How equipping nurses with the latest mobile communications contributes to better, more cost-effective care.
Hospitals striving to become high-performing health systems must overcome a number of chronic challenges. One of the most pervasive and persistent ailments is communication breakdowns between healthcare professionals that can contribute to high costs and mediocre quality of care. In fact, an initiative by The Joint Commission National Patient Safety standards recently identified “improving the effectiveness of communications among caregivers” as one of its primary patient safety goals.
Poor communication and collaboration is a huge waste of time. A new study by Accenture finds that difficulty locating other clinicians and knowing how and when they are available to communicate represent two of the biggest contributors to time loss. This wasted physician and nurse time could cost a typical 500-bed acute-care U.S. hospital about $4 million annually, and potentially increase the average length of stay.
Nurses and mobile technology – a cure for poor communications
The Accenture report goes on to suggest a remedy. It says improved nursing communications and collaboration is possibly one of the greatest untapped opportunities to overcome these communications breakdowns. Nurses represent the largest group of healthcare professionals with more than 3.1 million registered nurses practicing in the Unites States alone.
Nurses have long been on the front lines of communications challenges, struggling daily to manage time-sensitive interactions that can impact patient safety and care. They have been early adopters of information technology, using it to devise workarounds to be as efficient as possible.
A fundamental challenge to effective communications in hospitals, clinics and even dentist’s offices is that you don’t often see doctors and nurses sitting at their desks. The latest mobile trends can keep them connected even if they are moving targets. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) coupled with smartphones and tablets provides a number of advantages:
Is there a doctor in the house?
Mobile technology also solves the problem of locating clinicians in real time. For example, the Accenture study found that nurses were challenged to find and communicate with not only off-premise doctors, such as on-call physicians, but also facility-based physicians. But with UCaaS, calls to doctors can be sent to their mobile phones or offices when they are on-site or off site. A feature like single number reach rings all the clinician’s devices at the same time. The physician can then choose to answer the one that is most convenient.
Shhhh! – This is a hospital
However, adding more technology to the clinical environment can also create more avenues for potential interruptions. Nurses participating in Accenture’s study remarked that some wireless phones create challenges because they allow communication with anyone at any time. This can have an impact on patient care because there are times when the nurse simply cannot answer, such as while administering medication.
“In one ICU, 10 different family members from one family called within a three-hour time frame to get an update on the patient’s condition.” – Accenture
A feature-rich mobile devices equipped with UCaaS can eliminate distractions by allowing a call to be sent to voicemail or email if a nurse is with a patient. The administrator can even build in business rules so that messages can be classified based on urgency and routed to the right person. The messages can also include context, such as information about the location of the sender or receiver within the hospital.
Hospital executives are answering the call
Residents of the C-Suite in hospitals seeking to become high-performing health systems are taking notice of these and other benefits and making mobile technology and UCaaS a priority. Equipping nurses with the latest technology makes it it is possible to address the problem of poor clinician communication and collaboration, and alleviate its potentially detrimental impact on finances, patient satisfaction and quality of care. To learn more about mobile trends in healthcare and how to use UCaaS to an advantage, download the Accenture report.
To find out how RingCentral brings better communications to healthcare providers and patients, see case study examples here.
Publish Date: April 18, 2016 5:00 AM
You clicked on this link expecting to read a regular blog post. But this is actually a specially targeted intervention aimed at shaking your addiction to your legacy network.
The truth is that this talk has been coming for a long time.
While the rest of the contact center industry has been steadily migrating central operations into the cloud, you have stood your ground and continue to rely on your own infrastructure to power your network and manage all of your customer data.
Your contact center is lucky to still be alive right now. After all, just think of the money that you must part with on a regular basis to pay for the never-ending costs associated with maintaining your network and replacing devices. Just think of how you tax your IT department, which must continuously monitor and repair your network instead of attending to more mission-critical tasks. Furthermore, unplanned downtime continues to affect your network, basically shutting down your entire facility until service is restored. In some cases, your network stays out of commission for several hours at a time.
