Facilitate Better Communication and Connectivity Within and Outside Your Operation
By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.
With the staffing challenges that most every healthcare call center faces, it’s more critical now than ever to optimize your operation for greater effectiveness and increased efficiency. One way to do this is to integrate your call center.
Let’s consider some ways for enhanced contact center integration.
Integrate Your Staffing
To integrate your call center staffing is essentially a move from specialists to generalists. This means cross training. It includes both cross training on types of contacts (such as give information, transfer calls, take messages, schedule appointments, and so forth) and channels (such as phone, text, email, and social).
Granted, you may have some areas where cross training doesn’t make sense, but these should be rare exceptions and not the norm.
Cross training improves operational efficiency, increases employee skill level, and better serves patients and callers. Cross training also moves your operation closer to FCR (first call resolution), which produces both caller-centric and center-centric results.
Integrate Your Tools
How often do your employees need to rekey information? Ideally the answer is never. Yet reality falls short of this ideal. Not only is re-entering data time consuming, but it’s also error prone. And although a cut-and-paste transfer helps in both areas, it’s not a solution but more of a shortcut.
Related to this in integrating your auto-attendant with your agent screens. Making an agent ask in person for information the caller has already shared electronically wastes agent time and infuriates callers.
The simple solution is to integrate your call center technology and smartly avoid this needless duplication.
Integrate with Your Organization
Next is to integrate your call center operation with other departments or divisions within your organization. Move from an us-versus-them mentality to a holistic we-and-us team approach. Seek proverbial win-win outcomes as opposed to clinging to a win-lose mindset.
This may be the most challenging integration initiative as it requires a shared perspective to reach a mutually beneficial result. Without having a common goal, the altruistic call center manager can fall victim to the me-first mentality of a predatory counterpart.
Integrate with Your Stakeholders
The final consideration is to integrate your call center with your stakeholders. For the inhouse call center, this means a better information flow between you and other departments, such as marketing. For the outsourcing operation, this means a better data exchange between you and your clients.
Also don’t overlook your staff. Seek to better integrate with them and their needs. Look at schedule development and posting, performance reviews, and handling the compensation aspects of their work. This integration is even more critical now in face of a worker shortage. Although your primary stakeholders are those you serve, without your staff, you’d have no chance to serve them.
Pursue integration initiatives to make your call center operation be more effective and a nicer, saner place to work.
Read more in Peter Lyle DeHaan’s Healthcare Call Center Essentials, available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat and Medical Call Center News covering the healthcare call center industry. Read his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.