Power up Customer Service in Healthcare

Improving and leveraging on patient engagements has become a crucial element in the healthcare industry to keep up with the growing demand for quality services and meet transparency and legal compliance. An aging population requires the best of treatments, and would opt for such a center where they offer such treatments; but the quality and endurance of the treatment alone will not help the center. Along with the best healthcare facility provided, the center ought to provide efficient and effective customer service. Hence, healthcare providers are seeking ways to operate more efficiently without compromising on delivering high standards of patient care.

Patients have high expectations for self-service access to their personal information including medical records, history logs, confirmation updates, health reminders, educational updates etc,. Self-service options are migrating patient inquiries from the medical staff; enabling the staff to dedicate their time in delivering better standards of care.

Delivering great customer service is not a matter of happenstance, healthcare providers will have to invest their resources in implementing a suitable technology solution that will ease patient interactions and reduce costs in the long run. Contact Center technologies help in breaking communication silos that were previously independent of each other, enabling the agents to track and access information when required; without overwhelming the agents with information. This allows the agent to utilise the context and resources available, and apply them in furnishing best practices to resolve patient issues.Routing technologies also plays a crucial role in delivering intuitive experience to the patient; routing the interaction to the agent that has the best resources to resolve the patient’s issue.

  • Break departmental silos: Patients records and prescriptions are often a difficult task to manage efficiently. Technology solutions will facilitate in prioritize and proactively distributing tasks. Smart technology solutions will also play a hand in gaining on operational efficiency, meeting SLA’s and  maintaining legal and regulatory compliance

  • Proactive notifications: Patients will be informed on their appointments and other information avoiding the call center to be swamped by agents looking for the patient’s information.

  • Proactive Web Engagement: Technology solutions monitor social medias and keep track of customers logs; this helps in resolving the patient’s issue before they wish to switch to costlier channels of interaction.

  • Reduce Call Abandonment Rates: Smart technology solutions regulate and track abandoned calls and provides contact information to agents allowing them to call back the patient, which otherwise would be offend the patient.

With the help of smart technologies, that aspires to transform customer service at all levels of the organization, healthcare providers will be able to drastically improve their operational efficiency and customer experience while minimizing operational overheads.

 

 

A Flawless Customer Retention Strategy-II

In our previous post we gave you a few statistics on customer retention and why it is critical for the survival of every business. Now we shall provide you with some strategies and tactics that will help you in retaining your customers irrespective of the industry you fall in:

  • CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION: Customer segmentation is crucial when it comes to customer loyalty. An effective segmentation strategy would foster personalized communication with each customer reassuring them them the relationship with their supplier. Proper segmentation will help you in targeting customers differentiated by gender, age, location, frequency of purchase, item, etc.
  • CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT: Always remain in contact with your customers. A sale should not be the only time where you engage with your customers. Social media, emails, or phone conversations are to be made frequently to retain your customers. The real relationship begins after the sale.
  • CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Establish attractive loyalty programs that convinces your customers that you’re the best deal available in the industry. Be sure that you’re adding value to the customer experience instead of providing more hoops for your customers to jump into. Customer Loyalty programs should not be your prime strategy, but it is definitely your ‘wild card’.
  • CUSTOMER ORIENTATION: Make sure your employees are customer oriented. Policies, strategies, innovations, etc; are to be implemented around the customer. Customer orientation should work its way down to the front-line employees, for which the management should pioneer.
  • PRODUCT AND SERVICE INTEGRITY: Long-term success and customer retention belongs to those you do not take ethical shortcuts. There should be a consistency between what you have promised to offer and what you have actually delivered. Reliability, serviceability, integrity is what that actually a customers seeks. Customers are attracted to businesses that are honest ,open and who take a genuine interest in them. Practice what you preach and the customers shall be loyal to you.
  • INVITE CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS: More than 65% of the customers are dissatisfies, out of which less than 35% actually complain to the organization. Develop a system to unearth complaints and treat them as a opportunity to prove yourself. Complaints are not to be treated as signs of retaliation, but reassurement, that the customers and their complaints are important.Complaining customers are actually giving you a a chance to revert them back to satisfied and delighted customers. They show you the paths for improvement.
  • BUILD KPI’s AROUND CUSTOMER SERVICE: A great way to improve customer retention, is to improve your customer service. Establish KPI’s for your employees around customer service and provide incentives based on their measured performance.
  • BE AN ADVISOR: Instead of being a mere supplier of products and services to your customers, be their advisor. Educate them on the importance or the need of your product. Step into their shoes and teach them how exactly your product or service will help them. This will help in the customer endowing trust in your relationship.

