Improving Customer Service in Healthcare Call Centers

A call center is a critical point of interaction for healthcare providers and their patients. An efficient call center can streamline the delivery of healthcare services and help patients feel cared for and valued. In contrast, a poorly run call center can result in upset or dissatisfied patients who may seek out other providers. Here, AMNY Health Marketing offers tactics that healthcare organizations can use to improve outcomes and increase success at their call centers.

Offer Multiple Ways for Patients to Get in Touch

Some patients would prefer to speak to a customer service agent over the phone, while others prefer web-based communication, such as a chat function. Healthcare providers can increase patient satisfaction by offering multiple contact methods, known as omnichannel communication. This can include:

  • A toll-free phone number
  • A chat service on the provider’s website
  • A dedicated email address
  • Text messaging

Furthermore, these channels should talk to each other. If a patient is communicating over email and an agent follows up with a phone call, they should already have all the information the patient provided. This allows agents to resolve a patient’s issue as quickly as possible and minimizes frustration.

Secure Protected Health Information

As all providers know, safeguarding patients’ protected health information (PHI) is paramount. When a patient contacts a healthcare call center, they may need to provide PHI such as:

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number (SSI)
  • Health insurance plan number

Because PHI is protected under Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), healthcare organizations must be sure that they have cybersecurity protections in place to ensure compliance. Any third-party service providers or vendors that your organization works with must also follow HIPAA regulations.

Offer Multiple Languages

For patients who aren’t fluent in English, interactions with the medical system can be intimidating or overwhelming. You should be able to communicate with patients in the language they are most comfortable speaking. To this end, medical call centers should have onsite agents who speak languages other than English or have easy access to interpretation services.

Practice Empathy

When a patient contacts a healthcare call center, it’s often because they need help resolving a problem. Train all agents to listen carefully and respond with empathy. Scripts can be a helpful reference point, but sticking too closely to talking points can make patients feel that they aren’t being heard. Encourage agents to be authentic, use neutral language, and be clear about the solutions they can offer. Additionally, make sure agents know when to escalate a patient’s request if they cannot resolve the issue on their own.

Leverage Data Analytics

Data is a powerful tool to improve agent performance and, in turn, increase patient satisfaction levels. There are several key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can monitor and analyze to better understand how your healthcare center is working. These include:

  • Average wait time: This is the amount of time a patient typically spends on hold before they are connected to a live agent. The shorter the wait time, the better.
  • Average handle time: This is the amount of time that agents are spending on a call from start to finish.
  • Abandonment rate: This measures how often patients hang up the phone before they speak with an agent. A high abandonment rate can indicate a confusing menu or call routing system.
  • First-call resolution (FCR): This KPI measures how often patient inquiries are resolved in a single call. If patients have to make multiple calls, they’re more likely to be dissatisfied.

Enhance Your Outreach with AMNY Health Marketing

If you’re looking for proven ways to increase customer satisfaction and improve patient retention rates, the team at AMNY Health Marketing is here to assist you. We understand the changing world of healthcare marketing and have dedicated strategists who can help you communicate your expertise and tell your story. AMNY Health Marketing’s capabilities include:

  • Audience research and segmentation
  • Channel management
  • Content creation and distribution
  • Audience and behavior targeting

To learn more about our customized marketing solutions or request a complimentary healthcare marketing consultation, contact us today.