HMEs: Don’t fold under pressure — CX pays dividends

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If your company provides home medical supplies and equipment, you’re likely under a microscope.  There has never been a tougher time to drive metrics. The labor market stinks and most IT departments are confronting how data, automation, and the new world of AI will impact their business.
Often, companies in this space are seen as enticing acquisition targets since they are fairly recession-proof and offer a great way for private equity and other powerful healthcare entities to diversify and bolster their direct-to-consumer presence in the home.
On paper, home medical companies look great when key performance indicators (KPIs) like Net Promoter Scores, handle times, order turnaround, patient retention, days of sales outstanding, and claim denial rates tell a compelling story.

Can’t set it and forget it

These KPIs are not self-sustaining, however, and ongoing investment in talent and technology is critical to maintain the metrics of a quality customer experience (CX). We all know service is what built this industry; it’s the bedrock of customer loyalty and retention.
Those tempted to squeeze cost savings out of the operation at the expense of the experience, even for the short term in the face of economic uncertainty, will pay a hefty price down the road. It’s just not worth it. Permit your hard-earned KPIs to take a tumble and community trust, company morale, and market value will suffer.
I understand the need to contain costs. Inflation, managing a remote workforce, and rising wages have been painful, but you have options. Consider a two-pronged approach to solve your experience and margin challenges: talent and technology.

Technology opportunities abound

There are cutting-edge digital solutions that cut costs and lift the customer experience at the same time. Among the CX-enriching efficiency plays to consider:
  • Optimized knowledgebase: When is the last time you assessed and updated this critical asset that your workforce relies upon to serve customers? One knowledgebase we audited returned a whopping 10,000 results on a single search query. That’s unmanageable and not helpful for a quality CX. TTEC helps clients improve their knowledgebase, leading to higher quality scores and lower handle times. 
  • Associate assist: Associate assist works only when knowledge management is optimized. These artificial intelligence-based bots prompt associates with helpful AI-generated suggestions and best “next actions” to assist customers, improving first call resolution and reducing escalations. 
  • Automation: AI-enabled bots also assist with training and coaching, providing real-time, personalized feedback that helps new hires practice skills in a simulated environment before advancing to live calls with customers. 

Talent matters

Labor augmentation – deploying the right strategy with the right business process outsourcer (BPO) – can transform your organization.
  • Talent acquisition: Appropriately screen and hire talent from a larger or even global talent pool to enrich the patient experience and reduce inflationary and wage pressure through a well-planned geo-strategy. Remote work is not going away because employees don’t want to return to the office. Six in 10 remote workers are “extremely likely to change companies” if not offered remote flexibility, according to Gallup.
  • Training and curriculum: Not only can your new BPO partner find great talent motivated to support your brand, but they are also experts at curriculum design and training. New hires’ speed to proficiency and the quality of the training are directly linked to associates’ performance and longevity. In fact, more than eight in 10 HR managers believe training is beneficial to attract (83%) and retain (86%) talent, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
  • Performance and quality: Management of the production staff is often included in BPO pricing and can offer your staff relief from the ongoing burden of individual performance and quality management. This can give your SMEs the opportunity to delve into other necessary tasks and projects.  

Partnering with a trusted BPO can improve the bottom line and the patient experience. Pilot testing a “champion challenger” model often validates that an experienced BPO can outperform your current operation and also bring you vast experience that will exceed your expectations, providing yet another lever to reduce expenses, address seasonal labor needs, and improve those important KPIs.