Creating a WOW! Experience At the First Point of Contact

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Lucy Young
Management Services
Henry Ford Health System

Henry Ford Health System (HFHS)receives over 2.5 Million calls per year to schedule appointments for their clinics. These calls were handled in a decentralized manner by over 20 individual clinics and call rooms across the System, and were experiencing 13% call abandonment rates. This presentation will show how HFHS redesigned its its "first point of contact processes" and created a new contact center based on call center industry best practices in order to achieve its service and growth goals.

In May, 2006, the Leadership of Henry Ford Health System began an initiative to improve service levels of the call handling process to schedule physician appointments across the System. We were experiencing 13% percent call abandonment rates and leaders, up through the CEO, were receiving significant complaints from patients and customers. The Director of Management Services was assigned to co-lead an initiative with the CEO of the Hospital and Health Network to redesign the process and improve call handling service levels. A related key objective was business growth: abandonned calls and poor service on the phone also resulted in loss of business, and potentially new business for the System. Related to a new retail strategy for the System, HFHS also saw the opportunity to offer and provide other health services to our patients related to their appointment, that would promote their health maintenance.

The initiative began by selecting a partner, EDS, who was identified as a leader in the contact center industry. In eight weeks, EDS completed an assessment of our call rooms and call handling processes, and help us create the model for the future, based on contact center best practices.

With the approval of HFHS's Cabinet in January 2007, the Director of Management Services developed and managed an 18-month implementation plan to build a single Contact Center for the System, centralize and redesign call handling processes, hire a new administrator, recruit and train the contact center agents, and implement new contact center technology, while addressing many change management issues and physician concerns.