Patients expect the same level of customer service from healthcare providers that they get from other service industries. But customer service isn’t your core business—taking care of each patient’s healthcare needs is. When these realities collide, patient retention declines and so does revenue.
Healthcare Ranks Dead Last in Customer Service
The healthcare industry received the worst ranking—25th out of 25 US service industries—for simplicity of experience (Siegal+Gale Global Simplicity Index). Another study by the Journal of Medical Practice Management showed that 96% of patient complaints revolve around customer service, not the quality of the care delivered or misdiagnoses.
What Is the Cost of Poor Healthcare Customer Service?
Poor customer service isn’t just hurting your bottom line, it could be impacting the health of your patients. Surveyed patients are foregoing care because the process and payments for services are too complex. Patients surveyed said they skipped both preventive and screening services.
If you are wondering why patients are no-shows and are leaving your practice or clinic, it probably has nothing to do with the actual care you provide. It is likely the result of not meeting patient expectations at all points in the healthcare journey.
Why is Healthcare Customer Service So Bad?
Patients have a number of complaints about customer service, including:
- The complexity of healthcare in general
- Not understanding bills and insurance
- Inadequate follow up
- Not being able to reach staff to address questions or concerns
- Lack of technology.
Lack of Customer Engagement Technology
Patients want to feel engaged, and for many, that means digital conveniences that they get from other service industries. They are looking for online appointment scheduling, text messaging, and chatbots to meet their health needs. Others want provider staff to explain billing or insurance questions they have over the phone.
But finding empathetic customer service staff can be difficult. Training them so they can answer patient questions correctly and explain healthcare insurance takes time. More importantly, it takes time away from actual patient care.
Your Focus Should Be on Patient Care
Many patients delayed care during the COVID-19 pandemic. They are now calling to schedule physicals, screenings, and other medical services. Their conditions may have worsened or new healthcare needs may have emerged. You need to focus your internal resources on treating their conditions, not on finding and training call center staff, especially when so many companies across all industries are finding it hard to find workers.
These factors are leading many physician practices and community-based organizations (CBOs) to outsource their call center services.
American Exchange Can Fill Your Call Center Needs
American Exchange has been helping practices, agencies, CBOs, and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) across the country with a variety of telephonic and digital customer service needs. Our services include multilingual support services for patients who prefer to communicate in a language other than English.
Our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology allows us to create custom greetings and prompts that direct callers to the right experts to efficiently handle each call. We provide experienced call center staff, licensed insurance agents, and certified coding and billing experts who answer patient questions and resolve issues.
We also offer the following specialty services:
Eligibility, Enrollment and Retention Services
We provide an online portal, telephonic, and chatbot support to enroll eligible patients in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare, and Medicare supplemental health plans. Our ACA-certified agents have helped more than 60,000 individuals and families enroll in ACA plans that fit their healthcare needs. We provide year-round support to those ACA enrollees, explaining how to navigate the healthcare system and better understand the services covered by their plans. We also verify coverage and client data accuracy with the ACA marketplace each month.
We specialize in providing enrollment services to HIV subsidy programs. We’ve enrolled more than 20,000 individuals in Ryan White programs in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Tennessee. We also provide automated tools for patients wishing to self-enroll. Our services are available during open enrollment and throughout the year, when life-changing events qualify patients for special enrollment periods. We keep case managers abreast of insurance coverage and other patient-related activities that impact program eligibility.
We offer digital and multilingual telephonic appointment scheduling services and can assess each patient’s insurance coverage during the interaction If the patient is not covered by insurance, we can begin the ACA enrollment process, identify subsidy programs, or refer them to Medicaid.
Billing Services and Collections
Our American Academy of Professional Coder (AAPC)-certified coders and billing experts are available to handle all your revenue cycle management needs, including credentialing, coding, billing, denials management, and collections. We can set your practice up to receive electronic payments from credit and Ecommerce cards.
Supporting Your Staff
Our services include frequent communications with your staff to ensure clear lines of communications, including assessment status, process improvement recommendations, portal and assessment training, and industry updates.
We provide real-time reports to keep you abreast of all the activities we perform for you. Standard call center reports include ingoing and outgoing call volumes, time to answer, call abandonment rate, the average length of the call, and type of call. We can also provide reports on service issues and individual agent performance, as well as ad hoc and customized reports.
Dozens of robust and easily digestible revenue cycle management reports are available, detailing provider productivity, financial performance, patient interactions, outstanding accounts receivables, and cash flow to name a few. We provide them in a variety of formats, which can be scheduled and automatically delivered to your email address. We also offer customized reports, including visualization tools that have become industry standards.
We currently handle 25 phone queues. From April 1-June 30, 2021:
- We answered 4,515 calls:
- 11% of calls went to voicemail
- Average call length was 4 minutes and 47 seconds
- Average speed to answer was 33 seconds
- Average hold time as 50 seconds
American Exchange can improve your customer service and reduce the number of patients leaving your practice. Reach out to us today.