A Flawless Customer Retention Strategy-I

Before getting into the strategy per se, you need to understand the importance of customer retention. Customer retention is a branch of customer loyalty, which is a never ending process. Customer retention refers to extending your service to existing customers, so that they remain your customers rather than taking their business elsewhere.

It’s important to sell to new customers, but it’s more important to keep them once you’ve got them, and here’s why

  • Increasing your customer retention rates by just 5% results in profit increases of 25% to 95%.

  • 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from 20% of your existing customers.

  • Attracting new customer will cost you 5 times more than retaining an existing customer.

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These are the odds that every company has in their table, and at every game both the customer and the company is to be in favor; to foster seamless customer relationships. To understand this in depth, you should know why customers leave. Most often, businesses believe that customers jump ship due to mainly two reasons. 1) Customers found the product/service cheaper elsewhere and 2) Their needs changed. However, this is not true. Customers leave organizations mainly due either poor quality of product/services or bad customer service.

How do we retain these customers then? Here are a few cheat codes:

  1. Set customer expectations properly: Always set your customers expectation in sync with your business strategy. Your sales team would find it easier to make promises to close a sale which the company is not equipped to fulfill. This will result in disappointment. Don’t let your sales staff do this. Even if your product is of high-quality, promising or raising customer expectations to a level where the company cannot perform, shall be aggravating for the customers

  1. Keep in touch: Always keep in touch with your customers. Try to sieve into the company’s culture that customers are the resources that actually drive your business. There are businesses that becomes too much involved in business, that they lose sight of what actually keeps the business running; customers. There are many tools and outlets where you’re able to reach out to the customers and stay in touch. Social media is proving to be a very cost-effective and reliable tool to connect with existing customers and also attract new customers.

  1. Quality control: Once expectations are set, you should always strive to meeting their expectations or exceed them at times. Quality assurance and Quality Management tools are to be implemented to guarantee that the customer receives what he/she has expected and nothing less.

We have given you a few statistics and explained why customer retention is so important. We shall discuss about retention strategies in our next post.

 

Tips on Improving your Customer Experience

Experiences have become value propositions for every firm because every company struggles in delivering customers experience that hits the spot. And hitting the right spot has become a herculean task for many enterprises because of a myriad of customer touch points made available through the advent of technology advancements. Long gone are the days where customers judge the brand, product or the company from the price, performance or the quality of the product. We exist in an era where experience matters; experience is the quarterback of every company and will never cease being the Most Valuable Player. Like it or not, consciously or unconsciously, customers evaluate business relationships every time they touch the company. You should be capable to manage each and every touch point to build and maintain customer relationships of customers that are empowered to be brand agnostic and effortless switchers. On the same note, constancy can also be a firm’s pitfall, because the customers are able to reach your company through various touch points that constantly evolves. Delivering consistent experience at all possible contact points has become a requirement rather than a perquisite.

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Having an effective contact center in your organization is valuable in providing satisfying customer experiences, but there are companies that still live in the past. Impersonal communication, unskilled agents and long waits on hold can be frustrating for the customer that drives him to do his business elsewhere. Contact centers are the main point of customer interaction and are to be powered-up to provide unsurpassed customer experience. Contact centers, the front-line of most businesses, have made and lost revenues, not on price or performance,but to the quality of experience. Here are a few tips that could be implemented to improve your customer experience.

