Outsource Your Healthcare Call Center Work to Eliminate Management Frustrations
April 25, 2017
Running a call center is hard work, even more so in the healthcare industry with the constant pressure of cost-containment, expectation of quality service, and physical wellbeing of callers at stake. Between staffing and technology, the stress can mount. Consider these common healthcare call center frustrations.
Hire Staff: Staffing is key to operating a call center. Without staff, calls will go unanswered and patients, unserved. Most call centers, especially those in tight labor markets are in a continual hiring mode. The call center is never fully staffed, and there’s always a push to find qualified employees.
Train Staff: Hiring people to staff your call center is just the first step. Next they require training. No one, no matter how qualified, arrives fully ready to take calls. To achieve optimum call center outcomes requires superior training. This means you need a proven training curriculum, which must be continually reviewed and updated to meet ever-changing expectations. It also means you need a trainer to deliver the instruction and ensure new hires are ready to take calls.
Schedule Staff: A third challenge involves scheduling. You need to have the right number of agents working at the right time. If you understaff, callers must wait too long and will end up frustrated or hang up. However, if you overstaff, staff sits idle and payroll costs escalate. While sophisticated software tools can project call traffic, plugging the right people into the anticipated schedule is as much art as science. And then, even the most perfect schedule can fall apart with just one call off.
Retain Staff: You’ve hired, trained, and scheduled staff. So far so good. Now you just need to keep them. Unfortunately, it always seems your best ones leave. You can pay more, give incentives, offer a career path, provide advancement training, and award bonuses. These will all help retain the best employees, but these strategies also require much effort to implement and can drain management, which means more frustration.
Deal with Technology: Although the human side of call centers first comes to mind, there are also technology issues to deal with. Someone must obtain, deploy, manage, and maintain computers, servers, software, and apps. These all cost money and take time. Although SaaS (software as a service) or cloud-based solutions can ease this pain, these alternatives still require attention.
Support Needed Infrastructure: Having computers and software is just the start to meeting a call center’s technology needs. You also need a technology infrastructure. This includes a computer network, internet access, and telephony capacity. If any of these stop working, your call center stops functioning.
Maintain a Facility: Last you need an operations room and a computer and telephony center. Then, as you grow you will need more space. And that’s another issue to deal with.
Addressing all these staff and technology issues demands much in the way of management time and attention. Some days call center managers move from putting out one fire to another. Though they keep things running, they have no time left to focus on what matters most.
Surely, there must be a better way. In fact there is.
Consider outsourcing as an alternative to the daily grind of call center angst. Let your outsourcer deal with the people and technology issues, saving you a whole lot of frustration in the process.
Whether you outsource 24/7, certain shifts, or specific services, healthcare call center outsourcing may just be your best solution to meet caller needs and maintain your sanity.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center industry and who offers a healthcare call center matchmaking service. Contact Janet at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-901-7706.
Peter DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.
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