In an industry where changing regulations is the norm, healthcare customer service plays a critical role in gaining a competitive advantage. Today’s customers are used to receiving high-quality care from whatever industry they interact with. Therefore, it is the responsibility of healthcare providers to meet these expectations.
In these cases, a call center outsourcing services company can help provide cost-effective and customized solutions to meet all the requirements of a healthcare provider. They ensure that the customer service offering meets industry standards and benchmarks and facilitate a brand’s medical practice to maximize customer satisfaction and maintain its reputation.
Best Practices for Transforming a Healthcare Facility
For most healthcare organizations, their call center is their first line of defense when it comes to answering patient inquiries and resolving any concerns. Callers are often dependent on the agent on the other end of the phone, and a single negative interaction can easily send a patient into the arms of a competitor.
Therefore, it is important that call centers operate efficiently and offer excellent service, implementing the following practices.
1) Follow HIPAA Security Protocols
For healthcare professionals, violations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) can be costly, and not just financially. In addition to hefty penalties, HIPAA violations can also cost you the trust of patients and tarnish your organization’s good reputation.
Therefore, healthcare facilities must ensure that electronic Personal Health Information (PHI) is securely stored, including any PHI collected during contact center interactions.
2) Hire the Right People
When looking for talent, having agents with prior healthcare facility experience is key as they are more likely to have received HIPAA training. Interviews to assess candidates’ capabilities should put them in real-life settings, to ensure that applicants have what it takes to respond calmly and em-pathetically even in the most stressful situations.
If you don’t have time to interview candidates individually, consider outsourcing your call center needs to an experienced healthcare center company.
3) Offer Multi-Channel and Multilingual Support
Patients come from a variety of places, which means you need a healthcare center team capable of adapting to different customer segments. For this reason, it is essential to hire multilingual agents so that patients have the option of communicating in the language that is most comfortable for them. It is also important to offer patients multiple ways to communicate, including email, live chat, text messages, and social media, providing a consistent, high-quality experience on each of the channels.
4) Monitor and Analyze Healthcare Facility Metrics
The metrics (key performance indicators or KPIs) provide valuable information on the overall performance of your health care facility; however, it is important to know which ones to track:
- Average Response Time: Indicates how long it takes for an agent to respond to a patient’s call.
- Abandonment rate: Refers to the rate at which patients hang up the phone before connecting with an agent.
- Average Call Time: Measures the average amount of time patients spend on the phone. This can include both talk time and administrative tasks. The longer a patient is forced to wait (or through whatever channel he prefers), the more he will waste his valuable time. The health care center agents must make an effort to resolve inquiries quickly and efficiently.
- First call resolution: Refers to the ability of a healthcare facility to resolve a patient’s query in a single interaction, and has a direct effect on customer satisfaction.
- Customer satisfaction: Quantifies patient satisfaction with the overall performance of a healthcare facility. The easiest way to measure it is to ask patients for feedback, often in the form of a survey.
5) Be Empathetic
Patients do not contact healthcare facilities because they want to, but because they have to, often because of an urgent medical problem. As a result, they are already under stress, and the last thing they need is an unpleasant experience with a call center agent. For this reason, it is necessary to instruct agents to be attentive and, above all, empathetic when helping to address patient queries.
6) Be Correct
How contact center agents communicate with patients is as important as the information they communicate. Of course, agents are expected to be professional at all times. What advice can you give them?
- Avoid negative language.
- Be natural.
- Provide specific instructions.
- Transfer the call to a supervisor when necessary.
- Be optimistic.
7) Make Things as Easy for Patients as Possible
There are health care call centers to care for patients, specifically to keep them happy and in good health, so it is important to remove as many barriers as possible. Technology is an ideal way not only to fill essential gaps in the service offered by the call center, but also to optimize the patient experience.
For example, quality monitoring software could be implemented to automatically monitor key metrics or artificially intelligent chatbots to serve low-level patient requests, so that live agents can focus on more complex inquiries.