Streamline Your Facility’s Patient Experience by Automating Helpdesk Processes

In a 2019 Health IT Industry Outlook Survey poll by Stoltenberg Consulting, nearly half (42%) of healthcare IT executives cited “upgrading tech to improve the patient experience” as their number-one resolution for the year.

Priority number two—for an impressive 33 percent of the interviewed experts—was to “gauge improvement in patient care.”

All these points to mounting pressures of Consumerization in healthcare, where the care provider must improve the patient experience or lose their clients to another service provider.

Patient care now goes beyond a hospital visit; customers want a full-time engagement, further highlighting the need for solutions like helpdesk software automation.

To provide this experience, service providers must tap into all the available resources, including technology.

Still, many have failed to notice how much helpdesk software systems can help steer them towards this goal.

What is a Helpdesk & How Can It Improve the Patient Experience?

A helpdesk is a software solution that eases customer communication management in a company.

This engagement tool allows businesses to organize and deal with client requests much faster and professionally, ensuring an ideal customer experience.

A helpdesk also has internal features that can help benchmark or scale a support team’s performance. This tool is almost a must-have for any brand looking to retain its customer base.

The primary reason company’s love is its operational efficiency. And hospitals are coming on board as industry players pace the shift to an era of better patient experiences.

But as much as tech has evolved, many small and large businesses still depend on manual processes to accomplish day to day tasks; when automating functions ease their work, improve patient experiences and reduce support agent burnout.

For instance, while a help desk allows you to manage patient communications, helpdesk automation (or automating most helpdesk processes) can further simplify these tasks.

Meanwhile, your human support agents take a break from the most daunting tasks that can be tackled robotically. And in the end, you’re patients walk away happy because their issues have been resolved within reasonable time.

Call it a double-edged sword or a win-win situation, whatever you like—hands down, this is the best way to make the most of a helpdesk software solution.

What is Helpdesk Software Automation?

Helpdesk automation is when you set certain helpdesk functions to work automatically. A typical example of helpdesk support automation is the automated ticketing system.

Automated ticketing is way better than the manual approach. For example, if a patient sends a help ticket, you can easily ensure that the ticket is routed immediately to the correct respondent.

However, in manual systems like shared inboxes, client tickets can easily slip into the cracks, and the matter may not be resolved in time.

An automated ticketing system plays an essential role in ensuring the accurate assigning of tickets. Automation enables the patient support agents to learn when the tasks have been posted, how user communication should be documented etc.

Other forms of Helpdesk Software Automation

Helpdesk automation allows you to do more than automate your ticketing system. Below are some of the ways automation may be helpful:

  • Asks for patient reviews or feedbacks
  • Automatically gives answers or solutions to users, for example, the use of chatbots.

Monitors agent behavior. Some technologies can tell agents when they’re speaking too fast to customers or aren’t listening carefully.

  • It takes care of the routine requests like password changes immediately.
  • It also creates rules on how the tickets are routed by using specific keywords that can help indicate if a ticket is to be tagged under a given category
  • They automatically update and send status to customers.
  • They help in tracking and managing the company’s assets the support staff are responsible for.
  • They also help in escalating major incidents upon occurrence.
  • They are good timers and can be used to schedule team members.

There are many ways to tap into the multiple pros of automation and improve your healthcare support team’s situation.

Make it a rule of thumb; if you can automate it, go ahead, as long as it does not slow down productivity or efficiency.

How Automation Works

The efficiency of helpdesk automation depends on the software one uses. Still, it helps to remember that the automation feature follows rules that you set up at a basic level. This ensures the support agents remember how to respond to any arising issues.

But some of the issues might be complex and will need special attention. When such occurs, the best reference material is a written code for that particular program.

helpdesk software automation

Helpdesk software automation is based on processes, rules, and workflows. For instance, your agents’ most repeated duties at work can be easily automated because you can build the processes around them.

Automation works best for processes that happen systematically in a working environment. It also initiates a workflow to escalate any abnormalities at the workplace.

For example, it can play a fundamental programming role that says, “I don’t understand this – escalate the ticket to X.”

There are many reasons to implement automation to your hospital’s customer communications. And price shouldn’t stop you from upgrading; the software is relatively cheap to install because offers are customizable to suit different budget sizes.

Benefits of helpdesk automation

Automation can offer numerous benefits to a medical service provider. Some of the advantages include:

Saves time for agents

It saves time for your support staff by relieving them from repetitive tasks. Plenty of spare time will allow the agents to handle more complex patient issues.

  1. Better your helpdesk use by the agents

Automation can also help in improving agents’ use of your help desk. When your agents become more efficient, you will only need a handful of workers to deliver the same output.

  1. Adds skills to agents

When you create more time for agents through automation, they can use the chance to sharpen their skills.