Oh, what your contact center is missing out on right now by not migrating to the cloud! With such a move, not only will you receive cost savings but you will gain a much clearer view of how your customers are interacting with your department. A cloud-based contact center platform will collect, process and distribute reports in both historical and real-time format so that your managers can drive better customer interactions and make life easier for the agents working in your facility. Imagine having real-time reporting to help your contact center make smart business decisions on the fly!
Furthermore, your data will be kept in a secure facility on a network that is constantly updated and supervised by a team of vigilant network engineers. With this in mind, you can avoid running into problems like pesky software updates. Did you know, for instance, that support for Windows Server 2003 is going to expire on July 14? Failure to upgrade your software before this time could lead to software vulnerabilities and could also make you fail a PCI DSS audit. When you outsource to a hosted cloud service, you don’t have to worry about these issues; your business can instead devote all of its attention to the daily demands of running a contact center.
It’s time, therefore, to shake your legacy network habit and discover a new life for your contact center in the cloud.
Publish Date: April 18, 2016 5:00 AM
We’re gearing up for UC Expo at the Olympia, the largest Unified Communications and Collaboration event in Europe, happening next week, 19-20 April, in London, UK! Throughout the show we will have our best-in-class team of product experts there to show you why we’re the recognized leader in the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS.
Did you know that 67% of Brits say they would prefer flexible working over free breakfast? Find out how RingCentral is enabling flexible communications for UK office workers regardless of location! Join our Executive Sales Team for a 30-minute Executive Briefings at our booth located right near the entrance – stand E504, where attendees will learn how an extensible, enterprise-ready cloud communications platform can meet all your business’ communication and collaboration needs with one easy to use system.
To request a private meeting please email UK.Marketing@ringcentral.com, and we’ll send you a confirmation email with availability.
As a thank you for pre-registering today, and attending the demo, you will qualify for our invitation only incentive, which entitles you to one month of free RingCentral service.
Want a private demo even if you’re not planning to attend UC Expo? Send us an email and we’ll find a time that works for you!
Publish Date: April 15, 2016 5:00 AM
We’re happy to announce that RingCentral’s Partner Program has been awarded a 5-star rating by CRN in its 2016 Partner Program Guide, the definitive listing of technology vendors that service solution providers, or provide products through the IT channel. The 5-star rating was determined by a research team that assessed each vendor’s application based on investments in program offerings, partner profitability, partner training, education and support, marketing programs and resources, sales support and communication.
At RingCentral, we work with world-class distributors, master agents, and carrier partners to bring cloud business communication and collaboration solutions to enterprises around the world. Our state-of-the-art cloud platform brings together voice, video, conferencing, team collaboration and contact center solutions into a seamless experience that integrates with leading cloud-based tools and business applications. Our partners believe in our product, and we believe in our partners and their ability to help us best serve enterprise customers.
RingCentral invests heavily in its Partner Program with end-to-end partner support that encompasses sales, implementation and the provisioning and ongoing support of our partners’ clients, not to mention competitive commission structures. This year, we’re focusing on taking this program to the next level, from a partner success and global expansion standpoint.
It’s a great time to partner with us. We have a world-class product, and we were recognized as the 2015 leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for UCaaS. We provide no cost certification to our partners, and training as well. From our new Global Office product to our connected cloud contact center to our integrations with Google, Office 365, and many other business services, it’s an exciting time to join our partner team and start delivering unparalleled value to your customers.
For more information, please view our Reseller Partner info.
The 2016 Partner Program Guide is featured online at www.CRN.com.
Publish Date: April 14, 2016 5:00 AM
Recently, I spoke to about a thousand people from the dental industry in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center for the Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting. We were part of the New Product Forum, a discussion on new game-changing products for the dental industry.
We were all listening with rapt attention to the speaker who was before me when, from the far side of the auditorium, we heard waves of frantic shouting and yelping. There were people jumping up and sitting with both feet on their chairs. The commotion was so disruptive that the attendees, camera crew, organizers and speaker were completely shocked and were wondering what to do. A thousand people in two large combined ballrooms creates a sea of humans. There was confusion everywhere.
The cause for the disruption was a tiny mouse running underneath peoples’ chairs right between their feet, confused and bewildered in its own right. It didn’t know where to go or what to do. Meanwhile, the speaker was desperately trying to get peoples’ attention by yelling at the top of his voice and trying to continue presenting on his topic.
