When you or a loved one require services beyond what a hospital can offer, there are often questions that keep you up at night.
In business for over 30 years and named a Most Admired Company by Fortune for six years, Kindred Healthcare is the largest diversified provider of post-acute care services in the United
States. From transitional care hospitals, rehab services and nursing homes to home health services and hospice, Kindred helps patients recover to their fullest by providing care in the setting that best meets their needs.
In 2014, eager to better connect with their customer base, Kindred opened a pilot contact center in Cleveland to see what kind of traction it would have. The company’s leadership saw the pilot center’s mission as two-fold: to match customers with appropriate healthcare services and to provide exceptional service to existing patients, family members and the community at large. It wasn’t long until calls began to pour in from Texas, California and across the country – and new patients were being admitted as a result.
“Our goal is simple: to help the caller,” said Gary William’s, RN, manager of Kindred’s call center. “It’s a win-win for the financial side as well as the service and compassion side.”
When the pilot was declared successful and the call center was set to expand its operations, it was clear that in addition to offering customers the options of calling or emailing their questions, live chat was a must-have channel for effective communication. But as a healthcare organization and a “covered entity” under HIPAA, Williams knew they would need to vet their options carefully.
“When you’re discussing sensitive information and you’re looking up other resources on other screens, you need a product that is simple to use and trustworthy, as well,” Williams said.
Secure, User-Friendly and Cost-Effective
Ultimately, Kindred was won over by the Velaro platform’s ability to deliver user-friendly features while helping the company remain HIPAA-compliant. Velaro was able to setup Kindred’s instance of the software to be virtually maintenance-free. A custom-branded user interface, pre-chat and post-chat surveys and canned messages facilitated acclimation to the system for both staff and customers. And with a dedicated client services manager to see them through implementation and answer questions as they arose, it wasn’t long until Kindred’s call center team was up to speed.
“We wanted something that we wouldn’t need to cognizantly manage,” Williams said. “You don’t have to think ‘I’ve got to go in and tweak this or that.’ You can just count on it to do what it’s supposed to do.”
Since implementation, Williams has come to rely upon Velaro’s robust reporting capabilities to keep him plugged into agent and call center performance. In order to mitigate risk and protect patient privacy, Kindred’s chat transcripts are not stored; however, this has not inhibited Velaro’s capacity to provide valuable metrics on survey responses, agent performance and volume trends. Reports are delivered to Williams’ inbox every morning so he can keep a constant pulse on call center operations. And as an administrator, he holds the reins on adding new users and adjusting messaging for canned responses and surveys, as needed.
Customer Support When It’s Needed Most
Since launching the contact center, Kindred’s support staff has grown from 2 people to over 100 and they have extended their service hours from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm to a 24/7 operation. Customers can now connect with a registered nurse around the clock, and although call center agents cannot answer medical questions or make diagnoses, they are providing much-needed guidance and peace of mind for individuals who are making tough decisions about their own health or the health of a family member.
“The customer seeing that you offer [live chat] says that you truly want to help them and are giving them every option possible. We are here for our customers when they need us. If it’s 2:00 in the morning and you want to chat, we will talk to you as if it is 2:00 in the afternoon,” Williams said.
Long-term care decisions are not easy, but with a full-service contact center backed by a round-the-clock chat service, patients can breathe a little easier knowing a knowledgeable and compassionate advocate is just a click away.