Answering 3 questions about interactive speech technology

Your hospital contact center staff is likely busy. Very busy. Too often underappreciated, but key to your healthcare system’s success. Your operators answer questions, field and re-direct calls, relay vital information, launch code calls, and respond to physician questions. We’ve written before about how centralizing and standardizing communications in the call center is the logical response to bring order to the chaos. 

But what if you could add a “team member” to your contact center that could increase efficiency, improve provider and patient satisfaction, and provide cost savings? Interested in this not-so-secret weapon that is already assisting and saving time and money in hospitals around the country? 

It’s time to look at interactive speech recognition technology for your contact center.  

How does IVR work? 

Interactive speech, or interactive voice response (IVR) technology, is a system that works alongside your contact center operators to process routine phone requests including directory assistance, messaging, paging, and call transfers without live operators. Using IVR, the system provides intuitive, speech-driven interactivity by prompting callers to name the person, department, or other information they’re looking to find. The system “listens” to the response, locates the information, and connects the call. 

Let’s address a few of the most common questions about IVR technology: 

How does IVR technology help call center operators? 

The latest speech recognition technologies are shown to increase efficiency. The systems automate repetitive tasks, reducing the need for human intervention in simple requests. This can free operators’ time to support more complicated requests, and higher-priority or higher-value customer needs. Interactive speech systems will also help manage the effects of being short-staffed and ease periods of high call volumes faster. System administrators can provide the most up-to-date information to callers by creating ad-hoc greetings for temporary or emergency situations such as dangerous weather, road construction, or building closures. 

With voice technology, your contact center can use automation to reduce operator call volumes. You can connect patients and their families with the information or people they need without going through an operator, allowing call center staff to focus on other responsibilities. 

Read how one Northeast hospital reduced operator call volume by 17%. 

How will interactive speech help callers to my hospital? 

Interactive voice technology helps callers transfer to their expected destination faster, by reducing needlessly long handle times due to slow systems or lack of standard procedures and practices. In some studies, customer satisfaction scores have improved by 10 percent or more. The system’s main goal is to provide fast and easy access to information and assistance. Patients and providers will be able to efficiently find and connect with the information they need, when they need it. The technology can also direct callers (external and internal) to the correct department or person within that department without operator assistance. 

With recent updates to speech-recognition technology, these systems are continually tuning their speech-based directory to ensure calls are properly connected for months or even years after install. Specific installations even allow organization-specific call-flows to make sure the patients are correctly connected in complex systems.   

Should we spend our resources on interactive voice technology? 

In a word, yes. Time is money and freeing up your staff to handle the higher-value and more time-consuming tasks is going to save you money in the long run. The other benefit that can impact your bottom line is improving patient satisfaction. An intuitive solution like interactive speech technology enables every hospital to provide information to patients in an efficient and therefore cost-effective way. It can also improve provider satisfaction by handling the internal transfers between departments and individual doctors and health team members.  

Discover 4 ways to save money for your hospital contact center  

Want to learn more and see how you can implement an interactive speech technology system in your health system? Contact our team to learn more about how interactive speech technology can offload routine requests from your contact center operators, benefit patients with a data-driven and optimized system responding quickly and accurately to their requests, and provide cost savings to your hospital. 

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