First Call Resolution: Improving Customer Service Skills For Patient Satisfaction and Agent Efficiency
Increase Customer Satisfaction
During the past 12 months, our team has implemented CallMiner, a speech analytics tool. This technology turns our voice conversations into text, allowing the call center managers insight into 100% of the agent calls via an agent scorecard. CallMiner also provides searchable word strings to fine-tune agent coaching in the key areas of compliance, negotiation, and courtesy language. At first, we were excited simply to build the agent scorecard in order to score 100% of agent calls per month, rather than score five calls each month per agent as we had been doing. Little did we know, there is so much more to the technology than just scorecard analysis!
As with any technology we implement, our team builds the roll-out based on your business needs, fine-tuning as needed. We are tuning CallMiner right now to drive First Call Resolution in both our Extended Business Office (EBO) and our Third Party Collection teams.
According to the Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM), having an 80% or higher First Call Resolution Rate (FCR) is a customer service call center industry standard. This means, on average, it will take 1.4 calls to resolve a customer inquiry or to handle the reason for calling. SQM reports that only 5% of call centers reach this industry standard. State Collection Service is proud to say that based on the teams who have received specific coaching beyond the standard call center scoring, we have teams that are reaching levels of first call resolution greater than the 80% standard, with some coming close to 90%.
Improving FCR also increases overall customer satisfaction. It is reported by SQM that for each 1% improvement in FCR, there will be a 1% improvement in customer satisfaction. In addition, another key benefit is improved operational efficiency of the agent’s ability to handle unique caller situations; this lowers the stress level of the agent because second calls and beyond can become complicated.
Without speech analytics technology, it is a challenge to accurately report on First Call Resolution. Sure, we can tell you how many times we talk to a customer within a certain timeframe, but we could not tell you with absolute certainty what the nature of those conversations was. While we could receive anecdotal feedback from the agents, that could easily be tainted by their most recent caller experience.
The results are in and here’s what we have found on calls that last over two minutes in length, with more than one contact in the last 30 days. We are talking to customers about the following topics:
Now what are we doing with this new level of information?
SQM also found that the reason it may take two or more calls to properly handle a customer’s concern is this – 44% of the time the agent handling the call did or did not do something on the account to require a call back.
At State Collection Service, we are utilizing the data to pinpoint caller scenarios so we can provide additional specialized training to our agents. In one instance, we were able to make readily available the status of financial assistance applications so agents would not have to put callers on hold or do additional research and call the patient back. Other scenarios where additional training has been provided were around very specific low volume inbound call scenarios; agents were taking fewer calls that turned out to be quite complex – these agents simply needed more training on how to explain Self Administered Drug and Third Party Liability billing processes.
Janet Koltick, Senior Customer Service Specialist and EBO Patient Satisfaction Specialist, works daily to review calls and identify training opportunities. According to Janet, “What we find is that the agent wants to do well and cares about the patient, but at times can find themselves caught off guard by a question. It is our job to provide the agents with readily accessible information that will allow them to efficiently answer the patient’s question and portray a commanding knowledge of the process so the patient feels confident with the agent’s information.”
Beyond the historical data review and training, we are working with agents on the use of proper language during calls. For instance, inserting language such as “Is there anything further that I may assist you with?” or “Have I answered your questions today?” gives agents the ability to perform a service recovery while the caller is still on the line, which can ultimately increase their FCR rate. Further, through our CallMiner technology, we measure the percent of time the agents use this language and provide coaching opportunities when such language is not being utilized to the quality standard that has been established.
At State Collection Service, our representatives know that the patient experience is paramount. By continuing to grow our business intelligence to better understand what happens during patient interactions, we can improve the First Call Resolution rate. Our goal is to set the bar well beyond the 80% industry standard rates for First Call Resolution and we are taking steps toward that goal each day!
About State Collection Service, Inc.
Since 1949, State Collection Service has provided quality collection service to countless healthcare organizations.
Through experience and innovation, State Collection Service has grown to become a tremendously credible and nationally-recognized collection agency offering services from pre-registration to bad debt. It is upon the basis of ethical behavior and a dedication to integrity that each State Collection Service employee works to uphold the company’s vision – Partnerships for a Lifetime.
*This article first appeared in “A State Collection Service, Inc. Newsletter Volume 19, Issue 3, Third Quarter 2013”