How many options do your patients have to contact you?
While phone calls are certainly the most popular in a Healthcare setting, most businesses also offer email, SMS/Text Messaging, web chats and even social media DM’s.
These are all viable ways that consumers (a.k.a. patients in your practice) expect to be able to contact you when they have questions or need to schedule appointments. Adapting to accept communication methods beyond phone calls is one of the keys to capturing more new patients and keeping them at your practice.
The next question becomes: How do you measure the success of deploying alternative communication methods?
The answer? A Contact Center.
What was traditionally called a call center has been replaced by the term 'contact center' which is used to encompass and measure alternate means of communication outside of the phone call. A contact center can be one person or a group of people. Most think of large cubicle farms full of folks who are answering hundreds of calls per day; and while those still exist and are a vital part of our consumer experience, that vision is a bit outdated.
Most contact center agents can answer calls, respond to web chats, and reply to emails during predefined times of the day. This allows for maximum efficiency in your staff and a streamlined experience for your patients because all of the communication data is confined to a single reporting structure.
It’s been said that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” and that is one of the core concepts behind successful contact centers. Deciding what to measure is often the harder part of deployment. For example, you have two team members with similar responsibilities but one of them is a rock star on the phones and the other is great at writing detailed and clear emails. How do you compare them? Are 100 email responses to patient requests and questions equal to 100 answered phone calls?
Absolutely not! The amount of time spent on each task is drastically different and the outcomes will be drastically different. How about the folks who you have calling out to remind patients and confirm appointments? Do you measure them in another way against their peers?
This is where the true magic of a well-crafted contact center comes into play. Pulling all of the data into a single reporting system will give real-time and historically patterned insight to exactly what’s happening with your patient experience without the need to micromanage your staff. Bonus! Let’s throw some remote work benefits into the equation! Having the ability to measure activity opens up a whole new world of benefits for folks who don’t need to be physically in the office.
Let’s shift for a moment to the softer side of a contact center. These folks are responsible for your patient experience. Are your patients going to get calm, cool, and collected answers to their questions when they call? Or, will they be greeted by a hurried front desk representative who has three people staring at them while waiting to check in? Which experience do you think will create the best first impression of your practice?
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Every interaction from finding information on your website to paying the bill after a patient’s first visit is important. Ensuring that each step of the process is positive and in line with your culture is what we do best. Faceless technology is not a replacement for kind humans and genuine interactions so let’s use the technology for enhancement rather than avoidance.
Creating contact centers that really move the needle from a patient satisfaction perspective fuels my drive to tackle the hard conversations that often come along with them. Often seen as “big brother”, staff-monitoring systems can be intimidating or liberating depending on how the message is delivered.
Massive liberation has been the over-arching sentiment in Scheduler groups. These team members face monotonous questions day in and day out from a variety of patients in a range of moods. On average, scheduling a new patient takes three times as long as scheduling an existing one. These conversations take longer as questions arise because they are unfamiliar with the processes of your practice. Rushing to answer the other line that is ringing instead of taking the time to leave the new patient with a stellar experience can be detrimental. Help your folks take a breath and know that the patient has options to leave a message for a call back, to keep their place in the queue without waiting on hold, or use your beautiful website to navigate frequently asked questions through web chats and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
One of the biggest complaints against any Healthcare organization is that staff was rude when they answered the phone, or they do not receive timely calls back. The bulk of these complaints can be avoided when administrators have accountability metrics.
Only one percent of contact center leaders think that their data intelligence is perfect. That leaves 99 percent of leaders with room for improvement in their systems. There are endless uses for measurable data surrounding your staff’s interaction with your patients. Here are a few favorites:
- Reduce finger pointing from staff
- Determine when to staff up or down for seasonal patterns
- Understand what media channels (phone, chat, email, etc) are the most efficient
- Determine the value of a new patient
- Expand your brand
Let’s get better at cultivating an environment that attracts the best talent for your staff and the patients that fill your books. The solutions offered by Blush Technology Group are HIPAA compliant and keep your patients’ privacy and safety as the highest priority. Contact us today to set up your consultation.