Patient access teams and contact center agents have more in common than some think. Both represent the front line of customer service; interact with customers at multiple touchpoints of their experiences; and, most importantly, both require mission-critical technology that supports their core functions and priority objectives.
Just as contact center managers have honed in on customer service, performance management and call processing best practices, healthcare advisory boards are continually working to strengthen best practices for patient access teams in order to improve such things as patient access workflow and regulatory compliance.
The right technology can completely transform patient access and help teams overcome their greatest challenges. For example, patients continue to expect greater levels of service and convenience when it comes to their care. In fact, a 2014 Primary Care Consumer Choice Survey found that six of the top ten clinic attributes that patients value are related to access and convenience. Meanwhile, managers struggle to onboard and retain patient access workers, with research showing that some face turnover rates as high as 30 to 40 percent.
More capable technology just may be the answer to many patient access problems today. Perhaps healthcare decision makers should take a page from contact center managers and ask themselves if their patient access teams could benefit from a sophisticated workforce optimization (WFO) solution. Not sure if you apply? Here are four indicators that your healthcare organization is in dire need of advanced WFO:
- You need better customer insights across multiple channels: As Forbes puts it: “The omnichannel customer experience is the future of everything that involves extracting money from a customer in a way that the customer [actually] likes to have it extracted.” As omni-channel service continues to proliferate within healthcare, patient access teams will need stronger insight into customer activity across multiple channels, as well as the ability to share those insights organization-wide—objectives that the right WFO solution will effortlessly support. In fact, top performing WFO users are 60 percent more likely to empower agents with customer insights captured across multiple channels, according to a 2015 WFO survey conducted by Aberdeen.
- You need to improve employee engagement and retention: Overall, “increasing agent performance/productivity” is the second biggest objective for WFO users, according to Aberdeen. An advanced WFO solution enables healthcare organizations to achieve this objective with the ability to better manage their patient access teams and meet their core needs. These can include anything from accommodating changing schedules to addressing task workloads to providing alerts in order to address sudden needs. It’s no wonder why leading WFO users are able to actionably improve agent productivity year-over-year, according to Aberdeen.
- You need to continually enhance the customer experience: Not only did 93 percent of companies cite “improved customer experience” as their top driver for using WFO, but leading users were able to achieve a first contact resolution rate of 84 percent (compared to 41 percent of non-users) as well as increase customer satisfaction by nearly 6 percent year-over-year. Here’s a tip: integrate technologies such as business intelligence, desktop and predictive analytics, and mobile monitoring tools to better manage data for your WFO program. Or, better yet, leverage an all-in-one solution that already boasts these complementary technologies.
- You need better automation: Intraday automation helps streamline day-to-day activities and strengthen executive insight into patient access group performance. Just consider that WFO users that automate processes are 46 percent more likely than non-users to enable their executive team with such pertinent insights. Aberdeen also found that WFO automation helps augment customer retention rates by 75 percent compared to nonusers, as well as decrease customer care costs by 3.5 percent annually.
At the end of the day, patient access groups and contact center teams have the same goals in mind: build long-lasting bonds with customers and meet (and exceed) customer expectations. It’s clear that WFO produces tangible benefits and significant return for healthcare organizations (or any organization with similar needs).
The only question that remains is: how can you ensure you invest in the right WFO solution for your healthcare organization? Only you will be able to answer this question, but here’s a tip to help get you started: avoid restrictive software licensing contracts and consider a more flexible and cost-efficient SaaS agreement.