During all this activity, I was thinking that I have to present next and that my talk will be ruined. What will I say? How will I keep all these dental professionals attention on my practice optimization talk? When the organizers called me to speak, I stood up, walked to the podium, and softly said, “Repeat after me; I am not afraid of the mouse.” There was a roar of laughter and everyone forgot about the rodent.
Finding solutions to unexpected problems sometimes involves changing your approach and questioning the status quo. The mouse may have appeared frightening but, I assure you, he was having a much worse day trying to escape the crowd. Sikka Software took this same approach to challenging the norm when teaming up with RingCentral IP to create Call Optimizer™.
Previously, providers would not know who was calling until they picked up the phone and pulled out a chart. Like the mouse, solutions to phone interactions are confusing and unclear, with many variables including patient questions, payment and appointment selections. For retail healthcare providers, including dentists and veterinarians, this adds significant time to the patient phone interactions.
Call Optimizer revolutionizes the patient/provider interaction by providing patient details automatically when they call. The app has a pop-up box that populates with specific patient information. Call Optimizer helps you:
To request a demo, and take advantage of limited time pricing of $75 per month, click here.
About Sikka Software
Sikka Software provides a platform for small and medium-sized business healthcare apps. The company’s products help healthcare providers and other small businesses optimize their business via a series of easy to use cloud-based applications. With over 32 apps built on Sikka Platform Cloud with over 17,500 installations, Sikka Software is the leader in the US Dental, Animal Health and Hearing Care markets. The company is now supporting a real time optimization and information network with providers, patients, consultants, manufacturers and financial service provides.
A privately-held company, Sikka Software is headquartered in San Jose, California. More information may be found at www.sikkasoftware.com.
Publish Date: April 13, 2016 5:00 AM
You probably wish to forget the process of getting you call center software setup. You remember how time consuming and expensive it was. All the up front costs, and process of getting something new installed and learned. And now? You are still unsatisfied, but extremely hesitant to do it all again.
We hear the struggles all the time from customers switching providers. In this blog, we want to go over 6 reasons to switch, but first preface the key identifiers with an assurance that it can be easier and a whole lot cheaper. Plus, you’ll not only find the solutions you are looking for, but their sometimes unexpected effects when you switch over to a provider that actually cares.
So without further ado, here are six signs it’s time to switch cloud contact center providers:
1. You’re paying too much for too little uptime. You’ve seen what a yearly uptime rate of 99.99 percent looks like, with Five9. Or, maybe you use InContact and do a bit better at 99.991 percent uptime. The truth is that you don’t have to compromise. If you’re settling for an uptime rate of less than 99.9994 percent, then you’re not getting the best deal on the market.
2. You didn’t expect this many hidden fees. Back when you signed your service level agreement, you thought you were getting a great deal for your cloud contact center software—until hidden fees started creeping up. Perhaps you over- or under-provisioned your storage capacity, ran into surprising maintenance charges or unwillingly upgraded your package to receive more comprehensive support or services. You may have had to pay for all your ports up front as well, which costs a pretty penny.
Look for a provider that won’t give you the runaround when you are creating your contract. Many providers put you in a box and don’t offer pricing or contractual flexibility. Work with a company who revolves around your needs. Plus, make sure you receive the call center data analytics to confirm that your monthly deliverables align with the bill you receive.
3. Per-port costs are digging into your budget. If your business is growing, it’s difficult to plan how many ports you’ll need in your contact center or wait for their setup. If you’re paying for individual ports, consider switching to a call center software that foregoes those costs and makes adding a port possible in minutes. Why pay inconvenient fees and delay your growth?
4. You’re using software, not a service. You signed up for a cloud call center software platform—and that’s exclusively what you’re getting. The service is virtually nonexistent, as it’s difficult to contact support and resolve issues. Consider switching to a contact center provider that will give you more than just a great platform, but also access to around-the-clock support and a team of experts that can help ensure your software is working (and leveraged) as expected.
5. There’s not enough visibility. Your current software lacks the analytics necessary for understanding how your agents are performing on a daily basis, preventing you from making informed, strategic decisions. Look for a solution that will allow you to easily visualize all of your key performance indicators (like total outbound calls and average handle times), and can help you to achieve your business goals.
