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Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Contact Centers

Impact of COVID-19 on Healthcare Contact Centers

  • October 2021
  • 62 pages
  • ID: 6185845
  • Format: PDF
  • Frost & Sullivan


Table of Contents

The healthcare industry was hit hard by the pandemic as it tackled the toughest of challenges around the globe- slowing down the virus, managing hospital capacity, keeping its staff safe, and ensuring patient privacy and confidentiality.Contact centers were busy far beyond capacity, driving organizations of all sizes to accelerate investments in self-service channels and the cloud.

The analyst surveyed decision-makers in the healthcare industry to discover the effect that COVID-19 had on its customer operations.Not surprisingly, the pandemic had a significant impact on contact centers.

Key insights from the survey revealed:
• Traditional pain points for contact centers (such as being seen as cost centers or operating as silos) faded away in importance as healthcare facilities were forced to change to deal with the exponential growth in communications with patients.
• Top-of-mind challenges shifted overnight as millions of agents were moved to work-at-home (WAHA) and ensuring the stability, reliability, and security of network operations; training agents/supervisors on new applications; and persuading customers to use new interaction channels became a top concern.
• Healthcare organizations were not afraid of moving to the cloud or utilizing new technology made easier through cloud deployments. Respondents included IT decision-makers from hospitals, clinics, health systems, pharmacies, health services, and physical therapy organizations. It explores their plans to improve CX expectations as the world recovers from the pandemic. Voice interactions for healthcare providers went up in 2020. However, other channels such as social/messaging apps gained importance as the pandemic put pressure on healthcare providers to update information constantly. Providers must improve the level of customer satisfaction (CSAT); social channels were at the bottom of the pack when it came to delivering a high CSAT. Proactive customer care is also a top priority and essential for healthcare organizations to survive as costs skyrocket. Patients want, and now have, much more control of managing their health, and if providers proactively assist them with the tools to stay healthy, they are more likely to thrive. For most organizations moving people to a WAHA model did not negatively impact productivity. Instead, more than half of them reported that productivity improved. As a result, roughly 75% of organizations will maintain or increase the number of remote agents staffed during the pandemic.A top priority is improving the employee experience. Ways to improve agent retention include acquiring new workforce management (WFM) tools with flexible scheduling/preference management, agent empowerment, and management training. Integrating unified communication/collaboration is essential to many healthcare organizations, primarily to improve the customer journey and employee experience, and agent engagement. Highly reflective of the rapid shift to a WAHA model is that the respondents use collaboration tools to integrate other departments.Channels covered: voice, email/web form, social media messaging apps, social media apps, mobile apps, SMS, Chat with live agents, virtual agents, video chat, video teller/kiosk, and IVR.Technologies covered: conversational AI & virtual assistants/bots, quality monitoring, collaboration tools, performance management, flexible APIs/CPaaS, eLearning for agents, proactive customer care, gamification, and augmented reality.This study is valuable for solution providers to better understand what each industry seeks in delivering excellent CX, and healthcare organizations to benchmark themselves against the competition and other industries.
Author: Alpa Shah

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