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How AI solutions offer a healthy outlook for healthcare contact center success

Mar 21, 2024 | Admin, Health and Life Sciences, Healthcare, Latest News

A reliable call center customer experience is more important than ever. However, with growing expectations for faster resolution, varied access to customer support, and high attrition rates among healthcare center agents, health organizations are searching for solutions that can remedy these pain points while also reducing overhead costs. 

“When it comes to great customer service, your contact center plays an important role,” said Zoe Sitrin at Salesforce. “We found that 94% of customers say a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to make a purchase again. Yet, only 13% of customers say they can get their issues solved with little effort.”

In this environment, AI and automation are the prescription for transformational results.   

By incorporating these technologies, call centers can streamline processes with better access to centralized and secured data. By implementing automated call routing and omnichannel services, such as chatbots, live agents can focus on complicated resolutions without negatively impacting wait times for overall efficiency. 

When you combine these AI-backed innovations, reduced costs and revenue growth are the prognosis. Here’s how healthcare organizations can do it: 

 

Pain Point #1: Siloed data access delays resolution

One of the most common customer frustrations with contact centers is being passed to various channels and repeating information before their issue is resolved. According to Salesforce, around 83 percent of customers expect their problems to be resolved on the first try. 

 

Solution: Seamless integration of diverse data sources and systems

AI algorithms can access and analyze comprehensive patient information in real time. This empowers call center agents to access a patient’s medical history, past interactions, and current requirements thoroughly without the inconvenience of navigating between various applications or departments. 

AI-driven systems excel at recognizing patterns and insights across datasets, enabling proactive measures to address issues before they escalate. This enhanced accessibility to data optimizes the efficiency of call center operations and elevates the standard of patient care by ensuring that agents possess a holistic understanding of each patient’s unique circumstances, facilitating faster and more practical issue resolution.

 

Pain Point #2: Providing convenience without compromising data security or HIPAA compliance

Healthcare call centers regularly handle patient medical histories, treatment plans, and personal identifiers. The challenge lies in safeguarding confidential information against potential breaches, unauthorized access, or inadvertent disclosures. 

 

Solution: Audit, monitor, repeat

Some experts believe the quality of advanced technology like AI, which combats security shortcomings, can revolutionize data protection in the healthcare industry. 

Artificial intelligence technology allows hospitals to process a massive number of data rapidly and efficiently, freeing professionals to focus on more intuitive and high-priority potential threats,” Narendra Sahoo, a HIPAA security consultant, pointed out. “The solution can significantly ease the pressure off the IT security staff and bridge the gaps by extending the capacity of the existing security measure with advanced AI technology.”

Continuous monitoring, audit trails, and security audits help detect and mitigate potential vulnerabilities. With these measures in place, AI and automation provide convenient access to patient data while upholding the highest data security standards and HIPAA compliance.

 

Pain Point #3: Agent burnout 

Despite the move toward digitalization in some healthcare organizations, many healthcare call center agents are often tasked with quickly handling a wide range of patient concerns, from billing inquiries to critical health-related issues. That constant pressure leads to agent burnout. 

A 2022 study found the agent turnover rate was at an all-time high. Additional agent engagement research showed that 57 percent of call center agents are indifferent to working in the call center, and 5 percent are highly disengaged.

 

Solution: Omnichannel customer service options

Call center agents can focus their energy on more complex and meaningful patient interactions by automating routine tasks and leveraging AI-powered tools, such as chatbots. 

“While many customers still use the phone, 57% now prefer to use digital channels,” said Ryan Nichols at Salesforce. Your agents staffing these digital channels need to give accurate and relevant information, reply promptly, and resolve the customer’s issue quickly.

AI systems can help agents by providing real-time insights, suggested responses, and relevant information during calls, which reduces stress. 

With AI-driven analytics, call center managers can gain valuable insights into agent performance and workload distribution, enabling them to proactively address issues and allocate resources where they are most needed. 

By reducing repetitive tasks and providing support in critical moments, AI and automation enhance agent productivity and contribute to a healthier work-life balance, ultimately reducing the risk of burnout among call center agents.

 

Pain Point #4: Pressure to reduce operational costs and increase revenue growth

Internal pressure to reduce overhead costs and generate revenue is common for healthcare call centers. 

Research shows that 67 percent of healthcare call center leaders find it difficult to prove call center ROI internally, and 74 percent feel pressured by their system’s executives to prove that their call center can generate a profit. 

 

Solution: Automate routine tasks, call routing, and minimize call handling

By automating routine tasks such as appointment scheduling, prescription refills, and handling FAQs, AI-powered chatbots can lower labor costs by resolving large volumes of inquiries that reduce the need for human intervention. 

Additionally, AI-driven systems can optimize call routing and prioritize incoming inquiries, minimizing call handling times and improving overall efficiency. 

“Service agents are often tasked with publishing knowledge articles after resolving a case,” said Ryan Nichols at Salesforce. “But it takes time for agents to manually create, review, and publish an article, which keeps them from helping customers in need.” 

Leveraging predictive analytics and data-driven insights, healthcare call centers can also identify opportunities for upselling services, promoting preventative care initiatives, and targeting high-value patient segments. 

AI and automation enable healthcare call centers to operate more efficiently, reduce overhead costs, and capitalize on revenue-generating opportunities. By staying focused on efficiency, reducing costs, and maximizing revenue, healthcare call centers are prepped and ready to deliver an exceptional patient experience.

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