In healthcare, it is essential that assistance is ready at a moment’s notice. Hospital representatives need to be prepared to deal with all sorts of incoming questions and issues in real time. An award winning non-profit hospital wanted to create a seamless, single point of contact for both patients and physicians via its 1-800 number. It needed highly specialized contact center associates to handle a wide variety of interactions, from scheduling physician appointments to gift shop hours.
We hired and trained highly skilled customer service associates to answer its 1-800 number, focusing on five call types: general information, referrals to hospital departments based on patient symptoms, physician referrals, appointment setting, and insurance questions. They attended an intensive eight-week training period that taught both functional and soft skills through a mix of classroom learning and simulated interactions through roleplaying.
Associate training started with the basics, then got more advanced through the session. On week two the trainers guided associates through live general information calls, and by week six they practiced more complex interactions related to insurance, referrals, and appointments. In the final two weeks associates took live calls with assistance from trainers and subject matter experts before completing the program.
New tools and processes also enabled a more frictionless experience. Individual insurance information was integrated into the system for associates to access more easily, and popup windows warned associates of potential compliance errors. New customer-focused features included a geolocator to find the closet physician to a client, and thorough emergency/ suicide protocols to handle highly emotional instances. The knowledgebase also expanded from an excel spreadsheet that was updated weekly to an application that provided associates with live updates from clients.
Our client partner relationship has been in place for 10 years and continues to grow with nearly twice as many associates and program enhancements as at the start of the partnership. Our success in the company has led to growth in the number of hospital physicians using our team to schedule appointments for them. And in surveys, patients have acknowledged that doctors through our system have acted with effectiveness, timeliness, and empathy with care.