  1. An ideal customer experience

When the operations run smoothly and faster, there will be a turnaround for user tickets and better self-services.

  1. No missing tickets

An automated helpdesk avoids the loss of user tickets through cracks. Automation keeps track of all patient tickets ensuring that everyone is attended to.

  1. Captures and provides reference data

It stores documents safely where they can be easily retrieved for future references, unlike in the manual system where documents get lost and are almost untraceable for later use.

Ways to use Helpdesk Software Automation

Automation is a change that brings an ideal experience to your patients and healthcare support staff as well.

Often, change comes with discomfort; it may take staff time to familiarize themselves with the new normal. Automation is not an exception, but once the agents adapt to the change, the processes flow smoothly.

Statistically, 90% of consumers decide to stick or shift to other service providers based on a company’s customer experience.

Therefore, providing good customer service fosters the relationship and creates an appropriate client base. The time created through various automation tasks should help tackle major issues like building new functionality and resolving severe matters.

Below are techniques to save and create a faster and satisfying experience for patients.

  1. Creating a reminder on unsettled tickets

Almost 90% of your customers won’t sit back to wait for your response for more than an hour. Response time has a close relationship with customers’ expectations. But you can leverage automation to adjust response times to meet your patients’ hopes.

You can set reminders to notify you of any tickets that have stayed in inboxes for a longer period. This can minimize late responses and reduce churn among patients

  1. Assigning your tickets

Automation assigns tickets to the relevant support agents hence no bouncing to and fro several departments or staffs before landing into the right hands.

This relieves you of the idea of tags, thus a good time saver for both customers and staff. Implementing helpdesk automation ensures the tickets are robotically directed to the best-equipped staff to help.

Ways of Assigning Tickets via Automation

Automating ticket distribution can be tricky. Below are some ways to ensure your ticket automation sends the request directed to the right staff.

  • Automatically scan tickets for certain words or phrases before assigning them.
  • Offer users a specific topic, feature, or issue when filling out the contact form and then automatically route conversations.
  • Sort out the flows depending on tags added by the support team.
  • Direct tickets to specific persons depending on where customers sent them.
  1. Provide feedbacks

You must be in a position to respond to chats from your clients. Never create any loopholes in your conversation with a patient on chat.

Not all the customers are always willing to give you additional information every time they call. With the rapidly evolving technology, smart companies use bots to listen to customer query.

The typed message is analyzed and then sent to a specific auto-responder. This is to remind the user of the info that the team will look at.

The commonly asked questions include:

  • Please verify the last four digits of the card used to purchase?
  • What was the order number?
  • What was the name of your order?
  • When did you place your order?
  • What Email was used?
  • What is the name of the product you ordered?

Some people prefer to live chat over other forms of communication when dealing with customer service.

For this reason, no matter how faster you attend to customers’ inquiries, there must be a time difference between the time of inquiry and response.

To reduce the lag time, try and send an auto-responder to save both time and effort for patients and agents.

  1. Send correct responses<

Appropriate auto-replies are critical in both chats or via Email. Auto replies will enable your clients to know essential information like the staff’s regular working hours.

Many companies use auto-replies to let customers know their team’s regular working hours and useful information.

And lastly, it can help you scan the auto-replies if you need to send a similar one in multiples. It also checks the customer’s inquiry and customizes the response.

  1. Pass on Complex issues to more qualified staff

Don’t allow any chances of customer frustration. When the clients are disappointed, they will want to speak to a senior staff like a manager, which doesn’t sound pleasant.

This may mean you’re not qualified to serve them or too exhausted to work and can only worsen the business-customer relationship.

Customer relationships are vital for the running of a business because clients are the heart of your company.

That being said, it’s advisable to train your helpdesk to understand the customer sentiments and automatically escalate the tickets to your team leader, software engineer, workmates, or manager.

You can use simple phrases and words like

  • Frustrated
  • Discouraged
  • Angry
  • Disappointed
  • “I’m shocked…”
  • Ridiculous
  • Irritating
  • “It makes no sense.”

According to studies, more than 50% of companies use Email for customer service. But you can still escalate responses to these emails through helpdesk automation.

Using Automation to Reduce Help Desk Agent Burnout

Sometimes a helpdesk agent can be too busy due to the workload. During COVID, for instance, when several people work remotely, the pressure continues to mount for helpdesk agents.

But, even under a normal situation, this job comes with extra pressure. The workload, together with the working conditions, may lead to staff burnout.

helpdesk software automation

One example is handling angry clients, which can create workplace stress. Burnout is a sticking point for both the company and agents because it can cause customer communications problems.

It can also cause a fall in engagement and a decrease in the standards of services provided. According to research, 74% of support center agents are at risk of burnout.

This further stresses the need for solutions like helpdesk software automation, which can help relieve staff or redundant duties and reduce fatigue.

