A new report published by conversational AI provider for healthcare Hyro reveals that US healthcare contact centers are significantly behind private sector entities in customer satisfaction. Only 51% of patients said that they were satisfied with their healthcare provider's contact center.
The report also indicates a positive correlation between patient satisfaction with contact center service and profit margins for healthcare organizations. Nearly 70% of respondents that are very satisfied with the level of service of their call center also said that profit margins were 'better than expected'. However, 84% of respondents cited that their contact centers still use interactive voice response (IVR) for inbound calls, an outdated technology first widely adopted in the 1960s.
Contact center budgets could also be managed more efficiently and contribute to a better experience. On average, 42% of annual call center operating budgets are spent on labor costs which include hiring, onboarding, salaries, and benefits. Many respondents note staff burnout and turnover as primary causes of contact center inefficiency. Interestingly, healthcare providers allocate a modest 0.6% of their operational budget to tech solutions that could help agent burnout. This could also be due to 67% of healthcare contact center leaders having a hard time proving ROI internally.
The majority (74%) still feel pressured by their system’s executives to show that contact centers could be profit generators rather than cost centers.
Winds of change
It's not all bad news for healthcare contact centers. We've all been reading about the benefits of AI-based solutions, and these could help healthcare organizations as well. The report reveals that 46% of healthcare providers are planning to deploy or are already in the process of deploying LLM-based solutions - such as ChatGPT - within the next 12 months.
Additionally, the study reveals a connection between the magnitude of the healthcare system and the probability of incorporating these technologies. Larger and more intricate multi-hospital systems show a higher tendency to embrace LLMs, partly due to the pivotal role that AI assistants can play in mitigating the bottlenecks frequently experienced by large organizations.
"The healthcare call center ecosystem is on the cusp of a once-in-a-generation transformation, powered by advances in generative AI capabilities. Overburdened staff are quitting the industry in droves, leading to perennial staffing shortages, and hiring more agents is not the solution to improve call centers' outputs. Conversational AI solutions can help rectify these pain points by performing the vast majority of repetitive tasks, optimizing workers' time, and saving resources for their employers," said Israel Krush, CEO and Co-Founder, Hyro.