COVID-19 has the potential to significantly impact call center operations. However, a proactive crisis management plan and a dispersed, redundant operating model can go a long way towards safeguarding your patient support programs. As governments and citizens address challenges posed by this global pandemic, many companies are limiting in-office operations or closing offices entirely. Now is a good time to evaluate your current and future reimbursement call center strategy and prepare as much as possible for the unexpected events that interrupt patient access to your therapies.
Key considerations to minimize risk and facilitate seamless call center operations:
- Redundancy: Single-site (or single-site with minimal back-up) operations are at an increased risk due to their vulnerability to local events. Conversely, large, multi-site operations allow calls to be quickly diverted to fully functioning mirrored locations in regions that have not been impacted.
- Scale: Sizable call center operations provide access to a larger pool of trained agents who can quickly ramp up and take on additional work when one region is affected.
- Diversity: Domestic and global capabilities facilitate uptime and 24×7 coverage via access to trained talent.
- Virtual readiness: Robust technology infrastructure enables seamless workforce productivity, giving employees the flexibility to work from anywhere, all while keeping your information secure.
- Business continuity plan: Your vendor should identify and establish your “back in action” strategies, including backup and recovery, redundancy and technology prowess, whatever it will take to get your operations up with as little disruption to productivity.
- Program management and training: The effectiveness of planning, site redundancy and technology readiness depends entirely on strong program management practices and well-trained agents able to quickly respond to changing demands.
- Find the right partner: Every patient support program is unique and so are delivery partners. Experience is essential, but other key capabilities to look for include cloud and virtualization expertise, alternative tools and robust platforms, strong security measures, flexibility and a proven track record for delivery.
You can’t predict the unexpected, but you can be prepared for it. Business continuity planning is a best practice in preparing for the unexpected, and should be considered a critical component of any business plan. Done right, agents remain productive, maintain necessary levels of security and control and minimize disruption to patient access.
At Covance, our Market Access & Phase IV Solutions team strives to provide seamless patient support and workforce productivity, giving employees the flexibility to work from anywhere while keeping your information secure and operations on track. Here are 4 strategies we follow to maintain patient access to call center specialists.
- Multi-site domestic call centers: Covance has four domestic call center locations across the US. These centers give us the ability to recruit from a diverse talent pool, offer direct contact with customers across multiple times zones and enable business continuity. If one site is impacted, calls can be seamlessly and automatically rerouted to another call center.
- Global service delivery model: Covance’s talented global team members and offshore call centers significantly improve inquiry resolution speed and program cost efficiency. This innovative approach and well-defined process enhances accuracy and response speeds.
- State-of-the-art technology: Our technology platform enables seamless rerouting of patient calls and provides our agents access to the systems they need.
- Virtual/remote office capabilities: Many Covance employees work remotely. This flexibility not only serves as a tool to retain our talented staff but allows us to scale and respond rapidly to global situations like COVID-19.