Fir instance, automation assigns tickets to the relevant support agents hence no bouncing to and fro several departments or staffs before landing into the right hands.

That means you say goodbye to tags, and save plenty of time for both customers and staff. Workers can take a break during this free time to avoid burnout

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion resulting from repeated or prolonged stress.

All jobs are stressful at one point, but burnout stress is felt over extended periods, and an agent may feel like they’re yet to lose it.

Below are a few scenarios that can lead to burnout at the workplace:

  • The pressure to deliver more: The agents will be stressed when they feel they are not meeting the demands.
  • Lack of support at work
  • Orders to do duties that conflict with their values
  • Being overworked
  • Lack of recognition
  • Unfair treatment from colleagues and managers.
  • Lack of upward mobility

The above circumstances can easily cause cumulative stress to agents and have a ripple effect on the customer experience.

Worrying at work, coupled with normal life pressures like finances, family concerns, education, and relationships, cause burnouts and health complications.

Any helpdesk agents can suffer burnout because all its triggers can’t be avoided. However, you can deal with it if you learn to prevent stress.

How to Recognize Burnouts in Support Staff

A company’s efficiency and productivity rest upon staff welfare. And the first step to keep them healthy is to understand their burnout.

Below are some ways to identify burnouts in your helpdesk agents:

  1. Reduced quality of work

Your company’s output may begin to diminish when the agents start making mistakes. When you notice errors that were no longer made, you should consider it seriously and look deeply into the matter.

  1. Change in moods

Burnouts might cause unusual quietness or irritation in people. This might be a sign of combativeness among your support team.

  1. Forgetfulness

People who are mentally exhausted can easily forget several things, and as a manager, you will be forced to remind them.

This is because their minds are occupied with other issues not related to work and can’t balance.

  1. Frequent lateness and long work breaks

When people encounter reduced energy and enthusiasm to work, they may tend to be lethargic.

Burnouts may cause reluctance to report to work earlier because there is too much pressure to spend more time at work.

  1. Absenteeism

When you begin to have high and questionable agent turnover, then you should treat it as burnout. A person who is disturbed mentally or physically will have a high possibility of keeping off work.

Remedies for Worker burnouts

First, senior staff must recognize that burnout is real. Most bosses ignore burnout, which further worsens the situation.

The earlier a burnout is identified and attended to, the better it is for the life of businesses and helpdesk agents.

Finding solutions to chronic burnouts may be cumbersome. However, it is not possible to find suitable solutions unless the agents open up. This is because you might be dealing with it as work burnout, yet the stress is home-based.

You can also use helpdesk software automation to reduce incidents of repetitive tasks that can result in burnouts.

Below are ways you can reduce circumstances that might trigger burnout at work:

  • Clarify all the roles you assign to staff earlier enough.
  • Working as a team helps you achieve common missions and goals and enhances unity among individuals.
  • Ensure the agents are well aware of the work expectations and standards related to dreams.
  • Treat all your support team equally, keeping them in the loop as to why operations are conducted in a given manner.
  • Ensure you don’t micromanage anytime you provide support.
  • Encouraging staff honesty while giving feedbacks, for example, when they feel maltreated.
  • Ensure that your company offers all work agents with work breaks and leaves you must encourage them to take.
  • Exercise staff recognition and rewards their efforts.
  • Create burnout awareness among your working team through organized seminars and training.
  • Build a good relationship with your employees and remind them to seek help whenever they need it.
  • Always be ready to provide support to unmanageable work and develop creative ways to reduce workloads.
  • Ensure your technology and systems are useful and processes run smoothly to give agents an easy time.
  • Organize staff meetings to listen to any developing issues that may likely cause burnouts.
  • If you have to correct the work of helpdesk agents, do it correctly and ensure the correction is taken positively.
  • Offering welfare services to your support staff is an excellent way to encourage them and reduce burnout.

The above solutions are to help managers reduce burnouts in junior staff.

Bottom line

There are many ways to tap into the multiple pros of automation and improve your healthcare support team’s situation.

Make it a rule of thumb; if you can automate it, go ahead, as long as it does not slow down productivity or efficiency.

Help desk agent burnout is a bone of contention in all industries; no wonder companies are pacing the shift towards helpdesk software automation. Still, in many cases, it goes unrecognized and can influence a company’s performance.

Helpdesk burnouts may cause lateness, absenteeism, and long working breaks, among others. All these can have an impact on the patient experience.

The circumstances causing burnouts may vary in individual agents, and leaders must recognize and handle them accordingly.

Support staff wellness is a priority in any work environment because customer care quality is based on their efforts. Therefore, managers must create awareness and a conducive working area for all employees.

Burnout is real and helps desk managers must consider this when assigning duties to staff. You must show value to your agents because your help desk performance can only be excellent when happy and healthy. And contented teams are likely to treat your patients well and encourage repeat business.