TASKE Technology's Call Center Blog

Many of our blogs have been on the subject of key metrics and how you can use them to contribute to the bottom line of your business. This month, we’re going to look at challenges in the healthcare industry and how contact centers can turn improved service into successful results while managing costs.

The Challenges

Healthcare is expensive. Whether you’re a supplier of products or services, or a patient in need of them, there’s no question that costs in this industry are becoming prohibitive. Unfortunately, demographics show that our aging population will just increase the burden on this industry over time. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the proportion of the population 65 years old or more will increase to 19.6% by 2030. In the U.S., the problem is more complex given that there is more choice than ever for clients who are able to choose their healthcare. This industry has become extremely competitive with a variety of organizations and services vying for clients in the same marketspace. Passing costs on to the customer is not an option.

A contact center in a healthcare organization faces some special challenges. Your agents are the first point of contact for your organization. No matter how good your healthcare team is, customers will quickly become frustrated if they can’t get through to make appointments. Furthermore, if your contact center handles emergency calls or triages healthcare inquiries, the environment may be highly stressful. The wrong decision has life-threatening consequences. Lowering patient care is not an option.

On top of these considerations, social media plays a role in your ability to compete. Whether it comes from government watchdogs or individual patients, the viral nature of online communications means that word – good or bad —spreads instantly. Unfortunately, you may lose potential customers just based on one poorly handled call.

One Organization’s Solution

In our blogs, we don’t talk about our own products and customers as a rule. In this case, though, we’d like to share the success of one of our customers in the healthcare industry. As the largest employer in North and South Dakota, Sanford Health provides an integrated healthcare system through its network of service facilities, which include many hospital departments, clinics, long-term care centers, and research centers. It’s the largest, rural, not-for-profit healthcare system in the United States, with a presence in 111 communities in 8 states. Through its dedication to the work of health and healing, the organization is building international clinics in Belize and Ireland.

Sanford’s success is based in the organization’s dedication to improving customer satisfaction through strong customer service. Here’s one example. Given the severe weather conditions in the geographic areas of their call centers, agents are not always able report for work on time. Calls to any agents who did not log out the previous evening are suspended in queues the next day, rather than being routed to afterhours services. Through innovative use of real-time reporting, the organization can now automatically log out all agents who are not able to report for work, resulting in better handling of customer calls. Check out the case study for more information about Sanford’s innovative use of real-time monitoring and reporting in their contact centers.

Every industry has its own challenges when it comes to providing quality customer service. Understanding those challenges and addressing them within your contact center goes a long way toward contributing to the overall success of your business. If you’ve found unique ways to meet challenges in your industry, we’d like to hear from you.

See you next month.

Tags: business objectives, customers, healthcare, metrics, service levels, trends.

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