6. You are not protected from TCPA and PCI Regulations. Compliance is more rigid than ever, accompanied by steep fines. Make sure you are with a call center software provider that stores your data more than a month or two. Connect First stores data for the lifetime of the relationship. Make sure you have what you need to protect yourself.
At Connect First, we don’t just say we care. We have the numbers to prove it. With a 97% retention rate, we are putting customer needs in the forefront. From flexible contracts and pricing to the highest uptime in the industry to unlimited customer support, we show our commitment to customers by following through with our promises.
Publish Date: April 13, 2016 5:00 AM
Quality reporting and analysis has long been used in the contact center industry to measure agent effectiveness during customer interactions. Without this technology, it would be all but impossible to measure the customer experience and understand the strengths and weaknesses of each agent.
Traditionally, contact centers recorded customer calls and stored them in legacy servers. Now, however, with the onset of cloud technology, managers have an easier time recording and accessing customer interactions across multiple channels including email correspondence.
So if your agents are voicing concerns about adopting new cloud-based recording technologies in your contact center, let them know that it’s not punitive; rather, it’s one of the most efficient and accurate ways of assessing their overall performance. It’s also an excellent way to conduct market research. In many ways, the contact center is like the front lines for collecting consumer information.
You can also use the topic of call recording to your advantage during interviews. Don’t be afraid to directly ask potential candidates about their comfort level with these information management technologies. If he or she balks at the question, it could be a good indicator that the individual is not confident enough in his or her skills to want to share the data with you and the rest of the team. A top agent will welcome the technology as it will provide opportunities to work with management and improve their performance.
Connect First, a leading provider of cloud-based contact center software, can help you glean advanced call metrics that can be used to gain insight into your customer conversations.
Publish Date: April 12, 2016 5:00 AM
We are delighted to announce that DHC USA has adopted RingCentral Office, an advanced cloud phone solution, team messaging and collaboration, and RingCentral Contact Center, a solution for customer engagement.
DHC USA is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of high-quality products, including skincare items, makeup, fine foods and more. DHC was founded in Japan more than 30 years ago and has offices in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China and the United States. It is one of the top five Japanese skincare companies and serves millions of customers globally, with annual worldwide sales approaching $1 billion.
RingCentral provides DHC with an all-inclusive and easy to manage solution for accelerating and improving both external and internal business communications. From multichannel contact center customer interactions to cross-departmental collaboration, RingCentral keeps DHC employees engaged and on track at all times. By moving to RingCentral, DHC no longer has the headache or cost of maintaining our legacy on-premise PBX systems, which was a difficult task for the IT team.
The busiest and most critical time for DHC is the first quarter of the calendar year. Millions of catalogs are mailed out across the U.S., creating a substantial volume of customer response to the DHC customer care center. RingCentral deployed its powerful Contact Center solution in just a few weeks, enabling DHC to quickly take advantage of the new capabilities during its peak period. Customers can easily engage with DHC USA through the communications channels they prefer, whether by phone, chat, or email. It also provides greater flexibility and speed for customer care advisors to communicate with other DHC USA employees to help resolve issues, improve customer relations, and increase loyalty.
RingCentral’s Glip messaging tool provides DHC with a solution to improve cross-departmental communication and project management by integrating disparate business applications under a common collaborative framework. Since Glip is integrated with RingCentral Office, DHC intends to use Glip to allow teams to work together more easily and effectively, while decreasing their reliance on email and streamlining daily workflow.
In 2017, DHC USA will celebrate 20 years in the United States. RingCentral is honored to help them streamline their communications experience to yield increased customer engagement and employee productivity. As DHC continues to scale and grow, we are committed to addressing their needs by supplying solutions that produce concrete benefits.
Publish Date: April 12, 2016 5:00 AM
Getting cost and performance to go hand in hand is rare. Usually you compromise one for the other. Call quality suffers, but the price is right. Or exorbitant prices are paid for high uptime rates, but the package is not ideal for your business. Interestingly, in the call center software industry, high price does not equate to high performance or sound quality.
