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In a previous post, we covered the key elements of a successful live call program. Now, we’ll explore how a live call program can strengthen your business by streamlining processes, enhancing patient satisfaction and increasing revenue.

Structured processes and reference guides
Once you’ve onboarded and thoroughly trained your call agents, they need structured processes to follow. Having well-defined processes not only enhances efficiency, but also helps make sure your patients get the same high-quality service with every interaction.

What are structured processes? They can be standardized scripts to make sure patients get complete, accurate information no matter which agent they speak to. Inbound and outbound call scripts, call transfers, insurance scripts, copay requests and call endings—which should include order generation—are all examples of structured processes you can implement.

We also recommend having reference guides available for live call agents. These should be customized to your particular needs so agents can help with even the most complex patient questions such as return policies and mask exchange processes. When agents have all the information they need at their fingertips, that leads to a simple, streamlined process that results in fewer call transfers to other employees and a better experience for your patients.

Customized campaigns
Some systems also allow you to set up customizable campaigns. Campaigns can include pre-set order templates specific to each account and disease state, and patient-specific questions to update important details such as the patient’s machine and mask, last doctor visit, and verification of insurance. You can also set how often you want a patient contacted—every 30, 60, or 90 days, for example. And you can choose to delay the next call attempt for a specific amount of time if the patient doesn’t answer or isn’t ready for a new shipment.

Call recording
Using a system that records calls is a great way to give everyone peace of mind in case there’s a situation that needs a second look—that goes for your patients as well as your live call agents. Recorded calls let you review a conversation, see where a miscommunication may have occurred and offer solutions. Having access to recordings also lets leaders check for call quality and provide coaching where needed to enhance efficiency and keep patients satisfied.

Dialing technology
The first step toward helping patients is getting them to answer the phone. Some live call systems have advanced technology that increases connection rates by presenting local phone numbers in the patient’s Caller ID. And if a connection rate is lower than an organization is looking for, these tools can place the patient number in a “cool down” period and then use a new local number for the next connection attempt.

Ordering options
It’s important to recognize that not all patients want to talk with a person and place an order over the phone. Options such as interactive voice response (IVR) let patients use an automated system to provide details and order supplies without speaking directly to another person. Additional options such as patient portals, email or text ordering, and scheduled shipping let patients set their orders in advance and have supplies delivered to their door without having to remember to call anyone back or click “order now.”

Automated billing
With the right live call tools, when agents speak to your patients, they can get payment information to keep on file, such as credit or debit cards, FSA or HSA cards or electronic checks. They receive an electronic notice 10 days before payment is due, and second notice two days before. This means patients are never surprised by a charge.

Automated billing is a great resource for your employees, too. It keeps your staff from having to chase down payments, giving them time to spend on other key initiatives. In fact, Brightree’s head of patient collections, Jennifer Leon, says our customers save up to 10 hours each month—while seeing a reduction in the number of inbound calls—when they use automated billing.

Tracking call metrics
Metrics are a way for HME agencies to control the controllable. Looking at the right metrics gives you insights into the behaviors behind the numbers, which is essential for your long-term business success.

A primary metric is sales per hour. Regular monitoring of this data will show you average talk time, total off-call time and more. You can use this information to help break down barriers, clarify language, focus on patient education and gather needed information more quickly. Another metric is to filter your call list by disposition so you can see where and how calls end up and make any changes needed. Real-time tools let manager see the status of each employee—schedules, CW times and more—which helps monitor orders processed per day.

Inbound and outbound calls per day should be tracked in 15-minute increments for insights into adequate staffing on daily, weekly and monthly levels. When staffing levels are appropriate, you’ll see a low abandonment rate and a fast voicemail response rate, which enhances patient satisfaction.

A team mindset
It’s important to remember that each team member’s role has an impact on others. Effectively communicating and partnering with your team members and effectively using live call tools can help develop a unified approach to solving issues, serving patients and growing your business.

Justin Lewis

Justin Lewis
Senior Director, ReSupply LiveCall Service, Brightree

Justin Lewis is the senior director of Brightree’s ReSupply LiveCall Service and brings nearly two decades of experience in the contact center industry to this role. Previously, he served as the senior manager of the contact center and outsourcing operations at a senior living facility and prior to that as a customer service and sales manager at Apria Healthcare. He is a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.

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