The contact center plays a vital role within a healthcare organization. Its efficient operation is crucial for delivering exceptional customer-centric services and meeting patient needs.
A poorly performing contact center can result in patient dissatisfaction and potential loss to competitor healthcare facilities.
Therefore, understanding and implementing the healthcare contact center best practices is really important. Fortunately, we have compiled a comprehensive list of the top practices that can help your organization stand out from the rest.
Contact center performance can get better by making simple policy changes. Let's have a look at them:
The purpose of a contact center is communication with customers or patients. If there is only one channel or way to get in touch with a representative/agent, then most people will feel frustrated. Furthermore, the average response time is also more in single-channel support.
Many reputable healthcare organizations, such as Mayo Clinic, recognize the importance of omnichannel support. They prioritize patient satisfaction by offering diverse communication channels, reflecting industry standards and best practices.
If your competitors offer omnichannel support while you do not, it is highly likely that you will lose patients.
As a company that offers multilingual customer support services, we firmly believe that this is an important aspect, particularly in the healthcare industry.
People with all kinds of backgrounds need healthcare facilities. Chances are the people of different cultures don't know English. Therefore, you should offer multi-lingual support too.
Most healthcare facilities prefer the Spanish language in addition to English. You should also have French, German, Mandarin, and Arabic-speaking representatives/agents to stand out from the rest.
Furthermore, if there is a website or app for your healthcare facility, add the "Change language" option. It will make non-English speakers comfortable, and they can get in touch without hesitation.
The modern world has provided us with efficient software solutions that greatly assist in managing our tasks. One such is CRM, which businesses/organizations use to offer customer-centric services.
Some of the best CRM benefits for healthcare organizations are:
With CRM, staff members can automate tasks. With a few clicks, it can make appointments, re-schedule visits, etc. It can also give reminders about specific events/days.
So, there is no need to open every folder, write a note, set the alarm on your mobile, etc., if the system is integrated with a high-quality CRM.
An agent can also store a patient's important data, like medical history, previous appointment dates, missed appointments, prescriptions, preferences, etc., with CRM. It will help the doctors/staff make informed decisions and offer better treatment services.
Moreover, CRM can also be integrated with billings, which will help members know how much a patient has been charged and whether there are any remaining dues.
CRM does extra work like saving data, setting reminders, etc. So, your staff's workload will get lightened, which will keep them fresh and stress-free.
They can then spend more time making in-person communication.
CRM tools comply with the health industry's protocols, too. They have a strong privacy system that does not allow hackers or unauthorized individuals to access patients' personal data.
They also encrypt the data, which means nobody can read the sensitive information unless they enter the correct password.
That is why experts even encourage health organizations to incorporate CRMs to improve the security system.
Organizations can get help from CRM for campaigns about healthcare facilities. It can provide critical data that they can use to manage the advertisements. This will win the trust of the new patients.
So, install a CRM of any company and improve the efficiency of the whole setup.
Contact center staff should demonstrate compassion towards patients and exhibit patience when listening to their problems, confusion, and queries, without displaying rudeness.
The choice of words and tone used by the staff is equally important.
For example, if no appointment is available, and a patient calls to make one, an agent should reply with, “The next available date is next Monday,” instead of saying, “Doctor's appointment is full.” The caller will most likely accept next Monday's offer.
In addition, representatives should also go one step ahead and always try to make the patient feel more optimistic. Just a few kind words at the end of the call should be enough.
Remember - A patient will most likely go to competitor healthcare if your staff does not behave well.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the manager/assigned person to make sure the staff treats everyone with respect and professionalism.
The composition of your team plays a crucial role in delivering exceptional patient experiences. Hiring experienced professionals who possess excellent soft skills is essential. However, if you decide to hire newcomers or interns, it becomes imperative to prioritize their training.
The training program should encompass a range of essential skills, including proper pronunciation of names, handling challenging callers, delivering difficult news, and more. Additionally, cultural sensitivity training should be incorporated to ensure staff members are well-versed in avoiding potentially offensive topics during conversations.
In addition, healthcare staff should also know about the industry's protocols and what will happen if they breach them.
The training program will help the staff to provide better services, which will ultimately improve the image of the health organization.
It is better to divide the staff on their expertise. Make sections like cardiology, radiology, etc., and give each department to the person who knows all about the respective field.
