As a labor sector, customer service is often underappreciated. These are the fine folks in the medical industry who solve complex logistical problems. These are the people who work as liaison between business policy and actual consumers. Every medical business has them. There has to be someone who can speak with, empathize with, and resolve issues for patients. Your customer service agents might also multitask; they most often do. Besides being the boots on the ground and face of your company they are also the gears that make the machine work. They do things like send and receive prescriptions, fill orders, annotate medical records, bill and work with insurance companies and keep your business looking and feeling great. These agents make up the bulk of the culture of any business and in our daily rat race of an industry, it is easy to let such important figures go underappreciated.
At The Diabetic Shoppe, our customer service agents are our family. They truly represent our patients and lobby for their needs when there is a difference between business policy and what our customers need. These women and men often endure hardships at both ends. On one side they have strict operating policies mandated by insurance companies, the post office, federal and local governments, and their direct management and supervisors. On the other side they deal with happy and unhappy patients who are often experiencing hardships based on the aforementioned agencies and who are often for one reason or another very angry with the results. Here is what their job is:
- Problem Solving – Make sure that no matter what else has to occur, the patient ends up happy. These problems are not one offs so the agent must keep track of many problems over a long period of time
- Business Management – Make sure that the business is positively affected by every transaction that occurs.
- Compliance – Make sure that in doing so, no laws or best practices are broken
- Benchmarking – To maintain a very strict set of performance parameters, IE: contact X number of patients per day
- Procedural activity – Each agent has a series of tasks unrelated to patient contact such as keying orders, electronic filing, audit tracking, or insurance correspondence
- Insurance Checking, Billing, Medical Coding – To be effective, each customer service agent must be trained and knowledgeable in the area of medical insurance, a very complex study in its own right
- Empathy/Education – Each customer service agent must be good with people, they must be able to empathize with patients who may be afraid, in pain, or frustrated. They must also inform.
- Competent – Each agent must be trained and fluent in things like Microsoft Office, content management systems, and prescription guidelines.
You can see these good folks do a lot more than just “answer the phone.” Remember that in our company when you call in, you are speaking with a professional who has had specialized training and education concerning the exact issues that you face every day. They have probably been solving problems like the ones you have or will encounter for years. Please be kind and patient when you speak with them, because having worked as a customer service agent for years, and working with other customer service agents here at The Diabetic Shoppe, I can tell you, we appreciate it. Trust that we are here for you and we will strive to ensure the best result for you. We don’t brag to you about how far above and beyond we always go, because that’s our job. We will stay open late for you, we will personally deliver your supplies for you, we will call you on Saturday to do meter training with you even though we’ve been working a very long week, and there is nothing that we want more than for our patients to be satisfied with our service. Please treat us well, but know that if you do or if you don’t, we will stand for you even when no one else will.
*The author of this blog is not a medical professional and this article does not contain professional medical advice. This blog is not intended to substitute for medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the contents of this article. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.