Patient Experience

How do wait times affect patient experience in your Healthcare Center?

In today’s world, as humanity’s attention span continues to decrease, patients have increasingly become less patient. Here is how much waiting times can impact your Healthcare Center's patient care and satisfaction.

In many industries, getting service via phone has become a painful experience. Airlines and insurance companies have continued to make this interaction more asynchronous with time. Fortunately, in Radiology, patients still require a touch point with other human beings. The big question is, how do we avoid this interaction from negatively impacting patient satisfaction?

Before we talk about how waiting times impact patient care and satisfaction in your radiology practice, let’s see how a patient journey can turn into an undesirable event for a radiology site.

Losing a patient because of a poor experience

By the time Jose decided to hang up the phone to call another center, he had already been waiting to get through to an agent for more than 10 minutes. Jose had grown increasingly preoccupied with his health, prompting him to consult his doctor, who, in turn, prescribed him to get an MRI. Having had a good experience in the past, he decided to rely on the center's service that had previously treated him so well.

As minutes ticked by, Jose could only think of what his ailment could mean to him and his family. Eventually, his tolerance ran out, prompting him to put the phone down and dial a different center; one he had never visited in the past. And, like that, his center of choice lost Jose forever.

In this time and age, patients expect to request their medical appointments without much hassle. Radiology centers need to put outdated practices behind them and evolve into fast and reliable providers who care about adding the human factor to every call and not treating each as just another name in the database.

What is Wait Time?

Wait Time is the average time an inbound call spends waiting in the call queue or waiting for a callback. It can be measured globally across the contact center industry by line, skillset, agent group, agent, or phone number. Wait time should not be confused with handle time, which is the time a scheduling specialist takes to complete a call.

Reducing the average wait time for every patient is just as important to customer satisfaction as the time it takes for agents to resolve their needs. Whether that means optimizing your IVR system and ACD, hiring more representatives, or giving them additional training to work through queues faster, there are as many techniques available as there are metrics to assess their success.

3 Ways to decrease patient waiting time and improve patient satisfaction

One of the main ways to provide a best-in-class patient experience is through a three-tier process, which means: 

  1. Answering the call quickly
  2. Handling the call effectively and with empathy
  3. Finally, closing the call correctly. 

The last two can never happen without the first. Thus, having a superb average speed of answer is essential.

This not only has an effect on the patient. Also, it impacts your practice in the form of abandoned calls. We want to avoid dropped calls at all costs, especially once you come across that the costs associated with abandoned calls can reach into the millions of dollars for the largest radiology firms in the market.

Here are  three ways to Improve patient satisfaction by decreasing waiting times:

  1. Improve your Workforce Management Platform

For BPOs, productivity and efficiency are two keywords every player in the market lives by. Both are tied to producing a low Average Speed of Answer (ASA). Improved efficiency translates into faster rates at which the calls are answered and handled. At CCD, we provide the best talent, plus we equip it with the best tools to attend inbound calls seamlessly for our partner firms. By optimizing our workforce management, we have been able to dramatically reduce ASA, while streamlining factors such as agent scheduling, schedule adherence, and occupancy rates.

  1. Excel in your Training Delivery

Training is one of the main pillars for any BPO, especially at CCD. Our training process centers on teaching agents how to handle calls effectively. Understanding that agents must possess the skills needed to meet the caller’s requirement effectively, our training department focuses mainly on this aspect. Our team believes that well-trained and efficient agents will be able to reduce handling time and answer more calls, thus lowering ASA´s rate.

Another aspect that can become a roadblock is the entire overview of all the tools needed by an agent to perform his job successfully. That’s why it’s important that agents become well-versed with the product features, contact center software, business tools, and other aspects required to resolve customer issues before they start taking calls.

  1. Reduce Attrition

To manage a successful contact center, you must have the right workforce behind it. Training and culture must become the main pillars of success to achieve this. Trained and experienced agents will be able to respond to customer calls in a timely fashion, thus reducing ASA and improving patient satisfaction.

Seasoned agents will be able to decrease handling time, enhance the quality of customer service, and provide best-in-class patient satisfaction.

Implementing these tips in your radiology practice

As healthcare service providers, we live and breathe by our satisfaction scores. No one wants to be treated like Jose—left on the line to fend for himself. The factors that will make us successful, such as productivity and efficiency, allow us to build processes that are highly successful at delivering outstanding experiences for all patients.

With industry expertise, highly educated customer service agents, and business intelligence, CCD Health is the appointment scheduler of choice for 4 of the 5 top radiology firms in the United States. As pioneers in specialized care, we know how to treat your patients intimately by adapting our best practices to your needs, including hybrid contact centers. Learn more about how we can increase your patient satisfaction by contacting us.

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