Digital transformation is sweeping across the nation today. Businesses in nearly every industry have felt increasing expectations from their customers as a result of a new standard for communication thanks to the abundance of smartphones and mobile devices. Contact centers, an industry that is driven purely by consumer communications has been significantly impacted by recent digital trends. Healthcare contact centers, specifically, are beginning to search for ways to digitize their phone systems to meet shifting patient expectations.
As the healthcare contact center industry grows, so does the patient preference for mobile on-demand access to care. Technology is causing an increase in contact center communications. In fact, according to the 2019 Deloitte Global Contact Center Survey, 53% of companies surveyed expect their total contact center volume to increase over the next two years. But as interactions in healthcare contact centers increase, many of those contact centers struggle with old on-premise phone system technology as a roadblock in meeting the growing expectations for communication from today’s tech-savvy consumers.
The Trouble with Outdated On-Premise Technology
Healthcare contact centers have historically utilized on-premise legacy technology when it comes to their phone system. Today, however, healthcare contact centers are trending towards unified communications solutions hosted in the cloud due to the flexibility in multiple channels to communicate with patients and increased security. On-premise phone systems have become outdated in the fact that they cannot nimbly support the increase in call volume that many contact centers are experiencing today, as well as their lack of ability to provide patients with options for different channels to connect with their healthcare organization.
Legacy technology is often linked to high abandonment rates in contact centers – meaning that patients who call into the clinic face long hold times and eventually give up and hang up the phone before speaking to an agent. High abandonment rates lead to unhappy patients and, ultimately, a delay in care. Phone technology hosted in the cloud can offer today’s contact centers greater flexibility in the way in which their patients can engage with the organization and more efficient operations for the organization.
As The South Bend Clinic looked to make the transition to a cloud-based solution, security of patient data was a priority for the organization. They needed a solution that could be deployed quickly and efficiently with little to no downtime and next to no learning curve for their contact center agents to adopt and use. The South Bend Clinic felt a sense of ease making the switch to a cloud-based unified communications solution knowing the high level of security and the solution’s ability to protect health information (PHI).
Gain Efficiency through Transparent, Real-Time Data
Where on-premise phone systems lack real-time insight to the daily activities of a contact center, unified communications technology has become extremely advanced in such capabilities. Many of today’s UC solutions offer add-on features that provide easily digestible, granular data to offer insight to the service level of a contact center in real-time. This type of data enables contact center supervisors and managers to make adjustments to their contact center on-the-fly to provide better service to patients. This type of robust UC technology can help a healthcare contact center gain efficiency and raise patient satisfaction levels simultaneously.
In addition to old technology and subsequent high abandonment rates, The South Bend Clinic was lacking real-time insight to the health of their contact center – how many calls were in queue, how many agents were available to take calls, or what the disposition of those calls were. The healthcare organization was in need of a solution that could provide more granular data to provide better contact center metrics that would enable them to provide better care.
Enhanced Patient Experience
One of the main concerns that healthcare contact centers have with legacy technology today is its barrier to enhancing the patient experience. Better patient experience not only indicates a greater quality of care, but a more successful healthcare organization as a whole. A recent study by Deloitte found that hospitals with better patient-reported experience perform better financially – making better patient experience beneficial to both the overall care of the patient and a clinic’s contact center.
Healthcare systems are turning to unified communications solutions to upgrade their patient experience because new UC technology can provide a greater degree of flexibility that has become necessary to meet today’s patients’ expectations for communication. For example, a large percentage of patients now prefer to have the option to schedule an appointment from a mobile device through a browser or via an app. Contact centers equipped with UC technology are able to seamlessly transfer patient communications between chat, audio, video and secure desktop sharing – making the patient experience quick and easy.
In addition to providing patient’s with various channel options to communicate with the organization, UC technology can help to enhance the patient experience by empowering a contact center to have greater control over their operations. With UC tech, contact center management gains an acute awareness of the number of calls in queue at any point in time, how many agents are available and the disposition of those calls. With access to data in real-time and a deeper understanding of these metrics, healthcare contact center agents can offer a better experience to patients.
To learn more about how The South Bend Clinic lowered their contact center abandonment rates by 200%, read the full case study!