Now Is the Time to Determine Your Call Center’s Key Initiatives for Next Year
By Janet Livingston
As we transition from summer to fall, now is a great time to begin planning for next year. Yes, we still have the final quarter left in this year, but don’t leave thoughts for what your next year might look like until New Year’s Day. And certainly don’t put off planning altogether. “As the saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
Here are some areas to consider when you contemplate major initiatives for your healthcare call center for next year.
Every call center can improve the quality of their service. Some have much to do in this area and others not so much. But if you think you’ve achieved the ideal level of quality, you’re making a grave mistake. That’s because patient and caller expectations continually increase. This means that what was acceptable a few years ago is no longer good enough, that what was excellent is now only passable. We should always strive for continual improvement.
What quality improvement goals might you set for next year?
Roll Out New Services
Just as people’s expectations for call quality increase from year-to-year, so too does their appetite for sleek, powerful new services. These fall into two categories. The most obvious category is a service that requires new technology to implement. (See next point.) The other category, which isn’t so obvious, is packaging your existing technology with your employee’s capabilities to produce some new, innovative offering that will delight callers.
What new services can you introduce next year that will help you serve callers more effectively and establish your call center as a best-in-class provider?
Technology is another continually evolving variable to address. If you have premise-based solutions, they become dated fast and obsolete within a few years. Is it time to replace your aging technological infrastructure with something more powerful and effective?
Even if you have a hosted call center solution, you may not have the current version with all the needed modules. Fortunately with hosted solutions, upgrades are easier, and many providers apply them automatically. Yet this is still an area to investigate.
What technology upgrades can you implement in your call center next year to increase efficiency and improve effectiveness?
Improve Financial Standing
If your call center is an in-house operation, you may not have a direct revenue component tied to the work you do. Still, your operation has costs that appear in your organization’s financial reports. Are you a cost center (which is a bad place to be) or a profit center (which is a good place)? Take steps to transition your call center from a cost center to a profit center. This will make it more difficult for upper management to cut your budget. And if you’re already in the profit center category, seek ways to increase the profit component. That will get everyone’s attention.
And if you’re an outsource call center, the fees your clients pay for your services are what keeps your company in business. Look for ways to increase revenue. This can come from multiple sources, including price increases, adjusting rates for unprofitable clients, selling add-on services to existing clients, and sales and marketing initiatives to new clients. Everything you do to increase the revenue of your call center will help ensure your long-term viability.
What steps can you take next year to improve the financial standing of your call center?
In the call center industry, especially for the healthcare sector, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of reacting to the day-to-day pressures of operating a call center with no time left to plan for your long-term well-being. Don’t let that happen to your operation. Begin planning now to make next year your call center’s best year yet.
Janet Livingston is the CEO of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier consultancy and service provider for healthcare call centers and medical answering services. Contact Janet at email@example.com or call 800-901-7706.