Call Center Update: What Does the Future Hold?

July 21st, 2016 No comments

3D Operator working in a call centerLast year, we published a three-part blog series* that talked a lot about the future of call centers. Much has been said over the past years about the “death” of call centers, but so far, emerging technologies (e.g., VoIP technology, Web/voice integration, etc. ), updated digital marketing strategies (e.g. CRM platforms, etc.) and healthcare’s movement toward ACOs, Population Health and its continual search for cost reduction have kept call centers in the picture, albeit in a different structure and appearance than 20 years ago. Often, in an elevated position of importance to the health system.

A recent Slideshare from Xerox again raises the notion of the call center’s demise. The first sentence states, “It looks like the call center’s days are numbered.” Really? Let’s look at the information presented in the Slideshare.

According to a Xerox survey, 42% of the survey respondents said that call centers will be nonexistent by 2025. Ironically, the respondents also say that call centers are their preferred means of communication with an organization (25% of worldwide respondents, 31% of US respondents).

So, what’s next? Survey respondents believe that automated systems will be the replacement for call centers. After all, everything else is headed towards automation – why should customer service be any different?

Considering that over one-third of call center volume is due to failure of digital channels meeting the customer’s needs, and that each call that results from a digital channel failure costs $10, if automation becomes the de facto replacement for call centers, then automation has to get it right. In the Xerox survey, while 56% of respondents said they’re fine with using a virtual assistant, the problem is when they can’t find what they need with a virtual assistant, it necessitates a call – ironically – to the call center.

The bottom line: Customers want to communicate with businesses and organizations in the fastest, most hassle-free manner possible. Businesses and organizations must keep an eye on costs while keeping customers happy. So until automated processes can meet or exceed human interaction, the call center will remain a viable option. And it may be that more call centers will evolve to a revenue-producing center.

How’s that, you say? As we noted in Part 2 of our series last year, as self-help options and user communities proliferate, only the most complex problems and issues will go to the call center. Thus, call center agents will need a wider range of skills – excellent communication skills, analytical problem solving skills, project management skills and technical training to be able to adapt to changes in technology. Today’s call center agents will have to become tomorrow’s “super agents,” able to assist customers with the most complex issues in the most efficient and effective manner. These super agents may help increase customer retention and may even provide a premium service for which customers are willing to pay because of the superior experience.

So, it appears that the end of the call center – as we know it – is on the horizon. But that’s not a bad thing, because its replacement will bring about quality, smart solutions, more and better relationships … and profit.

If your organization has a call center and you’re not already looking toward its future, you might want to start by identifying where your customer communication strategy is headed.

*Part 1: http://www.greystoneblog.net/the-call-center-sounding-a-death-knell-or-seeking-a-new-identity-part-1-where-weve-been-where-were-going/; Part 2: http://www.greystoneblog.net/the-call-center-sounding-a-death-knell-or-seeking-a-new-identity-part-2-moving-toward-the-call-center-of-the-future/; Part 3: http://www.greystoneblog.net/the-call-center-sounding-a-death-knell-or-seeking-a-new-identity-part-3-adapting-to-new-uses/

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We’re 20 Years Old Today!

July 15th, 2016 3 comments

“One indication that an organization is doing the right things inside and outside the company is longevity.” – Pat Perry, President, ERC.

20-Years (2)

On July 15, 1996, John Eudes, Kathy Divis and Bob Noel gathered around Kathy’s dining table in her home on Greystone Circle and decided to form a healthcare internet consulting firm. The rest, as they say, is history.

The internet was still a pretty new thing back in 1996, and very few people in healthcare were even thinking about using the internet for marketing purposes, let alone actually planning a marketing strategy around it. The newly-formed Greystone Group—which ultimately became Greystone.Net—paved the way for implementing healthcare marketing strategies that utilize today’s latest technologies.

Along the way, we’ve developed relationships with amazing people and organizations. It’s so gratifying to see all the great work being done in our industry!

With gratitude—and no small amount of modesty—we’d like to share some thoughts from a few of our wonderful friends and colleagues.

