LVM Systems: Recession-Proof Success Through Putting Clients First

In August of 2008, LVM Systems celebrated its 20 year anniversary. Its reputation has been based on a few simple tenets: comprehensive software, outstanding customer support, and proven clinical content (Schmitt-Thompson protocols, AAFP health information, and QualityMetric clinical tools).

This foundation has served LVM Systems well. Even in the current recession, LVM Systems continues to be profitable and carries no debt.  They have never had to lay-off staff or reduce their support services team. LVM understands that word-of-mouth referrals are its most powerful asset in attracting new clients. Referrals only occur when existing clients are very happy. “I’m a tech guy,” says Les Mortensen, president of LVM Systems.  “In the early years, I would have told you our success was because of the product but for some time now, I’ve come to realize it’s the relationships. We put clients first and in return, they trust us. It’s a partnership.”

This profile addresses LVM’s philosophy of “putting clients first” and describes how it has served as an inspiration for their ongoing product and development paths.

Efficiency: Healthcare call centers are inherently efficient and cost-effective. They centralize communications and manage access to their organization’s resources. As the recession has increased focus on operational efficiency, call center managers are being asked to take on additional responsibility. These new “opportunities” are not always paired with additional staff, so managers are frequently seeking ways to “do more with less.” LVM offers a range of solutions across various communication channels that boost efficiency and help call centers meet the needs of demanding audiences.

LVM’s Centaurus software itself saves staff time and wages. On average, call centers that switch to LVM from other systems shave ten to fifteen percent off their call handle times and eliminate hundreds of hours spent creating and producing custom reports.

WebLink Self-Service Interface: Consumer demand and the push for cost-reduction have driven much communication to the Web. It’s no secret that consumers want to be able to do more online. The current generation of parents love to use symptom checker tools like HouseCalls Online before taking action to address their children’s health issues. In addition, the age range for “health seekers,” the term coined in 2001 for those exploring health issues online, has extended well into the 65+ age segment.

In recent years, health systems have been forced to examine alignment of their communication channels.  Having one set of staff to maintain the website databases and another to manage call center databases is wasteful, not to mention a nightmare to keep synchronized. Healthcare organizations are excited to find LVM Systems has a fully-integrated Web/call center offering. WebLink offers real-time integration with the call center software. This eliminates thousands of hours of behind-the-scenes manual processing and works from a single data set.

Aside from the Web, LVM has invested in additional communication channels: touch-tone response (TTR), text-to-speech, and text messaging. They optimize efficiency and consumer choice. The benefit for either TTR or text messaging is that two-way contact can be made without staff time and expense. However, a downstream benefit has been better programs and services, presenting more options to consumers. LVM clients have been intrigued by the new channel opportunities and continue to think of even more creative uses.

Touch Tone Response: LVM’s initial impetus came from the desire to help their disease management clients become more efficient and cost-effective. By automating outbound reminders and surveys, these centers could contact their patients at appropriate frequencies to push or gather information. Outbound messages can be recorded in staff’s own voices for greater personalization.

Text-to-speech is an option that trades this personal touch for the benefit of speed to implementation. It requires less preparation and still delivers good, clear messaging.

Text Messaging: LVM has also implemented a text message solution. The popularity of this medium makes it a no-brainer for reminders. Short surveys are also easily implemented and set-up costs are much less than with other interactive voice options.

Effectiveness: Call centers are constantly challenged to prove their current value, examining their outcomes and program effectiveness. At the end of the day, the real test has been the center’s impact on customer relationships, expressed in the financial terms of visits, registrations, and procedures.

CRM (customer relationship management) has been a buzzword since the early 1990s, yet few organizations excel in leveraging all their customer data and cultivating loyalty that can be banked on. LVM has addressed that challenge, and its clients are experiencing extraordinary increases in return on investment (ROI).

Through its strategic partnership with CPM Marketing Group, LVM Systems has incorporated a real-time CRM interface for customer information into their Centaurus call center software. The resulting product, Instant-CRM, prompts call center staff with a display of relevant service offers– currently available up-sell opportunities and ongoing cross-sells– based upon the caller’s known health needs and previous interests. The outcome is a dramatic increase in the successful cross-selling of organizational programs and services. Reporting, a long-time strength of the LVM products, can demonstrate the offers available, those made at the time of the call and then the downstream revenues that result from the cross-selling encounter.

Recessionary Safety Net: Two additional anti-recession strategies are worth mentioning: webinars for LVM’s current clients and software hosting options for prospects.

Webinars: In recent webinars, LVM client services staff have provided “refresher” courses on modules and functions that exist in the software but may be unused or under-utilized. Many long-time clients are finding that Centaurus includes modules, such as surveys, patient transfer, and absence management, which could position the call center for new services and greater contribution to its organization’s bottom line.

Hosting: LVM’s Centaurus software has traditionally been installed on the client’s own servers. Using Virtual Call Center (VCC), the software resides on servers hosted in Arizona and accessed by clients via the Internet, with similar performance as though it was deployed on a local server.  Two recession-sensitive benefits are less demand on an organization’s in-house IT (information technology) personnel and an alternative financial option to capital budget requests.

The push to implement EMRs (electronic medical records) and other enterprise-wide software systems has consumed IT resources within many healthcare organizations. Implementing the Virtual Call Center, new customers omit several steps that are usually IT-dependent, such as ordering and preparing servers, installing software and ongoing updates, and establishing and managing data back-up routines.

With a “freeze” placed on capital budgets, many healthcare organizations have all but given up hope for licensing new software (or hardware). With VCC, LVM Systems offers an option to license on a monthly payment plan, if needed, to avoid requesting capital dollars. Therefore, software fees can be covered through an operational budget, a less expensive alternative than outsourcing.

This same strategy can be applied to changing software packages within the course of a budget year. If a call center’s current software has been sunset unexpectedly, choosing VCC on a payment plan may help “keep them running” during a difficult year of change.

LVM Systems has a formula that works: put clients first by delivering comprehensive software, outstanding customer support, and proven clinical content. By taking on their customer’s challenges as their own, they focus their strengths to produce efficient and effective solutions. Their company, and their customers, will be positioned to succeed in this tough economy and be even stronger for the future.

For more information, call 480-633-8200.

[From the June/July 2009 issue of AnswerStat magazine]