Importance of Scripting for Medical Call Centers
One of the first person-to-person connections a patient makes with a healthcare organization is often through a phone call. Whether the caller’s intent is to schedule an appointment, ask a question, or report an emergency, the way an operator handles that call plays a large role in patient care and satisfaction. Every phone call is an opportunity for the operator to uphold an organization’s values and provide excellent service.
Call center scripting within healthcare organizations helps operators guide patients through a phone call by asking the right questions, providing the right answers, and directing their call to the right person or department. Once the scripts have been programmed into the call center software, the call center agents simply read the prompts and follow the script.
Hospital call centers that implement scripting report improved efficiency, reduced operator errors, increased patient satisfaction, and improved employee satisfaction.
Top 5 Reasons Healthcare Organizations Implement Call Center Scripting
Scripting removes the guesswork by providing operators with the right answers to caller questions. When a call center is also responsible for multiple departments, scripting ensures that the right data is collected from the caller, the most updated information is given to the caller, and the correct action is taken at the end of the call.
For example, a 1Call customer located in the Midwest has a hospital call center that uses scripting to manage 850,000 calls per year. The call center supports multiple departments that have departments within departments – so their scripting needs can be quite complex. However, their staff who may have limited or no IS experience, can easily build customized scripts for any type of call for any department in as little as 20 minutes.
Scripts are especially helpful in emergency or code call situation, when anxiety is high and lives are at stake. The operator needs to make quick decisions and communicate critical information as clearly and succinctly as possible.
Holly Ritchison, former Communications Manager at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, NE, explains their scripting protocol for Code Adam (missing child). “When an operator gets a code call, the anxiety level goes up immediately. The operator selects from drop-downs: What is the age of the child? Is it male or female? What color shirt are they wearing? After they make these selections, all of that information drops into one phrase that is a complete phrase of all the choices they've made so that they can say, 'Emergency code Adam, six-year-old male wearing a red shirt, blue shorts. Last seen in the gift shop.’ So it's very easy for them to make the proper announcement and have it come out correctly."
Call centers typically receive hundreds if not thousands of calls every day. Instead of putting the caller on hold and searching for answers, operators whose call centers use scripting have the information they need in just a couple of clicks. This way, calls can be processed in a matter of seconds.
Scripts help ensure the call center agent gets the right data from the caller, reducing the need to make a return call to request more information or to make a correction in the information provided.
Operators can also be trained more quickly when scripts are involved. At Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Ritchison states that new operators can be trained to handle any kind of call in just 12 hours because the decision making was already programmed into the script.
Improve organization messaging and branding.
When the call center agent is the front line of a healthcare organization’s customer service, what they say matters because they could be creating the patient’s first impression of the organization. Scripting can use the kind of language that adheres to the heatlhcare organization's policy. For example, an organization can include an empathy statement the operator reads before ending or transferring a call.
Scripts also keep the operators from violating any regulations because they know the next thing to say. And it ensures that the operator is always keeping the patient’s needs first.
Increase patient and operator satisfaction.
Efficient and accurate call handling makes everyone happier. Callers no longer need to wait on hold for operators to track down answers to their questions. The operator instills confidence in callers through a series of logical questions to provide clear, succinct answers. Patients can trust that their details are being recorded correctly when the operator is able to read the information back to them without errors.
Because scripting helps reduce call times and the need to put callers on hold, operators are more likely to meet their goals for number of calls answered per day, length of call, length of hold times, and other metrics deemed significant by their organization. Teams who meet and even exceed their goals report greater job satisfaction and reduced stress.
Scripting also simplifies the operator’s job, however complicated it may be. The communication center at Children’s handles the hospital’s inside calls, appointment requests, environmental services, transport dispatch, and more. Ritchison says, "At Children's, everything is scripted and the difference is like night and day for ease of use on the operator end."
When it’s time to choose a scripting program for your call center, look for software that is easy to edit, integrates with your EHR for further efficiency and accuracy gains, and is supported by top-rated customer service around the clock.
1Call’s scripting provides:
- Intuitive drag-and-drop interface to build custom scripts
- EHR integration to further improve data accuracy and efficiency
- Color coded calls to identify call types
- Automatic navigation
- Time of day / Day of week messaging
Discover the difference scripting can make for your organization. Schedule a demo today.