“Such an exciting year for you all! Watching as Greystone has grown from its beginnings with John Eudes and Kathy Divis into what it has become today–a leader in innovative Digital Healthcare strategies, comprised of a team of stellar, multi-talented individuals–has been an amazing journey! Congratulations on all you’ve done in your first 20 years … and all you’ll continue to do in the next 20 years!” — Forum for Healthcare Strategists Colleagues: Judy, Daniel, Jen, Debbie, Krista

“Beginning with founder John Eudes and continuing today under the leadership of Kathy Divis, Greystone.net is a quality organization. Quality in its people, products, services and contributions to the industry. Quality is part of the firm’s DNA, which is why they are so trusted by so many. Greystone has not only added value to their clients but to the entire healthcare marketing industry!” — Jean Hitchcock, President, Hitchcock Marketing & Communications

“Twenty years of sage digital strategy counsel and great friendships! Life is a joy when you get to work with smart people who you really like. Congratulations on your first 20 years and here’s to 20 more!” — Rob Klein, Founder & CEO, Klein & Partners

“It was amazingly visionary to start Greystone in 1996, when home PCs were still relatively rare, and you still got an argument about whether this ‘internet thing’ was going to last. From my first moments as a healthcare internet marketing professional, Greystone was there to guide me. From the conferences to the consulting services to the friendship and sage advice the Greystone gang always offered, it’s hard for me to imagine my journey in this field without them. And having the brief but noteworthy privilege of being part of that gang for a short while was icing on the cake. Thanks for all you have done, for all you do and for all I’m certain you will do. You helped define an industry that has helped define my career.” – Neal Linkon, Director, Digital Engagement at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

“Greystone.net has been an active part in shaping my career. Through their consulting engagement with the University of Arkansas for Medical Science they recommended that UAMS hire me, which started my career in the healthcare internet world. Greystone’s advice and training allowed our team at UAMS to develop a strong Web Center and execute the Internet business plan they wrote with us. Now as I lead a digital marketing firm, Team SI, I appreciate Greystone’s continued leadership in consulting and education pushing the healthcare industry to innovate.” — Lannie Byrd, Chief Operating Officer, Team SI

Not only is this year the 20th anniversary of Greystone.Net, but in November we will also celebrate the 20th Annual Healthcare Internet Conference in Las Vegas. The conference was the first national healthcare meeting to focus on technology and the internet, and continues to attract the best and the brightest in our industry, in terms of both speakers and attendees.

The Healthcare Internet Conference was essential to helping me learn the industry and get up to speed when I accepted my first healthcare marketing role in 2003. I still reach out to people I met in those first few years for ideas and advice. I can’t even begin to state how invaluable the connections and friends I’ve made at the conference have been to my continued success.

A few years (and hospitals) later, the conference continues to be the place I look forward to going to spend a few days sharing ideas, networking and taking stock of where our industry is heading. Just when I think I’ve learned everything I need to know to get my job done, someone always shows up with something new that I can’t wait to try tackling when I return to the office. Looking forward to toasting HCIC’s 20th anniversary in Las Vegas!” – Andy Gradel, System Director, Digital Marketing at Main Line Health

We like to think we’ve done some things right over the past 20 years, and will continue to do so well into the future. Thank you, everyone, for your faith and trust in us!

Categories: Odds and Ends Tags:

Making the Right CMS Decision: Greystone Can Help

June 10th, 2016 No comments

After going through the long, arduous and expensive process of choosing a CMS and getting it up and running, the last thing the folks in the C-suite want to hear is “Oops! I think we picked the wrong CMS!” Especially if, prior to the selection being made, someone in the C-suite said, “I don’t care which solution we pick, just pick one and let’s get on with it so we don’t delay our new Web site any longer!!”

Ouch.

Picking the right content management system (CMS) is one of the biggest decisions a hospital or health system can make that has the greatest impact on the future success of their Web endeavors. Yet the process involves a lot of time and effort that most people don’t really have to spare from their regular jobs. So, how can you perform the necessary due diligence while also maintaining your current system and processes in the meantime?

Greystone can help! Before you get bogged down in the laborious CMS selection process, let us help you:

* Save time you don’t really have to spare. The details and work required during the process can be overwhelming. Just answering all the vendor’s questions or dealing with their salespeople can take hours. Concentrate on your “real” job while Greystone assumes those tasks for you.

* Use a fair, objective process for reviewing CMS options. With our knowledge of and experience with the vendors, what they offer, what they are capable of and how they price, we can walk you through the process, foresee problems and make sure you are getting the information you need to make an informed decision for your organization.

* Utilize a proven process for vetting CMS vendors. Without specific functional and technical requirements that match your needs/goals, it is nearly impossible to measure or compare proposals. Let Greystone share their proven methodology with you to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison on the key features important to your organization. And, use our scoring methodology to ensure an unbiased outcome.

In the past several years, Greystone has had the good fortune to work with dozens of organizations on a CMS selection process. From our experience, picking the right solution is rarely obvious without turning over a few rocks and meticulously reviewing the solution options. There is never any guarantee that everything will go perfectly, but a thoughtful and deliberate approach to selecting the right solution will minimize the chances of making a big CMS selection mistake.