When purchasing from providers such as InContact or Five9, there are some areas where they may meet your expectations for the cost. For example, you can get solid reporting and fancy marketing. However, in terms of performance, customer service and cost add-ons, the marketing and reporting don’t seem worth it anymore. Nor should they.
We certainly are not the cheapest, but we are not the most expensive either. We consider ourselves a moderately priced call center software focused on building long term relationships. To build those relationships, we offer the highest call center software performance in the industry, don’t nickel and dime our customers and offer incredible support. We have a 99.7% retention rate just to show how hard we strive… and that it’s working.
Connect First has a guaranteed 99.9994 percent uptime rate, which is a guaranteed less than five minutes of downtime per year. Five9’s rate is 99.991% (4 nines – false advertising?) and InContact’s is 99.99%. We have many customers from each company who just became fed up with all the downtime and lost business they had to switch no matter the hassle it seems to switch call center software providers. The same people, of course, never regret it.
Too many providers think it’s okay to get their customers to conform in every area. They may be dealing with customers with different industries, different needs and different modes of working and yet all pricing and contracts are the same. Instead of pigeonholing our customers into a box (that never really makes sense, does it?), we offer flexible pricing and contract options. We offer a Pay Per Minute Per Agent model in addition to the standard concurrent model and our contracts truly revolve around each unique customer.
All the big call center software players have additional charges which add up quickly. We don’t do that with our customers. With other providers you have to pay per port. With us there is no charge and you can add a port in minutes. Others charge for customer support. With us, unlimited customer support is included. So, if you have a problem in May, you don’t have to question what your bill will look like.
It’s important to us our customers don’t view us just as a vendor, but as a partner. Building relationships, constantly striving to better understand your business needs, and going the extra mile is our way of life. Our exceptional customer service is one of the main reasons for our high percentage of satisfied customers. Instead of being put in a queue to resolve your support issues, you have a dedicated person who knows your account through and through to champion all your needs.
Publish Date: April 7, 2016 5:00 AM
Imagine your customer dials into your cloud-based contact center to resolve a dispute and comes up against a brick wall instead of a helpful voice. Your agent is unfriendly, the problem is not resolved and the customer hangs up in frustration, thinking, “What on earth just happened?”
As a contact center manager, would you even be aware if such an interaction occurred? The truth is that most contact centers merely spot-check calls for quality and, as a result, interactions like this often slip through the cracks unchallenged by supervisors.
The truth is that all it takes is one sour agent to ruin the reputation of your entire contact center. After all, 65 percent of customers have severed ties with a brand after just one negative customer service encounter. As this statistic shows, customers will not always forgive rude agents or think to escalate calls to a supervisor for proper resolution. They may just hang up and deflect to a competitor out of anger.
To improve transparency and oversight in your contact center reporting, you need real-time reporting, as well as historical reporting, to keep on top of service-related issues and prevent unprofessionalism from ruining customer relations.
Steer clear, therefore, of contact center solutions that do not make it easy to consolidate information and export data into reports and graphics. It will pay dividends to invest in a platform you can use to not only spot-check customer calls but to actively listen in to live agent interactions from any location.
So, what is your brand doing to ensure agent integrity in the contact center?
Publish Date: April 1, 2016 5:00 AM
When contact center software companies advertise their uptime, they often are not truthful with the marketing numbers. A clear example is Five9, who coincidently has four nines and infamously poor sound quality. While everyone advertises their high uptime, not all uptimes are created equal. Don’t be fooled by fancy marketing. This article demonstrates the difference in the number of nines and the safeguards provided with a high uptime rate.
Connect First: 99.9994%
If you’ve ever worked with Five9, you know all about poor sound quality, dropped calls and outages. 99.991% uptime isn’t reliable enough for running your business. Guaranteed uptime is, arguably, the most important thing you can look for in a cloud contact center software solution and it’s integral for ensuring optimal agent productivity.
Imagine not being stressed by downtime or muffled phone calls. Connect First guarantees industry-leading, SLA-backed 99.9994% uptime (or less than 5 minutes downtime a year).
Agents not only make more calls, but produce better leads thanks to sound quality and ease of use.