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) : CRM softwares are now top priorities for additional spending on enterprise applications. CRM tools are focused on customer retention, satisfaction and attracting new customers. CRM software integrated with Computer Telephony Interchange would display the details of the customer that is on call, which lowers the average call handling time, which in turn helps the customer in getting the issue resolved in minimum time with little or no verification details, improving their experience. CRM technologies help companies to develop a more meaningful relationship with the customers rather than merely running marketing campaigns.

  1. One view of the customer: One of the best ways to kill customer experience is through maintaining customer information silos . Each department should be able to view the customer’s information and his/her previous interaction history that has been lodged in any of the department in the company. Requesting the customer to repeat the issue is a risk that would most likely make the customer frustrated. In customer’s perspective every interaction that he makes with the company is one single experience. Companies should ensure that this experience is not broken down when the customers navigate across multiple channels.

  1. Invest in your agents: Agents are most influential point of customer contact for your organization. They account for almost half of your contact center costs, therefore they are to be optimized to deliver experience that impacts the customer for future sales. Agents are to be trained, motivated and acknowledged for their efforts. They are not to be treated as mere machines or robots. Agents in most of the companies, are the only voice that the company has.

  1. Social Media Integration: Social Media has transformed itself in being an ecosystem, where individuals and customers share their emotions, mainly grievances to the rest of the world. Companies ought to invest in social media monitoring to address these grievances, because there are instances where these grievances have made the companies lose millions of customers. Complaints aired in social media have the potential to grow into a social outbreak reeking havoc on the company.

  1. Monitor effectiveness: Evaluating your contact center periodically is important for its improvement. Stagnant and unattended contact centers prohibits growth and customer engagement.Companies should adopt an aggressive and proactive approach to explore the myriad of data available. Reporting tools are to be implemented to measure KPI’s and the effectiveness of the contact center .The company should leverage on metrics and analytics to identify opportunities to improve agent productivity and performance.

  1. Invest in state of the art Contact Center Technology: Contact Center technology is not cheap, but definitely worth every penny paid. Now the most important question facing such companies becomes what are the technology options available to the companies and what parameters should serve as a yardstick for choosing an optimal solution which offers a decent ROI. One has to follow the methodology of doing it right the very first time therefore a hit and miss method is highly unadvised.

By implementing top-notch customer service solutions, your company can create a  better overall customer experience. Higher Customer Satisfaction scores translate into long term loyalty and strategic business objectives like bolstering brand image and building revenue. With this solution in pace, opportunities for continuous improvement and redefinition of service processes for the future can be attained.

 

5 Business Process Management Strategies for Contact Centers

Smooth operation of any business requires dedicated attention and constant innovation. Businesses operate on a tight budget and have to improve profitability and productivity. However, it is not easy and this is why smart businesses keep analyzing their progress on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. Tracking the growth trajectory helps them focus on areas which need attention and immediate improvement.  Meanwhile, departments that are doing well are given incentives to help them grow. Contact centers are like any other business. Therefore, a daily analysis of its transactions is important to its growth.

With robust contact center software,supervisors have the advantage of a highly efficient BPM tool to monitor all progress. Here are some of the benefits of using a BPM tool:

1. Improve interactions: For contact centers, their interactions with customers are the primary business. Therefore, interactions need to be successful for them to grow. You can ensure the success of almost all interactions by analyzing the trends of each agent. Agents should be fairly graded on their compliance to business standards so that supervisors can train them on areas where they need improvement. More successful interactions mean more business and it will allow organizations to grow and scale.

2.  Keep agents happy: A lot of how agents deal with customers depends on how they are treated by the company. If the agents are happy, they will interact with customers in the same way. As customer service can sometimes be stressful or taxing, it is important that agents receive support and security from employers. These basic amenities will go a long way to ensure holistic growth of the business through its employees.

