When an answering service fails to operate properly, it forces hospital call center managers to improvise under impossible circumstances.
Quite a few times we completely froze, says one call center manager, alluding to their answering service prior to the Infinity system. We would put in a call to the system’s service department saying we needed them right away and then wouldn’t get a response for maybe an hour, hour and a half. During that time, we would have no way to answer phones and people couldn’t reach us. It was—it just wasn’t fun.
With over 150 doctors on this particular hospital’s answering service at one time, the call center manager would be the first to express her dissatisfaction with their provider’s customer service. Customer service may have been the main reason why their hospital switched to infinity, but it wasn’t the only reason. “We weren’t capable of doing the things that we can with Infinity,” the manager says, stressing the innovative and time-saving advantages the Infinity system had brought to their facilities.
After transitioning to the 1Call Infinity system, the hospital was then able to use their time more efficiently. They shortened both their operator training times and their average call times. The system provided a service that gave the call center manager the ability to determine which operator received what types of calls, enabling her to train new operators without them getting bombarded on the first day.
For example, a new operator could be set up to answer only hospital calls. They then could eventually make the transition to answering all other calls on the service. “Otherwise,” the manager says, “with the previous system we would have to teach them everything all at once. It’s too confusing and takes longer to learn.”
In addition, this particular hospital cut their average call time in half, from 46 seconds to just 23 seconds, by using quick transfer keys, scripted screens and other Infinity capabilities. Quick transfer keys allow operators to be more efficient with taking calls. The scripted screens reduce errors in message taking and the customization allows each physician to request the information they want from their patients. “Some physicians want date-of-birth, others want reason for a consult or a diagnosis.” The accumulation of these capabilities has led to a significant decrease in the average call time.
After adding 150 doctors to their answering service, nearly doubling their original size, they needed only an extra half FTE (full time employee) to handle the increased number of calls, “Without the service suffering,” the manager stresses.
“Our clients like the Web On-Call feature because they have control and they can go in and make changes,” says the hospital call center manager about Infinity’s Web On-Call. The feature has eliminated the old system of having to fax on-call schedules to the hospital so the data could be entered. It cuts out the middleman, allowing for a more efficient flow of important information. “If there’s a last minute change in their schedules they can put it in. They can put it in anytime, anywhere. It’s live once it’s in and the operators are able to see that, so they really, really like that.”
Reduced Nuisance Calls
Initially, after doubling the size of its answering service clients, this hospital saw a large increase in what they labeled “nuisance calls,” calls that were requesting other numbers of information that could be handled by directory assistance. Out of the 100,000 calls they received each month, 7,000-10,000 were nuisance calls. In order to keep the operators from being bombarded, they implemented the “Just Say It” Speech Recognition system.
“Just Say It” allows the manager to set up a recording that helps the caller navigate to the hospital’s directory or patient look up. Either the caller says a name, presses a number that corresponds to an option or they wait and are transferred to an operator.
We saw a significant drop in the amount of nuisance calls—10,000 less a month, says the manager. They can use ‘Just Say It’ when they call in or they can wait and be transferred to us.
Simple Call History Management
Voice Logger is a great tool. Not only does it provide an accurate history of each call, but it can also be used for training purposes. It’s nice to be able to sit down with an operator at their thirty-day review, pick out a few calls and listen to how they answer so we can talk to them about it.
In addition, Voice Logger lets the manager “stick up” for her operators. If someone accuses an operator of saying or doing something inappropriate, they can listen to what really happened.
Although RED ALERT is primarily an emergency notification system, it can be used for any type of secure notification and this particular hospital is in the process of implementing it. Currently, the operators have an account that’s built for each emergency procedure that instructs what they need to do and how they need to do it.
With the RED ALERT system everything is built in. “The operators can just trigger the alert right from there and we don’t have to go through all those steps. We’re going to use it for everything, not just emergencies.”
For example, if the weather is bad or if an accident has occurred that might prevent employees from getting into work safely, the hospital can use RED ALERT to warn everyone to take a different route, or not to come in at all, until the situation is cleared up.
We couldn’t be happier
It was a great decision switching to Infinity. Their technology is innovative. It’s easy to learn, and it really seems to mold around what the particular needs of our hospital are. You don’t get that with a lot of answering services. We certainly didn’t get that with our previous service. Everything runs so much more smoothly now. I think it’s also worth noting, the customer service—great. We couldn’t be happier.