In recent weeks, we’ve discussed medical call centers (which are also sometimes called healthcare call centers, hospital call centers and healthcare contact centers) in two distinct ways:
What has yet to be discussed—or answered—is a simple question: What are the advantages and benefits of medical call centers?
Although there is no single reason for why two-thirds of all U.S. hospitals utilize a medical call center (either outsourced or in-house), it can be argued their popularity is related to the many advantages and benefits that yield better experiences for their customers and superb value for the hospitals.
In fact, according to a study referenced in our soon-to-be-published white paper, Outsourced Medical Call Centers: Defining Success and Selecting the Best Partner, we demonstrate healthcare call centers improve:
• Caller Satisfaction
• Department Satisfaction
• Savings to Organization
Call Centers Improve Patient Engagement
Although it is often uncomfortable to think of healthcare as an “industry” and patients as “customers,” the reality is the transactional nature of healthcare subjects it to many of the same principles that guide the success of traditional retail and commercial businesses—which includes customer service.
Although the Internet and smartphones have emerged as new and popular communication channels for providing healthcare customer service, live agent access via the telephone is still among most preferred channels for people that seek assistance. In our white paper, we show why the phone is the most preferred channel compared to:
• Live Chat
• Online Knowledge
• “Click to Call” Support
Further, as medical call centers continue to adopt other channels (and thus the evolution of the “medical contact center” term), they are also arguably becoming more capable of satisfying patients and increasing value for hospitals.
Call Centers Improve Patient Satisfaction
However, simply having a phone number for patients to call is not enough to provide satisfactory customer service. On the contrary, telephone communications that are perceived as slow or rely too heavily upon automation can yield negative feelings about a brand.
Three-quarters of people that call customer service lines feel it takes too long to reach agents, and more than two-thirds will hang up (“abandonment”) if they cannot access a real person.
In that context, providing real, reliable and personalized customer service representatives on the phone can significantly impact perceptions of a “happy customer experience in two ways,” which we explain in our white paper:
• Competent Service Rep
Thus, medical call centers that can provide swift, accurate and personal attention to patients may not only help reduce call abandonment rates, but may also result in better brand perceptions and referrals.
Call Centers Improve Patient Management and Follow-up Efficacy
The expansion of alternative payment models (e.g., value-based care, bundled payments) demands hospitals to continue to prioritize followups with patients to ensure satisfactory outcomes. Medical call centers that offer outbound calling are perfectly positioned for advance objectives for followups—especially since it is the most common type of outbound call.
Our white papers illustrates the rates for which medical call centers are used for:
• Post-Discharge Follow-up
• Appointment Reminders
• Pre-Appointment Admissions
• Patient Satisfaction
• Patient/Care Navigation
Call Centers Deepen Hospital Brand Awareness and Physician Referrals
As mentioned earlier, hospitals are unique in that its patients are not “customers” in the traditional sense of retail or commercial businesses, especially with respect to not grooming them to become “repeat customers.”
However, some marketing fundamentals are universal, which includes positive word-of-mouth referrals—and why (as mentioned in our white paper) nearly three-quarters of patients have said they would recommend their hospital to friends and family.
Call Centers Have High Potential for Optimal Return on Investment (ROI)
Continuing on the theme of how medical call centers can expand brand awareness and referrals, they consequently are also thought to have a high potential for optimal return on investment (ROI). Our white paper shows how their estimated 3:1 ROI ratio has been attributed their proven ability to build brand loyalty.
Sequence Health has been a leading healthcare call center provider for more than a decade. If you have been thinking about how to choose the best medical call center for your hospital, clinic or other healthcare facility, we are here to help find solutions.