3.  Identify bottlenecks: Every business faces obstacles to their growth. The important thing is to identify these bottlenecks and anticipate them. Make sure your business is prepared to overcome common hurdles. This can be done by ensuring that your operations are up and running in the face of hardware/network glitches, government instability, natural disaster, civil disturbance, and other unpredictable factors. A robust technology solution will ensure that the business does not get impacted to a large extent—or not at all—and lets customers reach you anytime.

4.   Go social for customers: Having a presence on social media is crucial for the business to show transparency, support, and a “cool factor” to the customers. Include feedback, complaints, praises, and general comments received through social media into your business progress measurement. This direct customer feedback is vital to know where you stand in the market and then you can shape marketing campaigns accordingly.

5.   Keep your technology updated: While your employees need access to quick and smart technology, your customers should also have more avenues to reach you. Make sure that the contact center is equipped to address all calls as well as e-mails, SMSs, video chats, Tweets and Facebook posts. Most importantly, the technology you employ has to be quick so that issues can be resolved quickly. A robust software solution will help your agents be quick and will impact your business’s growth in a positive way.

 

How to choose the Right Contact Center

Contact centers have been around for more than a decade and continue to show slow but steady growth. However, for most of the contact center setups, it is due to intermediaries, human errors or other dependencies that such business usually turns into a bad investment.

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Broadly the three pillars of such businesses are:

  • Business Development and Customer management
  • Quality of Agents and operations
  • Connectivity and Technology

Historically, these start-ups are mostly entrepreneur driven businesses and micro management of all the three pillars is done by a one man team. Such entrepreneurs instead must focus on Business Development and customer management rather than operations and fire-fighting of technology issues. The latter should ideally be handled by hiring good resources or finding good technology partners.

However cash-flow problems and stringent budgets in a small setup push entrepreneurs to curtail expenses on basic infrastructure and agent quality and thus the entrepreneur is always left to managing the operations internally rather than focusing on business development.

Contact centers are primarily ITeS, and IT obviously plays one of the most important role among the three pillars. Therefore it should not be compromised to below hygiene levels. We at Drishti are operating in call center software and contact center solution domain since the past 7 years and our experience says it’s mostly due to erroneous focus and poor technology specifically in terms of IT infrastructure and connectivity that leads to premature business death.

Technology options available:

Globally Renowned Solutions: What makes them an unpopular choice among the contact centers is the cost implications with each seat costing around $2K+ dollars including other add on costs like software OS/DB/Server licenses or hardware implications. Recurring service and maintenance costs are additional pain areas.

Free or White Labelled Solutions: These are almost free solutions that can be downloaded off the internet and sold or white labeled by few companies at costs as low as $500 for limitless licenses in a setup costing up to only $200 per seat. They are not meant for serious business and are at most a short term fix. Sales or engineering oriented teams download an open-source solution and either sell it as a service or in most cases illegally white-label it in their name. The companies selling this freeware usually deploy onsite engineers who do very frequent site visits only to simply reboot the server and restart the application rather than fixing the bugs.

So the bottom line is that the right solution should be one which offers:

1) Robustness and Reliability

2) Intelligence – Predictive Dialer, AMD, Lead Management, Call Back Management, CTI, Supervision and Reporting, Voice Quality and VoIP Handling, Dynamic IVR.

3) ROI

Ameyo from Drishti provides comprehensive suite of features at amazingly low cost. We provide software based solutions which minimize the hardware costs drastically.

How Great Cab Services Deliver Smiles

A working professional commuting from work, or for work, needs a comfortable transport service. The mode we choose to travel in depends on the distance, comfort, and cost. So while public transport is cheap and highly connected, it is time consuming. Cabs and taxis provide the comfort of stretching ones legs in the back seat and the best feature is that drivers somehow know how to escape the worst traffic. That is always fantastic!

Curious to know how my preferred cab service worked so efficiently, I thought to dig deeper. How were they providing a quick and hassle-free auto service to the commuters?

