When it comes to providing great service from a healthcare organization, a convincing case can be made to create a centralized contact center.
Often a centralized contact center can make it easier for patients to navigate healthcare. They can call one number to schedule an appointment, settle a bill, and register for a class instead of spending precious time figuring out the telephone number or transferring between departments.
Centralization walks hand in hand with standardization ensuring that all agents work in the same place and under the same oversight, thus helping to enforce the same processes and procedures. Single centralized training and quality assurance programs help to make sure that the patient will receive the same top-quality care throughout the entire healthcare organization. In addition, it’s easier to gather performance data and analyze those results when that information is coming from a single operations team. These statistics can help to identify errors quickly and even forecast future issues so they never happen.
Sometimes a centralized call center can cut down on employee costs. Instead of employing a dedicated staff member in every physician office to schedule patients, the offices can use the contact center agents, effectively “sharing” the scheduling duties—and costs. Furthermore, by keeping scheduling duties in the same place, it’s easier to keep patients within the health system. Patients can call the same number as their general practitioner to schedule an appointment with a specialist.
That being said, centralization can only be effective with thorough planning. For example, an organization must identify all potential call categories that contact center agents might encounter on the job so that the correct skill sets are identified when staffing the contact center. By failing to plan properly or train new agents effectively, the benefits of centralization fall by the wayside. As we have discussed in the past, success in a contact center requires tried and true processes.
Overall, centralization can improve efficiency, standardize processes, and reduce redundancy, but only if it is done correctly and with the proper planning.