It is because such a staff member can handle the conversations better, which will make patients happy and satisfied.
Also, social media categorizing is recommended to improve efficiency. For example, assign one person to respond to emails, one person to reply on WhatsApp, etc.
The contact center is mainly all about managing the calls. Therefore, access to smart routing systems is one of the best practices/decisions a health organization can make.
With them, calls can get automatically transferred to departments with just a single press.
Moreover, you can also integrate the routing system with CRM. It will help agents get access to the patients history when they answer the calls. They will then be able to provide the best insights and services this way.
Automated chatbots developed with Natural Language Processing also help contact centers deliver the best assistance.
A chatbot can respond to the patients' common questions straight away, without making them wait. As a result, it will save time for the representatives, which they can spend on answering emails and other work-related things.
Moreover, NLP chatbots can even record calls and make a transcript of the whole conversation. Plus, the advanced ones also give a sentimental analysis report on the tone. This will help the manager to assess the calls and monitor the agent's performance.
Most people usually search for the healthcare facility online. Therefore, adding an FAQ section on the contact center page is better. It should include the most asked queries and their precise answers. This will reduce the number of calls and messages a contact center gets.
Additionally, implementing an FAQ section demonstrates professionalism, especially since many healthcare organizations do not widely adopt this practice. So, get a head start and add it on the official website/app.
Another best practice is getting feedback. At the end of a call or chat, the representative can ask a few questions about whether it was productive communication or not.
If the patient chatted online, then a representative can send a feedback link (with all the questions).
A manager can then read the response and monitor the performance of the representative.
The healthcare industry must adhere to HIPAA protocols to maintain patient confidentiality. It is crucial for healthcare contact centers to comply with these regulations to avoid legal penalties and protect their reputation.
Furthermore, allegations of disobeying HIPAA can ruin the image. No patient wants to visit such a health facility that has been accused of malpractices and data theft.
That is why every staff member of a contact center should know about the rules and regulations.
Here are some key points to consider:
By following these practices, healthcare contact centers can uphold patient confidentiality, maintain compliance with HIPAA regulations, and protect their reputation in the industry.
Monitoring performance regularly is the last and perhaps the most important practice. It is because the success of the other 11 points (and eventually your health organization) depends on analyzing different metrics.
Ultimately, this contributes to the improvement of services, resulting in increased patient satisfaction.
Consider these metrics when you assess the performance:
A healthcare facility receives a high volume of calls, resulting in some callers being placed on hold. It is important to monitor the amount of time callers spend on hold. If it is more than two to three minutes, it is an indication that you need more lines and staff.
Additionally, it is crucial to assess the average response time for emails and live chat. A service is considered best when the potential or current patient does not have to wait for long to get a reply.
The abandonment rate is another significant factor to evaluate. Determine how many patients left the facility and sought services elsewhere before completion. Additionally, track the number of missed appointments. This information provides insight into the quality of services provided.
A staff member can also contact such patients and inquire about their absence. The feedback will also prove to be beneficial for future policies.
Understanding the duration of patient calls contributes to improving services. Longer calls are not appreciated because of new incoming calls. A representative should resolve the patient's query quickly and efficiently.
You can know about the average call time by calculating the total minutes with the number of calls. For example, if agents spend 100 hours on call and the total number of calls is 500, the average time per call is 12 minutes.
Calculate the average call time at the end of every month and discuss the results with the call agents if they are not satisfactory.
Recordings of contact center calls are invaluable for service enhancement. Assign someone within the healthcare organization to listen to these recordings and evaluate staff professionalism. Larger companies often incorporate this evaluation into monthly or annual reports.
When reviewing recorded calls, pay attention to the following aspects:
So, these are the main metrics to consider when analyzing the services.
That's all about the 12 best care practices health organizations should follow to improve contact center performance. Try to incorporate all of them into the company's future program/policies. You will notice a difference in feedback shortly.
Healthcare organizations should continuously strive to improve the services provided by their contact centers. However, making the wrong decisions can impact a patient's experience.
This article discussed the 12 best healthcare contact center practices in detail. These are omnichannel support, multi-language features, CRM, NLP, feedback, and many more!
For expert assistance in implementing these best practices and providing exceptional healthcare contact center services, turn to Simply Contact. Our team is dedicated to delivering the highest quality support. Contact us today to discover how we can help you elevate your contact center operations to new heights.
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