Some organizations, particularly small healthcare ones, may still have doubts about the real value of a contact center. After experiencing firsthand what happens when an organization that needs a contact center doesn’t have one, I serve as proof that such doubt is worth reconsidering.

Over the weekend, my toddler sneezed on me, and before I knew it I had fallen ill. For me, there is nothing more dreadful than going to a germ-infested doctor’s office. I wanted convenience and comfort, but there I was, sick and in need of a doctor.

When good service means everything

When I called my doctor, I was immediately placed on hold by a receptionist who was clearly overwhelmed. Ten minutes later, she hastily picked up the line and transferred me to the nurse’s station so I could share my symptoms and determine if I needed to visit. Lo and behold, I was placed on another lengthy hold that concluded with me leaving a voice message about how sick I felt, along with how frustrated I was about not being able to talk to someone live.

I then trekked into the doctor’s office, only to be warned they were running behind and would be with me as soon as they were able. Ten minutes passed. Then 20. Then 40. Finally, they called me back for a quick swab, a temperature read and a couple of deep breaths, and then off I went with a prescription.  At that point, I was fumingliterally and figuratively. I generally liked my doctor’s office before, but after this experience, not so much.

While this was not always the norm for my primary care physician’s office, which is associated with a larger healthcare system locally, I did not hesitate to make my dissatisfaction known on the patient satisfaction survey that came via email the next day. Many health systems and physician offices rely on such surveys like the Clinician and Group Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CG CAHPS) survey in the U.S.  to gather patients' perceptions of care provided by physicians in an office setting.

The assessment is straightforward, assessing level of care and the office experience. But let’s be honest, by the time most patients get to the physician, they (like me) are often frustrated because some workflow processes were missed.

Better workflows support better CG CAHPS scores

Remember when I said surveys lilke CG CAHPS gathers patients’ perceptions? Well, imagine if you could ensure a positive perception because you had a solution that would monitor heavy call volume or attribute a patient with their phone number to immediately offer identification for the front office? Contact centers have often been considered only necessary for bigger companies, but having a contact center solution is a cornerstone need for companies of all sizes to satisfy and retain customers.

From my perspective, my doctor’s office is just like a big retailer that makes their profit from my visits. If I am dissatisfied and share that with others or rate the office poorly on an assessment, it could have a downstream effect that hurts the office’s ability to retain patients.

Providing an optimal patient experience is at the forefront of many discussions at physician groups and healthcare institutions alike because surveys such as the CG CAHPS have a direct impact on reimbursement. Not to mention, in a world that lives on posting the good, bad and ugly on social media, keeping a keen eye on customer satisfaction is an absolute must. Retaining patients is what keeps these offices busy, and busy offices mean more profit.

By having a strong contact center solution, you can:

Measure and analyze customer behavior to prepare the right strategies for patients and customers alike.

Prioritize calls more effectively by providing information on repeat callers. This allows the front desk staff to be smarter in how they answer the phone and who they may place on holdrouting the call to the beginning of the queue versus later.

Leverage real-time analytics to see what’s really happening at the front desk, identify staff that require more training and determine if a patient had a negative experience—before they have a chance to leave a bad review.

A robust contact center plays a crucial role in delivering the best possible customer experience, while also keeping administrators apprised of customer care outcomes. With increased operational efficiency, you can guarantee customer satisfaction throughout the patient visit journey, leading to better patient survey scores  and online rates to boot while adhering to regulatory compliances, such as HIPAA-compliance. 

Deliver the best customer experience with the right healthcare communications solutions. Learn how with our comprehensive guide. >

Kilynn Sommer

Group Director, Field Marketing and Events - Americas

Kilynn Sommer leads the North America field marketing and events team. Previous to her time at Mitel, Sommer was in the healthcare and hospitality industry managing marketing, public relations and promotions for physician offices, major hospital service lines and convention and film businesses for the city of Dallas, Texas.

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