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7 Strategies for Managing Vaccine Call Volume Surges

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The COVID-19 vaccination rollout has been an incredible task. The heavy demand of logistics, supplies, and information has left healthcare organizations with the critical task of meeting large surges in support channels, primarily voice.

These complex and emotionally charged conversations need to be met with a combination of efficiency and empathy. A well-prepared support infrastructure can help prevent: chaotic and unsafe vaccination conditions, spoilage and waste, as well as negative stress for providers.

To help manage increased contacts during the vaccination rollout, here are 7 strategies designed for patient and member support to succeed in this pivotal time.

1. Create a surge playbook

A step-by-step playbook aligns all necessary resources so that when a swell occurs, organizations can execute faster. The playbook should be customized for each organization’s needs, but in general, it should include plans for activating contingent contact centers or labor forces as well as ensuring associates have access to the right information and resources to provide consistent and reliable support.

2. Identify your contact center blind spots

Conduct an operational assessment to identify people, process, training, and technology gaps to support vaccine surges. Pharmacies, for example, need to determine which channels are likely to need more support during the surge, what type of support, and whether the organization has the technology and tools for seasonal associates to provide additional support during the initial stages and beyond.

3. Train for empathy

Empathy is a vital skill associates need to anticipate and understand patient needs – especially for a hot-button issue like vaccines. Taking the time to train associates on empathy in addition to providing a strong knowledgebase sets them up to deliver superior patient support during distribution.

4. Pair AI with humans for optimal results

A mix of human touch and digital technology can create an optimal balance of positive patient experience and streamlined operations. Real-time insight from voice analytics, for instance, helps associates focus on what matters to the patient. And AI-powered training scenarios enables associates to quickly practice and hone their skills at their convenience.

5. Think flexible scheduling

The more flexibility an organization has in ramping up or down quickly with a variety of skilled associates increases its ability to meet service levels and deliver an excellent patient experience. For example, tapping into skilled at-home associates is one way to augment support during surges.

6. Enable authenticity with technology

Associates will need the right tools to meet patient surges head on. An omnichannel, cloud-based patient-experience infrastructure can enable and integrate digital tools such as automated self-service, AI, text messaging and live chat to deflect calls and scale as needed. A strong digital foundation enables associates to dedicate their time to challenging conversations on the vaccine.

7. Be proactive every step of the way

An ideal vaccination process needs to be informative, safe, and organized. Digital tools like messaging can provide information and communication directly on Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp, or direct SMS messaging. These are channels patients already use, so information will likely be received and digested before, during, and after their vaccination process.

Scale efficiently. Connect with empathy.

The vaccination rollout relies on the cooperation of everyone involved. Patient support will be a critical backbone to help insure the process is safe, informative, and orderly. Building a better future in 2021 will require the right tools met with the right people.

To learn how TTEC can help you avoid overwhelming your contact centers with rapidly-trained at-home associates enabled by our secure and tech-agnostic solutions, explore our Vaccine Support solutions now.