How Healthcare Contact Centers Can Improve Patient Experiences

You can't compromise when you want to improve patient experiences. Read how contact center agents can be the game changer for business

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September 13, 2019
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Prompt replies and 24×7 availability is not enough, patients need more. A study states that 2/3 of patients want appointment reminders and 70% look forward to texts from their healthcare provider. A journey or association of a patient with your healthcare begins with the booking of an appointment. Every interaction until post-treatment follow-up is an essential step in creating a positive patient experience. So, it is not limited to the type of treatment offered but the kind of customer service response one receives on pre & post-treatment.

What affects patient experience?

There are numerous patients or prospects calling your healthcare contact center every day to book or cancel an appointment, request for lab reports, and more. In such a scenario it gets difficult for your agent to remember the past conversation nor it is necessary the customer call would land up to the same agent next time. This creates a messy situation where dispute resolution gets difficult. So, patients are likely to post bad reviews, further hitting your reputation with poor customer experience. According to a study by BrightLocal, 91% of consumers consider online reviews as personal recommendations.

How to offer a personalized experience? Integration history is the key to success

You need to step in the shoes of your patients to understand their frustration level when asked to repeat their concerns time and again. So, you need to have a collection of patient?s interaction history. This will give every agent a brief history of the patient’s query or complaint status that can be taken forward by the new agent. Here, maintaining an excel or writing on paper won’t help. Your contact center software solution should have a field for adding call context notes. An agent should be able to add notes even when attending a call.

Also, interaction history largely reduces the call hold time as now the agents are more aware of a patient’s journey with your healthcare center. The call put on hold is highly infuriating, proper knowledge of the case that does not require a customer to wait for long and disconnect the call with a notion of poor service experience. The agent will immediately direct the caller in the right direction or book appointments accordingly.

Required healthcare contact center solutions 

In addition to the interaction history, there are various features of contact center software that are responsible for empowering agents with the right information at the right time. Subsequently leading to happy patients. Let’s look at other essentials contact center solutions you cannot miss having.

  1. Seamless integration: In addition to interaction history, an agent must have access to patients’ general information available on seamless integration with other third-party applications such as EMR/ EHR. This allows the agent to address patients with their first name, resolve query or book appointments quickly thereby reducing the Average Handling Time (AHT) and improving the First Call Resolution (FCR).  It is always delightful for people to continue the conversation on an informal note and with personalization.
  2. Unified view: Another essential feature to consider for the healthcare call center is the management of multiple healthcare services. Accordingly, the agent needs to switch between the screen. There might be a different screen for different functionality, which makes coordination difficult. A unified, single pane of glass view is required to resolve such an issue that saves an agent’s time toggling between the screens.
  3. Optimization: When considering customer experience, it is necessary to remember that only happy agents can lead to happy customers. To have delighted agents it is necessary that the contact center desktop represents fields that are mandatory for your healthcare business. An optimized interface can allow an agent to view only the fields relevant to his interaction instead of too many useless fields.
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Technical knowledge is just one pillar of customer experience. In addition to contact center software, there are various other elements to consider for creating a positive service experience focusing agents that can be HR or team-driven, such as

  • Right hiring

Instead of running after skills, it is necessary to run after the attitude or values of your agent. You need to evaluate your hires on their efficiency of understanding your business and patients. Attending X number of calls is not the target but resolving Y number of calls and simplifying the life of your patients is the key to customer experience. Service experience entirely depends on the way how a customer feels about interacting with your agents and visiting your healthcare center. Your contact center executive should be keen on listening, understanding customer and creating a vision.

  • Regular training

Your healthcare agents need to learn the language of your customers and understand their psyche. From contact center agents to front-end employees all should be trained on how to interact and treat the patients. They must know who’s the God for your industry and work to create amazing patient experience. In this world of cut-throat competition without the customer-first culture, your patients might approach other healthcare service providers. You need to ensure that your agents demonstrate empathy when interacting with your customers. The tone should be convincing enough for a patient to accept the resolution of his queries in the first go.

  • Implementing feedback

It is a universal truth that everyone cannot be happy with everything. But feedbacks show that you are doing something. You and your team need to understand that suggestions are of the business and not a person. It is always good to have negative feedback that can be worked upon and improved. This makes your patient feel valued and heard. And, you are sure to offer a better patient experience to the new ones. Also, you should request your patients to share feedback, good or bad. Remember the story does not end here. According to a survey by BrightLocal, 89% of consumers read businesses’ replies to the reviews posted.

  • Engaging agent script
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To build a brand with excellent customer experience, your agents need to embrace the power of storytelling. The agent script needs to be more emotional and empathetic instead of being robotic. Make use of agent scripting tools. It can create a series of dynamic scripts to engage patients, highlight the USPs of the business, resolve patient queries and more.

  • Evaluation of efforts

It is imperative to analyze the efforts you and the team have been putting in throughout the month. This will let you know how well is your contact center performing and if heading in the right direction. You can evaluate the loopholes that can be worked upon.

Conclusion

To wrap up, you always need to find ways to create a memorable patient experience with your healthcare service. Here, interaction history being the most important one. Use it to the fullest to create a personalized ambiance for your patients and enhance service satisfaction. From contact center software to agents, everything needs to be sync with the organization’s aim.

Remember, it is easy to retain your existing patients than to acquire the new ones. To build a strong online reputation, it is always advised to make your contact center focus on your loyal patients, especially of VIP categories. Offer omnichannel communication and keep your patient base intact.