The November 2021 Issue



Seek Rules You Can Eliminate to Empower Your Call Center Staff

Make Sure the Procedures You Expect Your Employees to Follow Still Make Sense for Their Job Today

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, Ph.D.

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan

We’ve talked about asking your staff for feedback and using their input to uncover ways to tweak your procedures. One way to do this is to eliminate processes that keep your call center staff from doing the job you hired them to do.

Many of the instructions you provide your staff exist to address a past problem. Though some of these scenarios recur too often, other situations may have been an isolated instance that’s unlikely to repeat. 

Other expectations exist to accomplish management goals and advance operational paradigms. Though well intended and once applicable, their purpose may have lost relevancy over time.

With this background in mind, let’s reevaluate the procedures—that is, the rules—you’ve put into place for your staff. Consider these options:

Eliminate Obsolete Policies: Too many call center procedures once made sense but no longer do. You can make everyone’s job in your medical call center easier by eliminating unnecessary rules. The fewer procedures you expect your staff to follow, the better they’ll adhere to the ones that remain.

Simplify Existing Rules: Another category is procedures that have detailed and exacting expectations to follow. Although the general impetus behind the procedure still stands, you can look to lessen its severity. This could include reducing the number of steps required, removing time-consuming doublechecks, or empowering agents to act in specific situations without supervisor approval.

Implement Helpful Guidelines: Though our focus is on reduction, this doesn’t mean all procedures are bad. In fact, you may need to add some. 

Look for areas of ambiguity that your staff routinely struggles with. Could you ease their burden by giving them specific guidelines to follow? Would a straightforward procedure save them the agony of trying to make a quick determination to address a perplexing scenario?

Conclusion: All call centers, especially those in the healthcare industry, require rules to run efficiently and effectively. But not all rules are good. You should eliminate some and simplify others. Also look to implement judicious rules that will help staff deal with challenging situations. 

The goal is to make their job easier. When you do this, everyone benefits: you, your staff, your organization, and your callers.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is the publisher and editor of Medical Call Center News and AnswerStat. Read more in his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.

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Enterprise Customer Experience

By Mark S. Dwyer

Enterprise Customer Experience has become an increasingly popular term used by many contact center software vendors of late. But just what is Enterprise Customer Experience? And how do you know if your contact center vendor’s software can deliver it?

Even though the word enterprise is first in the name, it begins and ends with the customer. So, who is your customer? Is it the frequent flyer patient who needs your health systems services monthly? Or the elderly shut-in with diabetes in need of dialysis? Or the single mom who just delivered her firstborn in your emergency room last night and now needs your help learning to take care of this precious new life?

Indeed, it is all of them, and so many more with needs as diverse as the people themselves. Thinking about the myriad of reasons patients contact your facilities, the methods they use, and the expectations they have can be overwhelming.

Today, whether customers contact you via web, portal, app, text, chat, secure messaging, or contact center associate, getting to an integrated, knowledgeable human conveniently and quickly is a vital key to success. In addition, consumers expect an integrated, knowledgeable response for all inbound inquiries, outgoing communications, and coordination assistance.

Instead, all too often, frustration, confusion, and poor communication combine with irritating inconveniences to create negative customer experiences long before and after every encounter. The solution for successful health systems is to provide an enterprise omni-action solution that delivers quick, convenient answers.

What is needed is an enterprise-wide system that listens to the patient’s needs, learns from their interactions with the organization, and proactively leads them to better healthcare decisions. Whether their question is “What are the directions to the hospital?” “Do I need to go to the ED?” Or “When is the next Baby Care class?” healthcare customers need ready access to accurate answers.

Recent studies have demonstrated that although healthcare customers are more technologically savvy today than at any time in our past, they are also more easily frustrated with technology that runs them in circles from one system to another. Far too often, patients must search and figure it out for themselves. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of self-help content translates to no help.

Your customers want quick access to an integrated, knowledgeable human being via phone, chat, or text for all answers about the help provided anywhere in your health system. The key is to create a seamless, thoughtful patient journey with an enterprise customer experience helpdesk for optimal customer experience throughout your entire health system, not disconnected digital silos, apps, or portals. 

So ask your vendor if they can provide such a solution.

Mark Dwyer is the COO at LVM Systems, provider of healthcare call center solutions that support nurse triage, disease management, behavioral health intake, patient transfer, and referral/marketing services, including consumer-centered web products.

Email TriageLogic at info@triagelogic.com to get details about MyTriageChecklist and its reporting features.


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A Thought for Today

“What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?” -Jean Jacques Rousseau