For medical device companies, being able to resolve customers’ cases quickly and satisfactorily can literally be a matter of life and death. As the innovation in the medical device field continues to advance, we will continue to see a growing need for high-touch customer care centers in the life sciences sector. Recruiters, Human Resources leaders, and customer care managers should be aware that talent management and operational considerations are considerably different for this level of interaction than those of traditional centers.
- The best candidates have a relevant background. The types of customers who contact these centers are usually medical professionals with questions about using a product within their specific setting, which could be while a patient is in the office for a well care visit, from the emergency room, or even from the surgical suite. They want to speak with someone who not only knows the product, but who also understands the medical context in which it is being used. A representative with a relevant background is therefore much more likely to communicate effectively than one who doesn’t have any medical knowledge at all—regardless of how well he or she knows the product.
- Recruit for resilience, communication skills, and problem-solving abilities. Working in this kind of high-touch customer care environment can be extremely stressful—especially since it’s not unusual to receive calls for help troubleshooting a piece of equipment while it is currently being used. It takes a lot for a representative to remain calm, communicate effectively, and quickly resolve the issue when the customer is stressed and a patient’s life may depend on the outcome.
- Support for talent is critical. It’s crucial to have fast, responsive support processes in place both for technology problems and for product issues representatives can’t resolve themselves. Without top-notch support, the representatives won’t be able to deliver the service required—which can lead to frustration and possibly a loss of service contract.
- Establish effective engagement strategies to reduce turnover. It’s typically more challenging to recruit talent for a high-touch customer care center than for a traditional one. Additionally, there’s usually more training required, and salaries are significantly higher than for traditional customer care roles. In short, the time and money investment that goes into building a quality high-touch customer care workforce for medical equipment is relatively high—and that means turnover is more costly. In order to retain talent and reduce turnover, employers need to utilize a range of engagement strategies including team collaboration tools, team building exercises, ongoing education, performance assessments, and career guidance.
Along with the points above, it’s important to keep in mind that enlisting the assistance of a workforce solutions company with proven experience in medical equipment customer care can be a cost- and time-effective solution. The right workforce partner will be able to work with you to determine what the best talent pool looks like for your organization. They will also know that delivering high-touch customer care for medical equipment can literally change people’s lives.