Transition to Your Outsource Healthcare Call Center in a Controlled, Orderly Manner

To outsource your healthcare call center to a medical call center specialty operation, you need to select the right vendor and then formulate a sound migration plan. A key element in your migration plan is to move calls over in bite-size chunks. This allows your outsource call center partner to ramp up in a methodical, controlled manner, as well as making it easier to deal with any problems that may occur. Never do a flash cut if at all possible. Always provide a fallback plan in the rare event the transition doesn’t go as smoothly as anticipated. The larger or more complicated the call center outsourcing, the more attention the transition plan must receive. This largely hinges on the scope of your operation. Consider these three levels of complexity when you transition calls between call centers:1) Multiple Centers: If multiple call centers are moving, focus on them one at a time. In general, transition them in order of size, from the smallest to the biggest. This puts fewer calls at risk in the early stages when unforeseen problems are most likely to occur. Once you have the order of your call centers determined, move to the next consideration: call types.2) Call Types: With a call center determined (and for an individual call center), look at the types of calls handled. If there is a way to segregate calls by function, move them over one function at a time, such as general questions, then appointments, next referrals, and finally triage. If you have an auto-attendant, use it to peel off call types in a strategic manner. Again start with the easier call types and move to the more complex ones. Once you have determined a hierarchy of call types for your call center, move to the third and final consideration: traffic sharing.3) Traffic Allocation: With your call types prioritized (and for one call center with only one type of call), consider sharing call traffic or moving over specific shifts. Traffic sharing means that calls can go to either the old or new call center, based on some sort of strategic algorithm. Time-of-day traffic sharing means that certain shifts move over to the new center, while other shifts remain at the old service. This strategy only works if both centers can access a shared database. Otherwise the logistics of traffic sharing become too cumbersome. By looking at these three levels, a strategic transition plan can move calls in a controlled manner with minimal risk. The basic tenant of the transition plan is to divide call activity into as small of pieces as possible. Move one over, verify everything is working as expected, and then move on to the next element. It might be only a few hours or a couple of days between the various call groups, but you can take more time if needed.While most all migrations to call center outsourcers go relatively smoothly, minor issues are bound to arise. Expect them, plan for them, and mitigate the overall impact. A strategic transition plan will do just that. You’ll be glad you did. 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.