Healthcare Provider Stabilizes Contact Center Operations in 6-8 Weeks

With the rise of affordable healthcare and the exchange network, healthcare providers are under pressure to become customer-centric organizations. EPIC understands these effects and is helping providers find creative ways to make contact centers more productive and profitable.

Situation: Corrective Plan Calls for Immediate Help

At a major non-profit healthcare provider, the COO was in the hot seat. With patients complaining about poor service at the contact center, the executive board had made service level improvements a top priority, asking the COO to present a corrective plan of action that would result in an immediate impact. After all, call volumes were so high that patients were getting busy signals and had to call multiple times to get their issues addressed. Underscoring the problem, the healthcare exchange market challenged operational teams to do more with less. Acting quickly, the COO leveraged her network to identify a healthcare call center expert who could champion a fast turnaround. Those conversations led to EPIC Connections.

With deep healthcare experience and comprehensive services that could not only design technology solutions but also deploy and optimize process-focused improvements, EPIC Connections was the preferred partner. The team immediately went to work performing a RapidCheck Assessment aimed at enabling organizational effectiveness that would help the company gain control of the contact center.

Solution: Stabilizing Volumes and Service Quality

The assessment identified three key challenges that became the objectives for the corrective action plan: 1) increase capacity 2) decrease demand and 3) develop scalability. Furthermore, the solution included a prioritized roadmap, outlining immediate improvement steps, near-term recommendations, and long-term strategic goals.

 Root Cause ChallengeImplemented Solution
Increase Capacity: IVR setup and hours of operation limited agent productivity. Leadership was generally lacking.

Immediate Priority

  • IVR enhancements automated HIPAA authentication, segmented calls by type/complexity to align agent skillsets with patient needs, and enabled call backs
  • A tenured, interim call center director provided leadershipImplemented Solution
  • Reduced hours to reallocate agents to high-demand shifts

Near-Term/Long-Term

  • Utilized former agents in other departments to increase headcount
  • Enhanced WFM system, processes
Decrease Demand: Agents were drowning in calls and the outsourced team provided little support

Immediate Priority

  • Launched an RFP to quickly identify a new call center outsourcing partner that specialized in healthcare
  • Communication programs aligned management around goals and tasks

Near-Term/Long-Term

  • Boosted service quality with training on call center technology systems
  • Improved coaching and change management strategy
  • Omni-channel strategy
Develop Scalability: With a reactive team, there was little focus on operational excellence, forecasting, and enabling scalable growth

Immediately Priority

  • Employee engagement program increased executive presence and opened lines of communication

Near-Term/Long-Term

  • Refined performance reporting
  • Hired a permanent call center director
  • Modern telephony and CRM technology
  • A holistic outsourcing strategy

Results: Productivity Increases in 6-8 Weeks

Within 6-8 weeks, the healthcare company gained control of its contact center operations, stabilizing service quality and leveraging IVR and process efficiency gains to answer 80% of calls within 20 seconds. Forecasting and scheduling best practices enabled productivity increases of 10%. In response, first-call-resolution rates increased by 1.5%, and call handling times decreased by 4%. Training and coaching improvements also improved agent time-to-proficiency by 35%.

“We were able to accelerate our success by infusing tenured leadership at the director level. Our interim director came with 30 years of call center optimization experience. While he focused on stability and scalability, others made the technology adjustments necessary,” said Steve Weston, Senior Consultant, EPIC Connections. “In the end, this divide-and-conquer approach delivered a fast and fully maximized turnaround that really pleased the executive board.” 

Agent time-to-proficiency increased by 35%

Productivity increased by 10%