In the age of digital, a phone call can be the best thing to cut through the noise, solve a problem, answer a question, and truly build a relationship between an organization and a customer. In the highly personal business of healthcare, this can be especially true.
For many healthcare organizations, the call center has traditionally served as a switchboard for routine calls and, more often than not, callers were transferred to other offices or areas of the health system to have their questions answered or problem solved. This often leads to a less than optimal patient experience.
However, if the right tools are in place, the call center and its agents can play a key role in improving patient engagement. Consider these four ways to better integrate the call center into the greater marketing strategy and drive patient engagement.
Today’s healthcare landscape is crowded and consumers are doing research in order to find the health system that’s right for them. More than half of consumers (52 percent) report searching online for health- or care-related information. The same survey found one quarter of respondents use scorecards or other rating websites to compare the performance of different hospitals.
In order to stay competitive and meet the needs of customers, many healthcare systems have adopted an omnichannel approach to their marketing strategy. One of the keys to a successful omnichannel strategy is the development of a 360-degree view of the customer. What this means is the healthcare organization builds and enhances customer profiles with up to date information that can be used to have more personalized engagements, no matter the marketing channel.
Technology like a healthcare CRM goes beyond electronic health records (EHR) and allows organizations to record patient engagement data, such as recent interactions, appointment history, customer interests, and demographic information. As different departments (i.e. marketing, billing, and a primary care physician) interact with the patient, data can be added to their profile. Then, when the patient engages with the call center, the agent isn’t starting the interaction from scratch. They have a more complete view of how and why the patient has engaged with the organization previously.
Empower call center agents with the data and analytic insights available within healthcare organizations to provide richer patient experiences and develop more complete customer profiles with each interaction. It allows the call center to no longer be a siloed entity, but a key touchpoint and engagement center for the organization. With the majority of healthcare professionals stating data analytics is an extremely important competitive differentiator, healthcare systems who fully utilize data can set themselves apart.
Customers appreciate efficiency. In fact, 86 percent of customers say that getting a satisfactory answer to their questions equates to excellent customer service. As a result, health system call centers should strive to accommodate multiple requests with a single agent.
Consolidate common requests, such as appointment bookings, provider referrals, and event registrations, within the call center to provide customers with the opportunity to check multiple items off their list, and/or offer additional services they may be interested in (for example, a flu shot clinic is coming up in the caller’s area). With access to customer profiles in a healthcare CRM, call center agents are able to drive engagement and deliver more a personalized, efficient customer experience.
The call center should play an integral role in a healthcare marketing strategy. In order to ensure alignment with campaign messaging and objectives, agents should use scripts to help guide customer interactions. The ability to personalize these scripts add value to the customer interaction.
Multiple scripts can be created to reflect different types of interactions (i.e. incoming phone call from a marketing campaign, leaving a voicemail message, outbound reminded care call), but at the very least, each campaign should have a unique script that agents can tailor to each customer and personalize to the individual’s unique customer journey.
Scripts help to create consistent customer experiences and help representatives connect and engage with the patient, identify their needs, and accomplish the call objectives. Agents should receive training on how to effectively personalize interactions in a way that builds the relationship and encourages engagement with the organization.
So far, we’ve only discussed how the call center can be leveraged to drive patient engagement in inbound marketing situations. However, when paired with segmentation and target audience development for specific marketing campaigns, it can be an effective outreach tool.
Outbound calling initiatives can be used to re-engage potential leads, build better relationships with existing patients, and deliver additional care. Using patient data, specific audiences can be segmented and tagged for call outreach based on previous interactions with the organization.
For example, people who have shown a previous interest in orthopedic medicine, either through a form filled out on the website or a physician referral request, could be called about an upcoming seminar about the hospital’s orthopedic care.
Call centers – and call center agents – provide a voice for a healthcare organization. In order to deliver superior customer service and drive patient engagement, call centers need to have the right tools. Think about how your organization can better integrate the call center into their strategic marketing efforts to drive valuable engagement that translates to tangible results, such as increased conversions and incremental revenue growth.
About Daymon Smith:
Daymon J. Smith is the VP, Engagement Center Practice Leader at Evariant. Daymon has lead the creation of the Evariant Engagement Center solution and focuses on helping leading health systems move to a proactive call center model that improves the overall patient experience and generates revenue for the system.
Healthgrades is dedicated to empowering stronger and more meaningful connections between patients and their healthcare providers. We help 30 million consumers a month to find and schedule appointments with their provider of choice. With our scheduling solutions and advanced analytics applications, we help more than 500 hospitals across the country to cultivate new patient relationships, improve patient access, and build customer loyalty. At Healthgrades, better health gets a head start.
Published: Friday, March 23, 2018
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