Raising the Standards of the Telephone Call Center

When the Affordable Care Act website was encountering some problems, a phone number was given for customers to dial into to seek assistance. For those of us dealing with call center software, though, the notion of a telephone-only call center seemed like a well-intentioned – yet perhaps unrealistic – solution to a multi-channel problem.

Those in the health policy industry tend to agree. “The telephone call center is not a realistic alternative to the website,” explained Adam Linker, health policy analyst for the North Carolina Justice Center, a consumer advocacy group.

Currently, U.S. Health and Human Services is utilizing 17 call centers with more than 10,000 trained representatives, where each center operates 24 hours a day. While everyone seems to be adding in their two cents on this issue, we’d like to toss in one more coin of advice and outline some of the tools that every call center should be utilizing, regardless of their association to the U.S. government.

Multi-channel Options

In addition to telephone service, a great multi-channel approach for any call center involves utilizing e-mail, chat, social media and a host of other options. At the same time, the right call center software needs to be put in place to make each facet of this approach as effective as possible.

While glitches in the Affordable Care Act roll-out are quite unfortunate for the U.S. government, they should provide lessons to every call center manager about the importance of taking a multi-channel approach and to ensuring that every element of the call center experience is working at an optimum level at all times.

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