By Brian Cooper, Sr. Account Executive, West Corporation
You feel it in your bones – your organization could benefit from a modern contact center that would optimize the patient experience, create additional call capacity as volume grows, and free up front desk staff to more effectively engage with their patients. But the process can seem daunting, especially if you don’t know where to begin. The good news is that wherever you are on the journey towards optimizing the efficiency of your contact center, even small changes can make a big difference. Whether your organization is crawling at a snail’s pace or ready to run, there are steps you can take leveraging technology now to move towards a cutting edge contact center.
So what is your contact center’s maturity level? See which description best fits your organization:
Crawl: Patients call any number they can find (sometimes there are hundreds or even thousands of numbers they can choose from). At a minimum, they are immediately greeted with a consistent voice that effectively represents your brand and helps quickly determine the reason for their call, and effortlessly gets them directly to the best available resource within your health system. For example, an appointment call would be routed directly to “Connie” at the front desk of “Dr. Jones’” office, a referral call would go to the appropriate specialty or clinic scheduling resource, a billing call would go straight to a billing specialist, and a call for someone in the hospital would go directly to that person or department.
Walk: Patients’ calls are handled the same way they would in the “crawl” scenario, but if they were scheduling calls, they would then be routed to an automated centralized scheduling system. Within this application, they are asked for two simple pieces of information to easily and effectively verify their identity. Patients can then quickly self-serve to confirm or cancel appointments using a conversational automated system that is fully integrated with the EMR system(s). They can also pay their bills, get directions, and get information on the status of their prescription – to name a few options. More complex calls are either forwarded directly to Connie within centralized scheduling or to Connie at Dr. Jones’ office. In either case, Connie would say, “Hello Bill, I see you are calling about your appointment on Tuesday at 2 p.m., how can I help you?”
Run: Patients’ calls are received in the same way they would in the “crawl” and “walk” scenarios. Once authenticated, patients are provided with an option to schedule an appointment end-to-end by a centralized, automated scheduling system. The automated system does this by tapping into the same self-service scheduling templates being used by live agents, the web site, the portal, or a mobile application – depending on which of these options are currently available. In addition, the self-service system can identify patient interactions via other channels, and leverage that intelligence for a truly connected, omni-channel patient experience. To help drive mobile adoption, the system can also detect patients calling from mobile phones and offer reminders, appointment details, and directions via text. Once opted in to the text channel, patients can be proactively contacted via text or via the channel they most prefer based on other known communication preferences.
Whether you are crawling, walking, or running, once you know where you are in your modernization journey, it’s easier to determine the next step. Check out next week’s blog to learn the five key characteristics of a modernized healthcare contact center and how you can start modernizing yours.
Calculate your Contact Center Maturity Score: