Wednesday, Nov 15, 2023

Generative AI Is The Cure For Call Center Inefficiency

Nate ShamesHead of Healthcare, EliseAI


Healthcare has long been dependent upon call centers, and hold music is only sometimes enjoyable. It’s not a secret that human-staffed call centers are ineffective and old-fashioned, as our automated answering machines. A recent survey of consumers found that over half of consumers said that automated phone systems are the most frustrating part of customer service. 


Call centers rely on complex phone systems operated by a network of agents to solve issues. The quality of service can change from person to person, largely depends on individual personalities, and how well each customer service representative understands your business. Computer technology has led to some improvements, but not enough to drastically improve the customer experience. 

Not only does this risk losing potential patients, but call center inefficiencies actually impact your business at every operational step… 


Three Major Costs Of Using Contact Centers For Patient Management 


1.High Financial Costs

If you want to establish a call center as a touchpoint, you can either create one in-house or outsource it. You'll need to pay salaries, overhead, and initial setup costs in both cases. Call centers are not plug-and-play, so you'll need to recruit, train, and onboard customer support agents, which can take weeks. Plus there are software, hardware, and headset costs, amounting to thousands before you take a single call. 

According to Glassdoor, the average customer service representative in the United States earns $49,116 per year while customer service managers make $68,703 each year plus benefits. For a team of five (four agents and one manager), you’ll spend about $265,167 each year on salaries alone. Outsourcing call centers can reduce some of those costs, but they are still far from cheap, running from $25/hour-$65/hour per call center representative.

The roadblocks don't end when your team is set up. Agent turnover is a persistent issue at call centers and maintaining regular staffing numbers can be a challenge. To build a dedicated staff, you'll have to ensure that employees feel fulfilled in their roles and spend money on the kinds of benefits that compel them to stay. 


2.Human Error

Call centers require a significant amount of oversight to ensure quality day-in, day-out. 

There are a few factors that lead to poor quality service and human error when it comes to call center customer service:

  • If the call center agent is having a bad day or hasn't taken the time to read their training manuals, callers will receive subpar service.
  • Outsourced call center agents are often assigned calls for multiple practices. Therefore, their time and attention may be divided throughout the workday. 
  • Security: The standards for background checks differ between countries and states and may even change from company to company. Depending on who you choose to work with, confidential or sensitive information may be left unsecured. 


3.Outdated Technology & Lack of Communication 

Many call centers run on outdated technology. That can mean longer wait times in the absence of automated menu options or voice commands. A lack of automated triaging can result in people being shuffled around a phone tree.

Patients are not leaving their consumer expectations behind when they interact with their doctor. They expect the same level of service, ease, and accessibility that they receive everywhere else. 68% of patients would prefer a provider that enables them to book, change, or cancel appointments online while 69% of patients are more likely to choose providers that communicate with patients via email. 70% of patients would choose a provider that sends emails or texts when it’s time for follow-up or preventative care and 57% expect automated text, voice, or email reminders for appointments.


Conversational, Generative AI as an Alternative


Conversational AI overcomes the limitations of conventional call centers. 

Advanced artificial intelligence can…

  • Text, chat, email, and most importantly, talk like a human can over the phone, answering all questions and handling a wide range of inquiries and requests. 
  • Collects information like insurance information and other patient data in a secure and accurate way. 
  • Scale to meet any call volume, ensuring that patients always receive answers promptly and efficiently. 
  • AI doesn’t have bad days or bad moods. It never sleeps, never clocks out, and never changes jobs. 

Not all customer inquiries require the same amount of attention. AI makes sense of simple questions and answers them quickly, forwarding the complex calls to your team directly, no phone tree required. Generative AI ensures that everyone's needs are met, and you reserve your team's energy for where it is applied best. Learn more at HealthAI.  

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