Cabs now provide world-class service

When professional travel, they want transport which is quick and comfortable. They needed fast service, drivers they can trust, and easy availability. Earlier, booking a taxi was a chore and one could not just stand in the street and shout “TAXI!” Modern cab services have completely changed things. The drivers are smart, use GPS-enabled devices to update you on estimated time of pick up, and most importantly, they understand their customers’ urgency.

All of this was made possible with a simple shift of focus from “running a cab service” to “providing excellent transport”. Cabs became better and organized because they prioritized their customers. The disorganized, untimely, and lax attitude of the past was abandoned and cab drivers started servicing professionally, like airline staff. They focused on the safe and comfortable journey of their passengers. This set the precedent for the whole cab industry.

Most importantly, they incorporated technology into their service. Take a look at Olacabs, an online car rental platform in Mumbai and Delhi. Their service brings efficiency and customer experience to the car rental industry —just like the airline companies. Olacabs is more than just a rental car service; they are an online platform which plans out the complete car rental experience.

Olacabs adopted a robust contact center software to streamline their operations and connect their agents, drivers, and customers seamlessly. The communication flow behind the operations is that a passenger dials the customer care center and books a pick-and-drop service. These requests are recorded in the call center and the nearest auto driver from the fleet is assigned the request. The entire call flow from the incoming commuter request to the call recording and informing the nearest cab is handled by the call center.

Customers who are hiring a car have unique requirements ranging from custom-made pit stops to convenience and choice of vehicle. These rights and obligations to the customers have to be fulfilled and with a robust technology ensuring quick changes and updates to services, Olacabs was able to satisfy their customers. Customers were happy that they could be connected easily and get information within minutes. Great service like this always ensures happy customers and satisfied journeys. That is what we all are looking forward to.

Customer Experience as a Business Strategy

For enterprises, business does not end with creating products and being content at selling them. A great business strategy needs vision. An added bonus is excellent insight of customers and the markets which help a business succeed. Business requires more work than just randomly making sales pitches to customers—it is about finding the right customers and creating products and services for them. But where are these exclusive customers?

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Business strategies and marketing techniques

Physical retail stores dress up their windows with wares that attract customers and allow retailers to interact directly with the customer and gain their feedback. So far, this has been an effective strategy but it is restricted to a physical area and depends heavily on foot traffic. E-commerce sites however, have no such restrictions and global shipping has brought markets in foreign countries closer than ever. So, retail businesses should learn from them.

The first and foremost objective of every business strategy in e-commerce is Customer Experience Management (CEM). Any enterprise that can manage to create differentiators in service delivery is able to decipher the code of “Happy Customers”. Today businesses which are aware of the best practices of CEM and are widely implementing automation systems to optimize their service delivery methodology will be considered smart.

Some of the best practices of CEM are as below:

  • Minimization of routine enquiries by proactive outreach: Everyday customer queries like order status, confirmations etc., can be minimized by an effective outreach system that proactively connects to the customers via multiple communications channels including phone, SMS and e-mail.
  • Not missing even a single customer call: Any e-commerce business just cannot afford to miss calls. The missed call could mean a lost business opportunity, or further annoying a dissatisfied customer which could be disastrous for any B2C business.
  • Giving special attention to repeat calls: It is very important that an e-commerce business is keeping a close watch on the kind of customer calls they receive. If there are repeat calls from a customer, connecting him/her to the right agent can make all the difference to the experience he/she takes back home.
  • Measuring experience across platforms: Businesses should be able to monitor and analyze the service delivery across the entire business applications infrastructure. Each technology component facilitating business processes plays a crucial role in customer experience delivery and needs to be measured effectively.

With an excellent customer experience management strategy enterprises can add the power of proactive customer service to their day-to-day business operations. A robust contact center solutions allow this value-add to enterprises. The experience going forward is a good one and spreads through word-of-mouth bringing you repeat and new business from the same customer base.