How to Migrate to an Outsource Healthcare Call Center

When you decide to outsource your healthcare call center to an outsourcer, selecting the right vendor is just the first step. Signing the deal is only phase one of the transition. Phase two is orchestrating a smooth migration. While the details of a migration plan will vary with the scope and complexity of the work you have to move, here is a general plan that can be adapted to most any situation:Collaborate on a Transition Schedule: Work with your outsource call center to determine the ideal transition schedule to balance your mutual needs. As I mentioned in “Six Steps to Outsource Your Healthcare Call Center,” to ensure a successful migration, both the call center and the outsourcer need to work together. Never set an arbitrary timetable and require your outsource call center to meet it. Nothing good happens when you rush. Likewise, don’t let the outsourcer completely dictate the schedule, either. Instead work together to balance your needs with their paradigms. This will produce a smooth changeover that generates the best results with the least headaches.Prioritize Transition Targets: If at all possible, avoid a mass cutover of all work at one time. Move calls over in bite-size chunks. This allows the outsource call center to ramp up in a controlled manner, as well as making it easier to deal with any unexpected hiccups. If multiple call centers are moving, focus on them one at a time. For an individual call center, look at types of calls. For one center, with one call type, consider sharing the traffic or moving over specific shifts. Start Small: Regardless of how you strategize the transition, move the easy work first, and save the harder aspects for last. Let them walk before they run.Build Up: Taking a message is easier than scheduling an appointment, which is easier than setting up a consult, which is easier than telephone triage. Start small. Build on initial successes to prepare for work that is more complex later on.Test First: Do some testing before routing any real calls to your outsource call center. Though your outsourcer should do this as part of their training (verify this), conduct some trial calls yourself. Have your staff place test calls to their agents. Make this fun. The goal is not to trip up your outsourcer but to make sure they are ready to handle all call types. In doing so, you will also confirm they have access to all needed resources, including your internal databases. Plus it will be a basic test of their telephony infrastructure. Once your testing of their agents, processes, and technology is complete, then you can begin moving calls over.Leave the Door Open: You should expect a smooth transition when moving calls over to an outsource call center provider, but at the same time have a contingency plan in the unlikely event of a problem. That is, be able to switch calls back to your in house call center at a moment’s notice. Any number of factors could cause this, and though your outsourcer should have extensive experience in successfully migrating calls without problems, having a fallback plan is wise insurance. Follow these steps to smoothly migrate your healthcare calls to your callcenter outsourcer with the least amount of headaches. Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center industry and who provides a healthcare call center matchmaking service. Contact Janet at or call 800-901-7706. Peter Lyle DeHaan  is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.