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Economic Instability is at a High & It’s Hurting Your Customers

Every day customers are calling your contact centers, expressing that times are tough and they need help in the form of flexibility, discounts, and financial assistance. Are you listening?

Whether or not you’re looking for them, customers are sharing unsolicited indicators of Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) that impact their daily healthcare decisions every time they call. These indicators provide a rich source of insights that can be leveraged by the clinical teams within your organization for more real-time intervention.

Our research revealed that in a COVID-19 world, the number one expression of SDOH is economic instability. All other concerns – education, food insecurity, environmental, etc. – pale in comparison. The data demonstrates that customers are freely expressing the impact of this economic hardship to anyone willing to listen, not just nurses or social workers. Billing specialists and tier 1 customer support lines are also the recipients of this weighty personal information shared by customers.

Social Determinants of Health in a COVID-19 world

Implications

Most healthcare providers could not have foreseen the extensive impact of a global pandemic on their customers or their employees. Pre-pandemic policies and procedures may no longer be sufficient, especially considering changes in SDOH such as an increase in economic instability. Revisiting your policies and the communication of those policies will provide more support to those in distress.

While agents are at the forefront of your organization, they are not prepared to field and address new customer realities. Additional investment in your people through new training, call scripts, and FAQs will better enable them to follow through on your brand promise. Because they serve as the front-lines to your customers, consider developing escalation paths for agents to refer customers to your clinical and care teams when appropriate.

Ultimately, failure to recognize unsolicited indicators of SDOH could cost your organization in the form of decreased customer engagement and missed opportunities for customers to get the help they need, thus driving up higher cost care situations down the road and impacting revenue.

Get the 2020 Customer Voices Report

Healthcare leaders can no longer afford to ignore the clues customers are dropping throughout their day-to-day conversations. Learn what matters most to healthcare consumers so you can take action within your own organization.

social determinants of health trends
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