Publish Date: April 1, 2016 5:00 AM
When you think of switching call center software, you probably think, “Oh no. Here we go again.” No matter the fact that you are spending more than you hoped, have terrible call performance and are frustrated with the support, it can seem daunting to move forward.
We spoke with a client this week and weren’t expecting the enthusiasm on the other end of the line. He switched from Five9 a year ago and says since then, his agents have been handling 40% more calls. Customers from Five9 or InContact come to us with the poor uptime, poor customer service, high costs and inefficient agent process experiences. They stay with us because we have none of those issues, and affect their bottom line more than they’d imagine because of it.
Some customers come to us almost in a rage. Enough is enough. They are tired of the connectivity problems. They finally get over the fear of switching platforms, and a month or two later realize how painless the shift is to Connect First.
When converting to Connect First, you are hopeful. The costs are good, the support is great, the uptime is “hallelujah,” but there are a few elements you may not realize.
Since the software is so speedy, clear and there is no downtime, agents amazingly complete up to 40% more calls per hour. As a result, their quotas are being met faster and their leads are more qualified. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Many companies require a certain processing speed and constant software updates for agent computers. Having to constantly update massively slows production and limits the pool of applicants if agents have to work with their own computer. Connect First doesn’t have such rigid or expensive hardware requirements, and it simultaneously opens up the hiring pool.
While it can be a pain to switch call center software (we’ve heard the horror stories), we can tell you that we make it as painless as possible. We pride ourselves on being customer focused and dynamic according to your needs. We make it easy to convert, install and maintain smooth systems.
You know many of the benefits before switching over, but what you’ll realize (as outlined) is you are getting even more than what you are counting on. In this case, unexpected surprises are quite welcome.
Publish Date: March 29, 2016 5:00 AM
It’s the age-old problem that inbound contact center managers must deal with: How to ensure that 100 or more agents act as a single branded unit operating under a strict set of guidelines, and not as a squadron of rogue individuals.
It goes without saying that rogue agents, or agents that break protocol and act on their own accord, can create a lot of problems and lead to costly mistakes. Agents that use poor language, make promises they can’t fulfill or engage in inappropriate behavior with customers need to be quickly identified and reprimanded.
Many contact center mangers, however, lack the oversight necessary for identifying such problems and taking action. Without the proper software, it’s very difficult to gain a bird’s eye view as to what’s actually taking place on a minute by minute basis.
There is only one effective way to ensure that your agents are playing by the rules and that is to use a robust reporting and monitoring suite like that which Connect First offers.
Using Connect First’s reporting studio, supervisors can gain a wealth of real-time and historical data that can shine light into any interaction that takes place. The Connect First customer service platform will allow managers to perform silent spot checks by listening in on calls, reviewing transcripts and viewing in-call performance metrics.
Take our advice: It can make life lot easier for management.
There are no two ways about this: You need to take control over your contact center and take control over your agent interactions. And Connect First can help.
Publish Date: March 24, 2016 5:00 AM
Your kids know the drill when it comes to staying up past their bedtime: They need to be seen but not heard. The moment they start making a racket, it’s off to bed. But if they play silently in the background, they may be able to buy an extra half an hour of or so of playtime.
A contact center should operate the same way. It should run quietly and efficiently in the background, either driving profits or engaging with customers.
When the following issues start arising, however, you need to step in and take action. And fast.
Customer complaints: Customer-facing mistakes no longer go unnoticed by the public. In the past, a poorly-executed call or a terrible decision on the part of an agent could usually be swept under the rug. Now, however, complaints can go viral on social media. And they can be very damaging to your brand.
Unnecessary costs: The majority of your contact center costs need to be related to customer development. Costs related to infrastructure and upkeep should be kept to a minimum. You don’t need flashy equipment or expensive software upgrades.
Compliance violations: Your contact center could have several regulatory standards that it needs to be in compliance with, depending on its industry. A TCPA or PCI violation, for instance, could generate a great deal of negative press and also a class action lawsuit.
You can easily prevent these issues from happening by outsourcing the majority of your contact center operations to a cloud provider like Connect First.
Connect First will provide you with the high quality software and hosted infrastructure you need to help your management staff run a tight operation while also saving you a great deal money.
Publish Date: March 24, 2016 5:00 AM