Why an integrated contact centre is better for patients and colleagues. And how to make sure it always works.

Since the pandemic we’ve all got used to working in ways we never thought possible before. 

Microsoft Teams, for example, saw daily users grow to 75 million during the pandemic. That’s a huge 70% increase. 

It’s pretty obvious that this kind of working is here to stay. 

Even before the pandemic, 35% of leaders of organisations said employee demand for flexibility was driving changes in working styles. 

Yet some organisations are still facing ongoing problems. 

We’ve found that 34% of people say that weak internet prevents them from working to their best abilities. 

There are other barriers to productive working too. 

If you’ve got a favourite collaborative tool, but your colleagues have another, what happens if they don’t play well together? Does one of you have to delete your favourite app? Or do you have to keep switching from one app to another?

For many organisations, the focus is now on making sure that all these collaboration tools talk to each other. As well as to the organisation’s existing technology and infrastructure. 

This goes by the name of unified communications. 

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the unified bit isn’t just about the organisation. When you also include the contact centre in a unified platform, it improves things for those using it too. 

What streamlined communications mean for NHS contact centres

At all stages of the pandemic, NHS trusts have worked to keep staff and patients safe. Many found that outdated communications methods made things complicated, especially a variety of legacy phone technologies all patched together. 

All too often, the different communications solutions got in the way, making it difficult if not impossible for employees to stay in touch and work effectively together remotely. 

So, what if you could reimagine your contact centres from the ground up? You’d start with supporting every way that modern care providers need to communicate across your organisation – including video conferencing, meetings, phone, text and chat. And you’d look at how patients are served through all these communication types in a contact centre environment.

Instead of having a range of solutions for each of these types of communications, it would be so much simpler to have one single platform covering everything. And with the contact centre included, patients can get support, make appointments and find answers to their questions quickly and easily. 

By bringing everything together on one communications platform, you’ll see benefits across your Trust:

1. Good news for your staff

They can connect and collaborate quickly and easily, across departments and using whatever device they’re happiest with.

2. Make it easier for employees and patients to engage

With one communications platform in place, you can add channels like SMS or video meetings into your apps and website, so employees find new ways of working – and patients benefit from new ways to get in touch.

3. Gain useful insights to shape your future

A unified communications solution comes with analytics built in, so the IT department can make informed decisions about the Trust’s communications needs. Analysing patient sentiment across your contact centre means resources can be focused on topics that deliver outcomes most relevant to patients – which improves the patient experience. It’s Experience-as-a-Service in action.

4. Make admin simpler

With just one contract and one relationship to manage, it’s so much simpler for your IT team. Employees don’t need constant training on multiple communications solutions. So you can save time and money. 

A fully-integrated contact centre solution for NHS Trusts

It’s time to say goodbye to complexity and make the contact centre a core part of your unified communications. When an omni-channel contact centre is fully integrated into the unified communications platform, the benefits become crystal clear.

1. Deliver exceptional patient experiences

With corporate directories, presence and chat common across the platform, contact centre agents can easily identify available subject matter experts and involve them in the call. So first-call resolutions are accelerated.

2. Optimise the patient’s engagement journey

Full interactive routing, chat, e-mail, voicemail and social support with customisable reporting ensure a seamless experience from start to finish.

3. Customise every interaction

With core communications capabilities in place, it’s possible to create company-specific experiences through APIs, integrations, orchestration and platform services.

Why cloud communications can work in hospitals – and how one Trust proves it

Misconceptions around whether cloud communications are suitable for use in hospital settings are common. Our partnership with 8x8 shows how it works with many Trusts, and we dispel many of these myths with real-world proof points: 

Myth one: Reliability is an issue with cloud platforms compared with on-premises systems

With a 99.999% proven availability over the past 12 months, the 8x8 platform has a strong track record of reliability. What's more, legacy telephony platforms cause network capacity issues for many trusts, which can be removed with a modern cloud communications platform.

Myth two: Cloud platforms aren’t fit for purpose in a medical setting


A flexible and scalable cloud communications service means that the right capabilities can be provisioned at the right price – for optimum value. Plus, omnichannel communications allow teams to connect and collaborate from anywhere, on any device.

Myth three: On-premise-based communications platforms investment results in better disaster recovery (DR)


As well as being expensive and tricky to maintain, legacy on-premise-based PBX technology proved it couldn’t deliver the resilience many trusts needed during the pandemic. 

In contrast, a cloud-communications platform can be accessed in many ways to deliver full resilience. Working with a provider that conducts a full network readiness assessment and creates a bespoke DR plan for critical communications services ensures a robust network architecture.

Myth four: The perfect DR plan? Just look to local survivable telephony.


Local power outages, LAN failures and missed software updates can all hinder access to a Trust. Unlike local telephony, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms can be accessed anywhere, from any device – and it’s always up to date with the latest security and software patches.

So patients can always reach Trust staff – and get the help they need.

Myth five: On-premise systems are the only way to deliver 2222 solutions


Highly available, highly resilient cloud-based switchboard solutions give the caller’s location and phone number to the operator without them having to ask for it. Plus, Trusts can maintain physical handsets in wards, which have power backup and send location data to a main switchboard automatically.

It’s a modern approach to call handling.

Myth six: Migrating phone systems in a hospital setting isn’t safe


Remove risk and build confidence in a cloud migration by using a provider with a dedicated deployment team that uses a proven methodology for cloud transitions. Building the solution in the cloud independently of the legacy infrastructure is key to success.

Ultimately, choosing a solution provider with experience and expertise in working with multiple NHS Trusts is the best way to create a successful cloud transition.

Let’s make experiences better

If, like many organisations, you’ve invested in multiple different collaboration tools and applications, you might be finding that they don’t work as well together as you’d like.

Now is the ideal time to bring all these different strands together to create one solid, joined-up way of working that creates a better experience for everyone. 

Don’t worry, it’s not about getting rid of what you’ve got and starting again. It’s simply about bringing everything together. A communications platform with integrated contact centre can tie up all the loose ends to help you build on where you’ve got to. 

Gartner estimates that by 2024, 60% of enterprises will have migrated their contact centres to the cloud, with a 60% jump in remote working full-time.

With a cloud communications solution that works across your organisation, you can make sure that your colleagues can work safely from their homes to offer patient support. If the solution comes with analytics and reporting, you can manage communications with real-time data and spot any trends as they happen. 

Your patients will notice the difference too. By integrating and simplifying the technology, you’ll enable them to get in touch with you using the channel or device they prefer in real time. 

The result is an excellent, seamless experience for both the patient and the employee. 

Want to know how to achieve all of the above and more for your own organisation?

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