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Do's and Don'ts for Call Centers.

Healthcare organizations-be they payor or provider oriented--continue to consolidate and lose money. Unless they provide customers with real-time, consistent, quality information and customer service, even their survival will be challenged. Customers are demanding personalized contact through several channels including call centers, the Internet, e-mail and self-service Websites, and healthcare organizations are challenged to integrate these into one central experience.

Call centers must make sure the technology can deliver the right information and transactions to service the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible. Frustrated service representatives who don't have what they need to service the customer add to high attrition--something call centers cannot afford.

With the booming economy, it is increasingly difficult to hire and keep the best employees. Call centers must not overwork the best employees, must not limit the abilities or pigeonhole their employees, must not undermine the authority of anyone in the department, and must not lose sight of the human element in managing a call center.

Call centers must hire the right people, provide ongoing training, communicate openly with the customer service representatives and managers, develop ways to measure quality performance and invest in state-of-the-art technology to improve efficiencies and increase customer satisfaction. Organizations can capitalize on call centers by following these simple rules:

* Make the call center environment as dynamic and flexible as possible;

* Make the relationship with the customer the most important part of the interaction rather than the product or service delivered;

* Structure the call center and utilize technologies that maximize the ability to build and maintain the customer relationship;

* Recognize that the caller or a close family member may be in a traumatic health state; be compassionate and forgiving;

* Make sure the technology is capable of delivering the right information and transactions to service the customer as quickly and efficiently as possible;

* Implement technologies that ensure resolution and closure to all customer interactions. The easiest way to lose a customer is to not follow up on what was promised, forcing that customer to call again;

* Let the technology drive recommendations for assisting the customer above and beyond what they requested by building on and leveraging the accumulated base of customer relationship data.

Rick Serafino is channel sales manager for Pegasystems, Inc., Cambridge, MA.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 2000 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Industry Trend or Event
Author:Serafino, Rick
Publication:Health Management Technology
Date:Sep 1, 2000
Words:371
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