Healthcare Contact Center Employee Retraining in a Remote Environment

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Approximately two-thirds (66.6 percent) of all U.S. hospitals utilize healthcare contact centers, either in-house or outsourced, for a variety of purposes. As with all organizations, managing a healthcare contact center successfully depends on effective two-way communication.

As private healthcare organizations work to enhance their customers’ experience across the board, the contact center needs to be a key part of those efforts. Great service leaders understand that they must continuously create and cultivate a desirable organizational culture and empower employees.

Why Healthcare Contact Centers Should Embrace Long-term Remote Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionized the workplace, making working from home the new normal. As many countries worldwide go in complete lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, the customer service executives or the contact center agents are also being forced to work from home.

In a contact center environment where agents work in tight spaces using shared equipment, the need to facilitate a new normal will be particularly noteworthy. Even for healthcare leaders that were earlier skeptical of embracing remote work are now finding ways to enable their healthcare contact center employees to do so effectively.

Why Healthcare Contact Center Employee Retraining is Important

Healthcare organizations should not assume that their adept contact center employees will automatically be successful as remote employees. For those accustomed to being in an office from 9-5, thriving in a remote work environment can be a steep learning curve.

According to Harvard Business Review, high-performing may experience job declines in productivity when they begin working remotely, particularly in the absence of proper preparation and training. Challenges inherent in remote work include, but are not limited to:

  • Social isolation and loneliness

  • Lack of face-to-face interaction and supervision

  • Lack of access to information

  • Distractions at home

Regardless of the challenges, seemingly simple errors by admissions staff can have devastating effects on patient safety. Also, administrative failures can expose a healthcare organization to litigation. A judge may view a lawsuit resulting from a front-desk error as ordinary negligence, and impose high penalties on the organization.

As much as remote work is laden with challenges, there are things that healthcare organizations can do to ease the transition and avoid costly mistakes. Training and development are among the ways healthcare organizations can ensure that their remote employees are more adept at off-site work.

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4 Soft Skills Needed to Work Remotely`

Productive telecommuting requires mastery of certain skills beyond industry knowledge. The following are the four soft skills that healthcare contact center employees need to work in a remote environment:

1.      Tech knowledge

Remote work habitually involves using modern technology to communicate and collaborate. Even if their job isn’t technical, healthcare contact center employees definitely need to feel comfortable with both software and hardware as remote workers.

Like other call center employees, healthcare contact center employees come to remote work with varying degrees of tech knowledge. Training the employees to ensure that they are tech-savvy is far more effective than expecting them to automatically know how to navigate the tech tools when working on their own.

Remote employees with tech knowledge are also able to resolve minor technical issues without necessarily asking for help. Being able to type fast and accurately can save them a heap of time in the long run. Furthermore, they will get used to your CRM more quickly.

2.      Time management

When working remotely, remote workers don’t have bosses and colleagues physically near them to remind them to stay on task and meet their deadlines. As remote employees, they are responsible for managing their time.

Care contact agents, in particular, need to have excellent time management skills. With so much going on at all times, it’s easy to get distracted and lose track of time.

Understanding how long tasks will take, and allotting the appropriate amount of time is the key to having excellent time management skills. Good time management can have a ripple effect that goes beyond merely getting work done quickly. With proper time management skills, healthcare contact center employees experience other benefits, including:

  • They’ll accomplish more in shorter periods with less effort,

  • They’ll achieve their goals faster and make necessary changes quickly,

  • They’ll meet crucial deadlines and avoid stress,

  • They’ll deliver higher quality work,

  • They’ll develop self-discipline.

It’s good to instill good time management practices right from the beginning. As such, healthcare organizations should train their healthcare contact center employees about time management right before starting to work from home. It’s easier to be proactive, rather than reactive.

3.      Organization

When working remotely, employees don’t have bosses or supervisors stopping by their cubicle to see if they’re staying on top of their tasks. Each employee has to keep themselves on track. They should also be conversant with the importance of wrapping calls properly, especially when using a CRM.

There are also several other tools at call center agents’ disposal that can help them to be organized. For example, Dropbox and G Suite are excellent tools for keeping all correspondence, databases, and spreadsheets in order. Training remote employees on how to stay organized can equip them with the skills they need to stay on top of their tasks.

4.      Communication

If a healthcare contact center employee can’t communicate their message clearly over the phone, he/she is not really cut out for the job of contact center agent. As such, contact center agents must have good communication skills.

Besides using a friendly and approachable tone when talking over the phone, healthcare contact center employees must also excel at written communication. When doing live chat or email, they must have excellent grammar while keeping messages clear and concise.

How Engine Can Help

Learning how to train your healthcare contact center employees effectively can be a daunting task, especially when your organization is preparing to switch to remote work. No matter the size of your workforce, Engine is here to help.

Engine’s dynamic team of professional and highly-qualified experts and leaders collaborates with healthcare organizations to set up training and development programs to their employees’ boost productivity and efficiency.

Would you like to see our work in action? Sign up with Engine Academy to build a thriving community with online courses and so much more.

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