By Michael Dozier
According to Statista, the percentage of businesses worldwide using a call center in the Americas is 66 percent. However, according to the Global Contact Center satisfaction index, the level of caller satisfaction dropped five points from 2010 to 2018. Medical call centers are now looking for ways to improve patient experience, while minimizing risk. The goal of a call center typically includes:
- Increasing patient satisfaction
- Reducing readmission
- Improving patient safety
- Reducing missed appointments
- Increasing patient retention
- Increasing patient referrals
- Resolving complaints and disputes
- Increasing patient lifetime value
In general, tailor the medical call center to increasing the satisfaction of the individual patient and not just the efficiency of the call. In addition to patient satisfaction, there is an overall feeling that many call centers focus too much on efficiency when they need to focus on effectiveness.
Here are seven ways you can minimize risk in a medical call center.
1. Call Center Etiquette Matters
The need for proper etiquette is essential. This includes how agents answer calls, how they treat patients, and how well they address issues and questions.
2. Hire the Right People
Hiring experienced call center agents is critical to the success of any medical call center, as this will significantly reduce the likelihood for agent turnover as well as the costs incurred in training. When you hire the right people, agents will be able to achieve first call resolution, resolve disputes quickly and effectively, assure quality and security on every call, and reduce wait times.
3. Use the Right Technology
The technology that both your agents and patients use is important. From an agent perspective, having the right technology includes agent desktops, call monitoring, queue callback, intelligent dialers, and CRM integration with screen pops. From the patient perspective, having the right technology includes various ways the patient can easily interact such as email, SMS, video chat, tweets, and Facebook posts.
4. Measure Success with Call Center Metrics
Measuring quantitative performance such as call quality, first call resolution, patient satisfaction, average speed of answer, abandonment rate, and wait time are some of the ways medical call centers can have a visible eye on the success of their operation.
5. Reward and Motivate Agents
How agents deal with patients is in direct proportion to how well they are dealt with in their own company. Rewarding and motivating agents can go a long way toward producing a pleasant experience for the caller. This also includes empowering agents so they feel confident in their ability to do the job.
6. Ensure Agents Adhere to Regulations
Every organization has their own regulations, and medical call centers are no different. It’s vitally important that agents are well informed and follow the rules outlined by the call center. The medical call center needs to put in place proper measures to ensure those expectations have been communicated and understood by the agents. Proper training is the key.
7. Evaluate Agents
A method for evaluating agents is important to any medical call center, as it keeps the organization up to date with what is going on with each employee. Depending on the organization, having daily meetings with agents can help reduce potential risks that can take place on live calls.
The medical call center is a crucial component within healthcare to improve the patient experience while reducing risks. Ultimately the decision is yours as to how you go about minimizing risks in your call center. The key is creating a positive experience for the patient.
Michael Dozier is the president and CEO of Pulsar360, Inc., a leading provider of SIP services and disaster recovery solutions for call centers.