Don’t risk making such a critical decision without all the knowledge and support you need. Visit our Website to learn more about our Vendor Selection Counsel services. Or contact Greystone.Net at 770-407-7670, email us at info@greystone.net or request a consult.

Categories: CMS Tags:

CMS Selection: Who Decides?

June 9th, 2016 No comments

The decision has been made: It’s time for a new content management system (CMS). But before you start sending out RFPs, do you know exactly what you’re looking for? And who in your organization should be included in the selection process?

A CMS is a major purchase for any organization in terms of financial outlay as well as its impact once it’s implemented. Thus, it behooves the organization to plan carefully prior to talking with potential CMS vendors.

We reached out to some experts in the field for their thoughts on who should be included among the decision-makers. Our appreciation goes out to Melissa Tait and Andy Berling at The Primacy; Ben Dillon at Geonetric; and Brian Bierbaum at Bluespire Marketing for sharing their perspectives.

Across the board, our experts agree that it is vitally important to include all key stakeholders. It will be up to you to determine who those stakeholders are for your organization.

Melissa and Andy told us that to ensure a successful implementation, both the Marketing and IT teams should contribute to the selection process as both business and functional goals are considered. If a client is hosting the CMS platform, it’s essential for IT to be a part of the decision making process. Be sure to leverage your agency’s CMS and development expertise as they’ve been through implementations many times before and can help guide you through considerations that you may not have considered.

Ben says that when it comes to buy-in, it’s important to get input from all key executive stakeholders. Remember, each stakeholder has a different agenda. Try to get input from marketing, public relations, I.T., key service lines, human resources (for most sites, “careers” is a top-visited section) and other important stakeholders in your organization. If the stakeholders are involved in the development of the site and understand the value, they are more likely to support the rollout of the features.

But when it comes to making the final decision, Ben adds, you have to ask yourself: Do all stakeholders have an equal vote or not? His group always recommends that the business representatives (people responsible for the websites) maintain decision authority.

Brian’s perspective is that selection of a CMS is often (or should be) part of a broader discussion around the organization’s enterprise marketing management stack of technology. The last thing you want to do is to purchase marketing software in a silo and neglect integration considerations with the rest of the enterprise. Marketing and IT/IS should be key stakeholders in the selection process and will know of other departments that may be leveraging a CMS in another capacity. Marketing is typically the “power user” of the CMS and as such, should lead a cross-department requirement gathering exercise to identify needs.

If you’re having trouble getting started on the CMS selection process, Greystone.Net can help! Our Vendor Selection Process can help to ensure that you find the best CMS platform and implementation vendor for your organization’s goals with an aligned corporate culture.

For more information about CMS and your organization, contact Greystone.Net at 770-407-7670, email us at info@greystone.net or fill out our online information request.

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Website Satisfaction Surveys: Why Is Healthcare The Late Adopter?

June 2nd, 2016 No comments

As a group of healthcare-specific Website consultants, we spend our day-to-day freshening up on the digital trends within and outside of our industry. It’s no secret that healthcare is typically one step behind most industries in the adoption of trendy tech gadgets. And it often makes sense, as we are typically on tighter budgets because marketing often takes a back seat to the medical supply needs.

But it is hard to ignore the constant satisfaction surveys that pop up on every Website–well, all except for most healthcare Websites.

Why is every other industry making Website satisfaction surveys a priority? Well, the answer is simple: If you don’t know what your customers want, then you are wasting your marketing dollars. Other industries recognize the importance of finding out what their customers want before they spend time, effort and money on marketing. Healthcare needs to act on this as well.

We know that users are never satisfied. They are constantly looking for a better user experience. Websites are subject to entropy and need regular course adjustments. Furthermore, we recognize that healthcare needs are different than most industries–the decision to choose a healthcare provider is incomparable to the decision to buy one pair of shoes over another pair. It has become clear that providers don’t need a “typical” satisfaction survey–they need a Website patient experience survey.

So, with the expertise of Klein & Partners, nationally recognized healthcare research and consulting firm, we developed a patient experience survey called gSight℠. But our expertise does not end at the development stage. Along with your gSight survey tool, we provide a dashboard with real-time analytics along with white glove quarterly reports that include specific data points and recommendations for improvements based on your survey results. This is the only healthcare-specific survey developed by healthcare experts.

To find out more about gSight:

Categories: Analytics, Strategy, Usability Tags: