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Healthcare Call Centers

Seek Rules You Can Eliminate to Empower Your Call Center Staff

Make Sure the Procedures You Expect Your Employees to Follow Still Make Sense for Their Job Today

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

By Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD

We’ve talked about asking your staff for feedback and using their input to uncover ways to tweak your procedures. One way to do this is to eliminate processes that keep your call center staff from doing the job you hired them to do.

Many of the instructions you provide your staff exist to address a past problem. Though some of these scenarios recur too often, other situations may have been an isolated instance that’s unlikely to repeat. 

Other expectations exist to accomplish management goals and advance operational paradigms. Though well intended and once applicable, their purpose may have lost relevancy over time.

With this background in mind, let’s reevaluate the procedures—that is, the rules—you’ve put into place for your staff. Consider these options:

Eliminate Obsolete Policies

Too many call center procedures once made sense but no longer do. You can make everyone’s job in your medical call center easier by eliminating unnecessary rules. The fewer procedures you expect your staff to follow, the better they’ll adhere to the ones that remain.

Simplify Existing Rules

Another category is procedures that have detailed and exacting expectations to follow. Although the general impetus behind the procedure still stands, you can look to lessen its severity. This could include reducing the number of steps required, removing time-consuming doublechecks, or empowering agents to act in specific situations without supervisor approval.

Implement Helpful Guidelines

Though our focus is on reduction, this doesn’t mean all procedures are bad. In fact, you may need to add some. 

Look for areas of ambiguity that your staff routinely struggles with. Could you ease their burden by giving them specific guidelines to follow? Would a straightforward procedure save them the agony of trying to make a quick determination to address a perplexing scenario?

Conclusion

All call centers, especially those in the healthcare industry, require rules to run efficiently and effectively. But not all rules are good. You should eliminate some and simplify others. Also look to implement judicious rules that will help staff deal with challenging situations. 

The goal is to make their job easier. When you do this, everyone benefits: you, your staff, your organization, and your callers.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is the publisher and editor-in-chief of AnswerStat and Medical Call Center News covering the healthcare call center industry. Read his latest book, Sticky Customer Service.