How Can Healthcare Improve the Call Center?
The Importance of Healthcare Call Centers
In healthcare, the call center handles the majority of customer communication. Call center interactions range from general inquiries about location and hours to more specific requests such as appointment scheduling and paying bills. However, the call center is traditionally siloed and inefficient, so these interactions are rarely personalized and valuable. In a consumer-driven healthcare landscape, it’s critical that health systems transform their call center into a strategic and proactive engagement engine to lay the foundation for a positive, lasting patient relationship.
Benefits of an Optimized Healthcare Call Center
An optimized healthcare call center takes advantage of rich customer data available within an HCRM to provide callers with personalized, proactive service that boosts engagement and satisfaction. Other marked benefits of an optimized call center include:
- Providing quick, convenient service.
- Acting as a person-to-person touchpoint for customers and patients.
- Improving efficiency by addressing multiple inquires during a single call.
- Supporting healthcare marketing initiatives around increasing patient acquisition and retention.
- Reducing clinical cancellations and increase referrals through appointment reminders and follow-ups.
- Streamlining payment and fee collection processes.
- Delivering return on investment (ROI) and extend patient lifetime value.
Common Healthcare Call Center Questions
- How can I create an optimized call center (engagement center)?
Integrating technology and training call center agents are critical for improving your healthcare call center. HCRM-enabled call centers, also known as engagement centers, give agents access to comprehensive caller profiles and other data points necessary for personalization and multi-channel engagement.
It is also critical to train healthcare call center agents properly. Agents need to be able to handle all non-clinical use cases, as well as effectively acquire, engage, up-sell, and retain patients. Train agents to focus on being proactive, such as recommending additional resources or referring to specialists. Also, it’s beneficial to provide agents with call scripts, which make it easy for agents to provide consistent messages to all callers and address their needs in approved, strategic ways. Scripts should be detailed, easy-to-read, and pre-populated with HCRM data for personalization.
- How does an engagement center improve patient engagement and satisfaction?
Healthcare customers, just like customers of every other industry, want simple, efficient, and easily-accessible service and support. Despite the rise of alternative customer service methods— live text chat, social media, email, and more— the call center is still the most popular. Why? Because a phone call is the quickest way to receive the highest-quality support. Thus, healthcare call centers with fast response times and well-trained, knowledgeable agents can help increase patient engagement and satisfaction.
Integrating demographic, psychographic, social, behavioral, clinical, and financial customer data into call centers gives agents 360-degree views of callers, enabling personalization and proactivity. Agents can provide the most individualized service when they know callers’ histories, interests, and preferences; thus, they can recommend resources, activities, and services tailored specifically to callers, increasing the likelihood of engagement. HCRM integration also facilitates multi-channel experience and engagement, since agents can reference callers’ previous web-based interactions, clinical encounters, and social media activity within the call experience.
- What are the benefits of outsourcing versus insourcing a healthcare call center?
To be successful, an optimal healthcare center needs to be integrated into your greater marketing strategy, and therefore able to support acquisition, retention, and revenue goals. If you don’t have the necessary manpower and technology to do so, outsourcing your call center— either partially or entirely— is an option. When outsourcing your call center, identify your needs, goals, and volume requirements so that you can find an outsource partner who can support you best.
Operating a healthcare call center in-house does require time, resources, and investment in technology. However, benefits of insourcing your call center include full control, reduced confidentiality, agent brand knowledge and loyalty.