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Inbound Patient Calls: Learning to Maximize Value

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May 31, 2017
By: LiveVox

An inbound patient call is one of the highest value interactions to take place at a contact center. The patient is at the contact center’s doorstep, ready to talk – giving contact centers an immediate opportunity to generate revenue and mitigate negative experiences,

Yet many contact centers are struggling to implement effective inbound strategies, especially for today’s patients who expect faster resolutions and the ability to self-serve.

Due to existing technology restrictions, a typical inbound patient call lacks robust self-service options and is often faced with a series of challenges including, long wait-times, higher abandon rates, ineffective agent routing, and disconnected agent interactions. This can result in a lost opportunity for contact centers and frustrated patient. This is particularly worrisome since disgruntled patients can impact revenue more now than ever with 2.0% of Medicare payments now directly tied to the HCAHPS score (up from 1.5% in 2016).

The solution to these issues is an optimized inbound call strategy that ensures the fastest resolutions and highest patient experience at the lowest cost by maximizing self-service opportunities and minimizing agent resources spent servicing a call.

In this three-part blog series, we will walk you through an optimized inbound call flow and the capabilities enabling it. We will outline a 5 step inbound call flow scenario of a patient and the features enhancing each touchpoint. These 5 steps include:

  1. Effective Call Qualification
  2. Optimizing Wait Times
  3. Optimizing Live Agent Connections
  4. Integrating Customer Feedback – CSAT Survey
  5. Driving Performance with Inbound Reporting and Analytics

In this first installment of the three-part blog series, we will be discussing the first two steps: 1.) Effective call qualification and 2) Optimizing wait times.

Path to an Effective Inbound Call Flow and the Capabilities Enabling It

Inbound Scenario:
Sally’s Attempt to Make a Payment – Touch Point 1

Sally, a Medicaid patient, receives a voicemail from a specialized group of agents (e.g. Medicaid Patient Engagement Team), notifying her that her payment is delinquent. This outreach program is offered to frequent Medicaid patients to help maintain a positive patient experience and minimize the risk of account delinquency. Upon receiving a voicemail, Sally calls the 800 number that was provided in the voicemail to make a payment.

How can a contact center make sure they don’t waste this opportunity to collect on Sally’s delinquent account? Here are the first two key steps:

STEP 1: EFFECTIVE CALL QUALIFICATION 

Call qualification is one of the most critical interactions to take place during an inbound call. It is not only an initial touchpoint for the patient but also provides an opportunity for contact centers to 1) Offload agent demand through self-service and 2) Implement an effective routing scheme.

Many contact centers at this initial touchpoint make the critical mistake of not qualifying a patient based on their account data (e.g. Medicaid patient). Instead, many patients are simply presented with a front-end IVR with a standard call menu. This approach places the patient at the beginning of an extended and frustrating path to resolving the reason for their call.

Including call qualification at the start of the flow can enhance the patient’s initial experience and create an opportunity to alleviate an agent resource requirement needed to service the call. There are two key tools to use to qualify an inbound call:

  • IVR Module integrated with a 3rd party database or CRM: Based on Sally’s input into an IVR, information can be pulled directly from a 3rd-party CRM about her account status and trigger specific self-service functions such as “Pay Bill” or “Check Account Status”. This call data dip into her account can help avoid using agent resources to service Sally’s call while empowering her with faster, self-driven resolutions. In addition, by qualifying an account upfront, this can also trigger specialized skills-based agent routing schemes.
  • Speech Recognition and Text-to-speech IVR: This feature enables patients to speak directly into an IVR system instead of using a DTMF number input system. Speech recognition and text-to-speech IVR modules can be leveraged to service “on-the-go” patients and help accelerate their escalation.

Inbound Scenario:
Sally’s Attempt to Make a Payment – Touch Point 2

Sally has interacted with a front-end IVR that has recognized her Medicaid status. This account lookup has triggered the option for Sally to make a payment or speak with an agent. Sally has a few questions about her payment and decides to connect to an agent. Since Sally has been flagged as a Medicaid patient, she will be automatically routed to specialized agents (e.g. Medicaid Patient Engagement team) that will facilitate the fastest call resolution. Unfortunately, she has called during peak service times, and there is no immediate agent available to assist a Medicaid patient.

As Sally waits on hold, how can a contact center optimize her wait time to minimize the chances of Sally abandoning the call?

STEP 2: OPTIMIZING WAIT TIMES

Contact centers can minimize abandon rates and optimize the patient experience during wait times by remaining engaged with the patient and providing other interaction options through capabilities including:

  • Position in Queue (You are the 3rd caller in queue)
  • Estimated Hold Time (Your estimated hold time is 3 minutes)
  • patient-directed Callback (If you would like to request a callback at a specific time, press 9)
  • Keep My Place In Line (If you would like us to hold your place in line and have us call you when it’s your turn, press 8)

Implementing these handful of capabilities at the first two touchpoints of a patient call path can significantly empower that patient’s ability to self-serve while minimizing long wait-times and higher abandon rates But what happens when a patient gets connected with an agent? How can you accelerate service times and increase patient satisfaction?

Stay tuned and follow us on LinkedIn to know how to optimize live agent connections in the second part of this three-part blog series.

Patients will continue to demand faster more empowering interactions, and the ability to provide that will prove to be a contact center’s competitive differentiator or disadvantage. Cloud contact center solutions such as LiveVox are eliminating these historical challenges and empowering contact centers to leverage these strategies with a few clicks of a button. Don’t get left behind, leverage cloud to optimize your inbound calls today. Email us at info@livevox.com

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