Efficient communications are essential for the effective running of the centre so, to manage the large volume of incoming phone calls, the centre’s telecoms provider installed a Siemens OptiPoint 500 phone system supporting 32 extensions. While the phone system provided excellent call management, there were issues with understanding calling patterns. Stella Crookes, Business Manager for the centre explains: “The NHS conducts regular surveys to ensure that we are meeting our patients’ needs. A recurring issue identified in the surveys was the time taken to answer calls when patients tried to get through to the centre by telephone. The trouble was that the phone system could not provide me with the data needed to understand calling patterns, so I needed a solution.” The centre’s telecoms provider recommended the Akixi hosted call management and contact centre reporting service.
Gleadless Medical Centre wanted to achieve a situation where no caller to the main 0845 patient line would be waiting more than three minutes for an answer. Stella continues: “By analysing the calling patterns using Akixi we have been able to achieve this without increasing the number of reception staff. It’s allowed us to use existing resources more effectively.”
Akixi offers cradle to grave call tracking with comprehensive reporting, allowing users like Stella to scrutinise and analyse usage in real time using the Akixi wallboard, as she explains:
“I can display the system on my PC and see the calls in real time. If it takes more than three minutes for a call to be answered an alarm sounds in my office so that I know a queue has overrun. The reporting analysis also allows me to check the exact time taken to answer if a patient comments that we have taken an excessive time to answer.”
By providing the centre with full reporting on calling patterns, Stella has been able to develop strategies to better manage calls.
“We can let patients know when the quieter periods are to call. If a patient has a lengthy enquiry, we can ask them to accept a call-back and log the nature of the query, so we can respond with the right information. Basically, we try to move calls off the reception as efficiently as possible, so that the main 0845 patient line does not become engaged.”
In conclusion, Stella believes that the Akixi system has improved the centre’s telecoms provision.
“As part of the NHS we have a duty to manage our costs closely and with Akixi we only pay for the functions we use, so there’s no wasted expense. Akixi’s hosted call management has met our needs, balanced with reasonable ongoing costs. Employing more staff to answer phone calls was simply not an option, so Akixi has allowed us to use existing resources more effectively to meet patient needs.”
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