News : New Call Center Open for Vets
Harlingen, TX, USA, July, 2018 -- The opening of a new call center in Harlingen is showing a positive impact on the customer service the VA clinic is providing to Rio Grande Valley veterans.
The call center provides multiple services to veterans, including scheduling, message relay and preliminary customer service for health care clinics in Harlingen, Corpus Christi, McAllen and Laredo.
Public affairs officer Reynaldo Leal said a lot of the time, veterans’ first interaction with the health care system is made via telephone, so they "want to make sure that their experience is a positive one."
"It’s been just three days that we’ve had this call center up and running, and we’ve already started to see improvements in how quickly we’re answering our phones and in the duration of the phone calls," Leal said by phone Thursday.
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Within one month, the clinic receives anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 calls.
A few months ago, the health care system streamlined its telephone tree. The tree is all of the options people hear when they call the health care system. Callers can respond by pressing phone keys or speaking words or short phrases.
Its telephone tree list has gone from 40 options to less than one dozen.
"A lot of (these improvements) were made after listening to veterans, and what they really needed when they called and what we could have our representatives transfer them to," Leal said.
After the health care system streamlined the phone tree, it continued to find ways to make its services better for veterans and employees.
"That resulted in us doing something where, if all the clerks at the Harlingen outpatient clinic were busy or on the line or had a veteran in front of them, the calls would then roll over to the next available clerk," Leal said. "That clerk might be at another clinic, but we wanted to make sure that people were answering."
Leal said the new call center is not only helping Harlingen. It’s also helping its other clinics, from Laredo to Corpus Christi to McAllen.
"It’s a big step for us, and the VA is in a constant improvement cycle. We’re always wanting to hear from our veterans and always wanting to know what we can do," Leal said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Monday, July 30, 2018
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