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As we discussed last week, creating a centralized contact center can have tremendous benefits for an organization and their patients. We ended that post by saying that the benefits only emerge with the proper planning, so let’s talk some more about what “proper planning” means. In some cases, planning for centralization may actually lead you to the conclusion that decentralization is the smarter option.

To start, try to imagine the costs that come with centralization. New or upgraded telecom equipment, software programs, and hardware may need to be purchased. What about real estate; is there available space for the new contact center? Will there be costs associated with vacating the smaller locations?

Then, think about the staff costs. Is there an existing staff pool or will the team be recruited?? If so, calculate the hiring and training costs, as well as decreased patient satisfaction while the new hires become acclimated to their new roles. If the new centralized contact center will not generate revenue, then the costs most likely outweigh the benefits.

But deciding against centralization does not mean you lose out on certain benefits. Standardization is still possible, and indeed, encouraged. Working to standardize processes across the organization will help patients and improve patient satisfaction scores. You do not need a centralized contact center to implement a standard process for scheduling appointments, for example. In addition, creating a comprehensive training program for all new hires will help patients receive a consistent quality of care at every touch point across your organization.

In the end, every organization is different. This year, the focus might have to be on creating effective processes and procedures in order to best serve the patients. But next year, once those are in place? Well, then it is time to re-evaluate.

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