Why Assistentcy’s ‘Personal-Touch’ Approach is Still So Important
As early as 2013, Time magazine was referring to those born between 1980 and 2000 as the ME Generation. Today, in the second decade of the millennium, we find ourselves embroiled in an often impersonable period of history, consumed by selfies, cellphones and automation. We order meals by number through a drive-thru speaker, have groceries delivered and dropped outside our doors, and spend more time texting with our friends than speaking with them. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made things worse. Is it any wonder that many people today believe healthcare has also taken the sterile and inhospitable approach so many other businesses have?
Despite the honorable mission of providing quality medical care to our nation’s sick and injured, a large percentage of consumers suppose that today’s healthcare facilities and professionals have also surrendered to the fast-paced and immediate demands of society.
Hospitals and physician’s offices were once thought of as the primary ‘anchor institutions’ in our communities. Although they still play a major role in the social and economic vitality of the cities and towns they inhabit, Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys continue to indicate many facilities struggle to remain the comfortable and inviting locations they once were. To help with the speed and efficiency we all demand these days, healthcare has been required to adapt in ways that limit the ‘personal touch’ which was once the cornerstone of the healthcare experience.
This is nowhere more evident than with the billing process for medical services. Of course, there is no time in history when patients were ever eager or excited to receive a hospital bill, but there was once a time when the means and method felt much more thoughtful and compassionate.
In fact, these feeling have only become more pronounced as billing has been outsourced to offshore companies or large call centers specializing in integrated voice recognition (IVR), automated telephone menus, and communication via website only.
The ‘Live’ Representative Approach
The use of IVR and other automated menu telephone systems by many companies, including many that specialize in early-out, is meant to eliminate the cost of employing a full-time staff. At Assistentcy, we don’t believe that saving a few dollars is worth alienating your patients over.
In the Sitel Group’s 2018 Index Report, 70% of consumers indicated they would rather speak with a human customer service representative. Of that total, 48% of these consumers cited their lack of confidence in digital assistance to understand or help with their unique issues.
In addition to providing customized billing statements, Assistentcy still employs a team of live representatives to speak to your patients. Our Assistentcy account representatives take the time to train extensively on your office policies and operate according to your core values and mission statements in every interaction with your hospital or physician’s patients. This knowledge helps us to understand your unique needs and the way you value and prefer your business being conducted. In this way, we can assist every patient using the knowledge and understanding your staff and your patients have come to expect.
A Vonage survey recently cited just this month in a Customer Think article indicated that “61 percent of consumers believe that reaching an IVR menu makes for a poor customer experience.”
In stark contrast, our Assistentcy team is not only concerned with recovering self-pay and after insurance balances from your patients, but in assisting them with their billing questions and any issues they may have. In essence, our goal is aimed at more than your bottom line in the short-term, but in helping to form a stronger partnership with your patients. At the end of the process, we work to succeed in leaving your patients with a positive ‘human’ experience that makes them feel more comfortable and confident in the services you provide throughout the life of their interactions with your facility.
Of course, there are still a significant number of consumers that ultimately prefer text, e-mail or website communication for questions and payments. Assistentcy recognizes this need and offers these options to your patients as well. Nevertheless, having our team of live representatives at the ready has eliminated the need for unwanted automated telephone menus and diminished the need for extensive and frustrating ‘hold’ times. Instead, your patients can have their questions answered in real time and by real people when they need our assistance most.
With the ‘No Surprises Act’ becoming effective this year, it is easier than ever for patients to venture outside of their health insurance carrier’s network to seek medical services. Now, more than ever, providing not only the best in medical care, but the best in customer service has become tantamount to your success.
By helping build lasting relationships with the assistance of our live representatives, Assistentcy can work to ensure that when medical services are needed, your patients will come back to the facility where they received the best treatment: from the admissions process to their services, and right on through to their final payment.
It is of note that in a 2011 Customer Experience Impact Report, Oracle calculates that 89% of customers will begin business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. Perhaps more importantly, however, Bain & Co. estimates that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%.
With medical providers on every corner in every major city, these are statistics that cannot be ignored. When it comes to your early-out billing needs, consider Assistentcy and the ‘personal touch’ it has to offer to help you make these figures a reality.