone calls with appointment reminders help reduce the number of missed appointments. If a customer still misses their clinical appointment, proactive call centers can leverage automation to get customers rescheduled using their preferred communication mediums.
Proactive call centers can also be used for important post-clinical follow up like test results, treatment program suggestions, and self-help tips in line with their recent clinical appointment. Post-clinical follow up has also been shown to increase long-term health outcomes; texting patients can increase medication adherence for chronic disease patients by 17.8 percent. Post-clinical outreach is strategic engagement marketing that also provides education and care. As a result, the patient understands that the health system values them, their loyalty, and their ongoing health. With access to CRM data, call center agents can engage patients with relevant messaging and through preferred channels over the long term.
Proactive Call Center Case Study
A large health system based in California used to have a traditional call center. After implementing a CRM and proactive call center solution, this organization has seen a major transformation. Let’s take a closer look at how this health system benefits from a proactive call center that handles marketing campaign responses:
This health system implemented a CRM and a call center solution to capitalize on every customer interaction to build deeper, more personalized relationships with their prospects and existing customers. Their CRM tracks all consumer and patient interactions and informs communication efforts according to patient preferences about channel, frequency, and relevancy. Through the integration, Marketing Call Center representatives can see information about callers that includes online activity with the health system, campaign and event activity, and encounter information such as their first visit to the health system.
After CRM and call center implementation, the health system has seen high satisfaction from patients. Patients feel like they have a “one stop shop” when calling the organization’s call center. With the representatives knowing more about each customer – such as an event the caller attended last month or when their last clinical visit was – they can have a more engaging conversation with the caller. The health system reports that callers that are happy with the service and appreciate that the representatives know the callers when they call.
Proactive call centers help their health systems grow patient loyalty, patient experience and revenue. In fact, they have been attributed an ROI ratio of 3:1 because of their ability to build brand loyalty. Proactive call centers also allow for accurate appropriation of marketing ROI, because CRM data shows which marketing effort resulted in a customer call. Thus, healthcare marketers can determine which outreaches are leading to conversions and which are not, and marketing funds can then be allocated to the efforts that are most effective.
By providing excellent service and encouraging engagement, proactive call centers increase both customer acquisition and patient retention over the long-term, resulting in economic growth for their health systems.