The healthcare industry has seen a major overhaul in its operations since the coronavirus pandemic.
People across age groups have become more conscious about their well-being and are now increasingly seeking guidance from doctors, offline and online.
This is an interesting time for medical organizations as they can live through a time of better customer engagement and experience.
But it’s not going to be a bed of roses as a healthcare call center differs from an average call center on numerous counts.
Nonetheless, the focus should be on making operational policies more patient-centric; the sole method being the improvement in call center management.
Today’s article discusses all the crucial details about leveraging healthcare call centers to enhance patient satisfaction. We cover-
- How A Healthcare Call Center Differs From Other Call Centers
- What Does a Modern Day Medical Call Center Look Like?
- Challenges for Pharma Call Centers in Call Center Management
- Optimum Measures Pharma Call Centers Should Take for Call Center Management
How A Healthcare Call Center Differs From Other Call Centers
The first step toward effective call center management is the knowledge that healthcare contact centers come with their own sets of challenges.
These are entirely different from any other contact center! For starters, a medical call center has to comply with strict rules and regulations when handling patient data.
Medical history is an intimate detail of a person whose compromise can have dire consequences. Hence medical organizations have a much larger responsibility on their shoulders when it comes to workforce management in a call center.
Further, in a healthcare call center setting, every second is crucial as a patient can require assistance at any instant. Thus the call volume is also comparatively higher compared to a regular sales call center.
Additionally, healthcare call center agents need to show a high level of proactiveness to act as an efficient link between doctors and their patients.
Patients often obtain information about their test results, diagnosis reports etc. by contacting healthcare call center agents. Thus they need to show a higher level of patience and approach a patient’s grievance with a sense of compassion.
What Does a Modern Day Medical Call Center Look Like?
The entire procedures of call center management had changed significantly with the introduction of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing (NLP).
Most call centers have a robust scaling feature that helps upgrade all your tools and operations as and when your organization grows.
These firms are also capable of enhanced call center management. Customer data is backed to the cloud, thus ensuring a high level of security. A cloud-based call center also helps organizations save on installation and maintenance costs.
Healthcare call center management systems make use of a smart call routing technique. This way a patient’s call is forwarded to an agent most capable of resolving their query.
Modern-day healthcare call centers help you develop an omnichannel presence. Your customers can reach out to you through mail, call, SMS, web conferencing etc.
Challenges for Healthcare Call Centers in Call Center Management
As per a recent metric, the average wait time in a medical call center can shoot up to 30 seconds. From a patient’s point of view, this is a nightmare as such long wait times can become a matter of life and death.
For a second, put yourself in your patient’s shoes and realize how even a single instance of a bad experience can put you off.
More importantly, a patient cutting the call before an agent talks to them results in one less patient being provided with appropriate medical care.
There is no doubt that healthcare call centers need to tweak their operational processes. The first step to achieving this is to identify major challenges. We go over some of the prominent ones-
- Not enough number of agents
One of the prominent troubles to call center management is not having enough workforce. Call center reps can leave your firm for numerous causes such as job dissatisfaction, lack of a progressive work environment etc.
Heathcare call center managers can look to mitigate this by investing in regular training of their agents. They can opt for AI-powered platforms for monitoring the performance of their employees in every customer interaction.
- Lack of care for call center agents’ health
Since medical call centers tackle a high call volume, agents have to spend long hours sitting. This can have a serious impact on their health.
Sadly, call center agents’ health is a topic not often discussed in business circles. If staying inactive for close to 10 hours was not enough, agents also have to face additional stress due to some unruly patients.
Also, hearing about serious medical issues every day can be pretty unnerving!!
The simple solution to this problem is to motivate agents to take regular breaks to mobilize their bodies. Managers should also take care that agents can access any personal or professional help they might need for their well-being.
- Improper analysis of call center management indicators
A good patient experience is quite different from a good customer experience. Most metrics in a healthcare call center are aligned to track the agent’s performance, thus leaving little room for understanding patient expectations.
For example, in an eCommerce call center, 98% of customer calls are answered within 20 seconds. For a healthcare call center, the percentage drastically falls to a dismal 80%.
This is a clear indication that, somewhere, your efforts for robust call center management are falling short. Understand that patients, by default, can’t wait too long for your agents to come up with an exact solution.
Hence response speed is an important metric. With speed, you also need to ensure that the legitimacy of the response is not compromised. Hence quality service is equally essential.
As managers, you can crush this problem by hiring modern-day call monitoring software that helps you oversee all aspects of an agent-patient interaction.
Optimum Measures Healthcare Call Centers Should Take for Call Center Management
- Chart your own journey
Healthcare call centers should define their own goals and outcomes that they want to achieve with respect to patient satisfaction and employee productivity.
For example, most of your competitors might be upgrading to new call center software. But you realize that you can upgrade only after a few months.
So the wise thing would be to focus on your business goals and, at the same time, identify other areas that might need your immediate attention.
- Don’t overhaul operations in one go
If your company decides that cloud is the way to go, then the migration can begin in a phased manner. By onboarding a few processes to the cloud first, you can get a know-how of the hits and misses.
You can then assimilate this knowledge to remove errors and make your cloud journey as smooth as possible.
- Bifurcate your agents
One of the major mistakes you can make while handling call center management is not separating agents into different categories for handling patient calls.
A group of agents can cater to new patients. Or a group of agents can specially attend to patient grievances coming from the gynecology department. Different groups can be formulated to cater to calls from different departments.
The proper way of bifurcating agents is to understand the field in which they are most comfortable. Managers can only make this decision after analyzing their performance on all inbound and outbound calls.
For this, managers can count on platforms like Convin that uses machine learning, AI and natural language processing to identify phrases and sentences that cause customers to develop a negative or positive impression of your business.
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