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Contact centers represent an essential arm of the healthcare industry. When patients have questions or concerns regarding their billing and other logistical issues, they need to be able to seek the answers they need without tying up the resources of their physician’s office.

However, contact centers may also be expensive to run. They typically require office space, phone equipment and computers, and staff. As such, many healthcare contact centers frequently look for ways to cut costs and protect the organization’s bottom line.

Thankfully, organizational leaders can turn their contact centers into assets by exploring several hidden cost savings opportunities.

Optimizing Workforce Management Strategies

One of the most pragmatic ways for business leaders to save money is to optimize their healthcare contact center workforce management strategy, which governs everything from scheduling staff to recruiting and hiring.

Workforce planning starts when business leaders can effectively oversee their staff, improve morale, decrease absenteeism, and reduce turnover.

However, the business may encounter persistent staffing challenges if an organization’s workforce management strategy is poorly constructed or completely non-existent. This, in turn, will lead to higher turnover rates, a diminished customer experience, and lost revenue.

Leveraging Machine Learning Technologies

Machine learning technologies can be used to optimize several aspects of a business model. These solutions provide insights into the patient experience, reveal inefficiencies contributing to resource waste, and help business leaders streamline the support process.

Machine learning technology can analyze performance metrics and trends. For instance, you could determine the impact of a 10% increase in customer satisfaction on cash flow and total revenue.

Incorporating these types of machine learning into healthcare contact centers allows administrators to gain actionable insights about their business and its performance.

Deploying Chatbots

While providing every support request with personalized, human interaction is ideal, chatbots can resolve many requests. These programs provide a convenient, human-like interaction that a customer can leverage to solve common issues like billing — without tying up your contact center’s personnel. This allows your staff to focus on more dynamic issues that require in-depth support to solve.

Chatbots are not always a practical option and are no substitute for genuine human interaction. However, they can help your organization significantly decrease its contact center expenses while still managing high throughput and case resolution success rates. Chatbots can also enable you to provide around-the-clock support without extending your staffing schedule past regular business hours.

Using Forecasting Software to Anticipate Demand

With the appropriate data, WFM tools, such as forecasting software, can offer insights around staffing requirements down to the 15-minute interval if required and help align available resources to that need. Adequately staffing your contact center will ensure that you have enough support agents on hand to address customer inquiries in a timely and efficient manner.

Support agents can become overwhelmed at an understaffed contact center, and the customer experience will suffer. Some agents may be asked to remain past their scheduled end-of-shift, thereby incurring significant overtime expenses.

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Administrators can avoid incurring excessive overtime and optimize their staffing strategies by leveraging WFM tools such as forecasting software. Such applications will reveal when a contact center experiences the highest influx of calls so staffing can be planned accordingly.

Optimizing Claims Capacity Planning — Case Study

Claims management is one of the most important functions of healthcare contact centers. However, it can also be one of the most time-consuming. But by leveraging a modernized claims capacity planning model, organizations can free up critical contact center and back-office resources, reduce the workload on staff, and streamline the customer experience — all without increasing contact center headcount.

Northridge partnered with a leading health insurance company to address the deficiencies of their claims capacity planning model. The existing model was outdated and did not align with the needs of the business. As such, it was inefficient to operate, placing undue strain on the company’s contact center back-office staff and taxing other resources.

Together, Northridge and the client created a new claims capacity planning model that enabled the organization to address and remedy staffing gaps proactively. The blended model reduced the company’s claims file footprint (the number of plans they manage) by 53%. The result was a 50% increase in analyst efficiency, an elimination of siloed data, a 30%–50% reduction in analyst monthly production time, and significant cost savings.

Make the Most of Healthcare Contact Center Assets

By utilizing these strategies, your healthcare organization can save money and improve the efficiency of its contact center. Doing so can also enhance the patient experience, promote stable cash flow, protect business continuity, and increase total revenue.

With the right solutions, your healthcare contact center can be one of your organization’s greatest assets. The Northridge Group provides a variety of Workforce Management and contact center efficiency solutions. Contact us to learn more.

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