Many areas in healthcare suffer from a shortage of qualified personnel. One common area is nurses, and many healthcare call centers hire nurses to work as call center agents. And some call centers, such as nurse triage, hire only licensed nurses. Yet aside from the nurses who work in your call center, many markets have labor shortages that affect non-medical staff, too.
When labor issues and staffing shortages afflict your call center, one solution is to outsource the work. Here are some common options:
Outsource Hard to Fill Shifts: Typically third shift is the hardest to fill. Even offering a pay differential often fails to attract quality staff who will remain for the long term. So eliminate it. Schedule your staff until 11 p.m. or midnight, and then transfer all calls to your outsourcing partner. In the morning, perhaps at 6 or 7 a.m., take over again. You’ve just outsourced 25 to 33 percent of your hours of coverage and eliminated the need to staff a hard-to-fill shift.
Outsource Specific Services: Most healthcare call centers handle a variety of calls from console work (switchboard) to nurse triage and everything in between. If you’re having trouble finding enough nurses, outsource the triage calls. Yet many nurses enjoy call center work because they can still help people without encountering the physical demands of normal hospital work. So you may have enough nurses but experience a shortage of other agents. Then outsource some of the functions they handle, such as medical answering service or physician referral.
Outsource Overflow: Let’s say your existing staff can handle most of the calls most of the time, but there are a couple of hours every day where they just can’t keep up and still maintain quality. Plus unexpected events inevitably occur that cause a flood of calls. If you have an outsourcing partner backing you up, then take the calls you can and send them the rest.
Outsource 24/7: In some situations it makes the most sense to outsource the entire call center. Find a quality outsource provider, transition the work in a controlled manner, and then shut down your internal call center. Now you have no more call center labor issues to deal with. It doesn’t get any easier.
Outsourcing healthcare call center work to an experienced healthcare outsource call center is one great way to deal with staffing shortages and difficulty in finding qualified agents. Don’t struggle with staffing when you can outsource instead. We can help.
Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider for the call center industry and who offers a healthcare call center matchmaking service. Contact Janet at email@example.com or call 800-901-7706.
Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.