The Radiology Group is New Zealand’s leading provider of diagnostic imaging and diagnostic services to the healthcare sector. With a staff of more than 27 radiologists, and 200 support staff, the organisation is represented across more than 20 locations, from the Hawkes Bay, Gisborne, Rotorua and Taupo to Auckland and Northland.
The Radiology Group (TRG) was established in 2004 with particular focus on delivering a service that is ‘best in New Zealand’ and differentiated by innovation, sub-speciality skills and nothing less than outstanding customer service.
TRG is trusted by District Health Boards and ACC services in all the regions where the organisation is represented, and one of the reasons for this is TRG’s emphasis on local community and a customer centric, exceptional customer service and care culture.
The challenge for The Radiology Group was to put in a modern call-centre and communications infrastructure that was world class, and which maximised the efficiencies to be gained from having a large and capable national staff presence, without compromising the advantages to be gained from the organisation’s strong local community roots, in areas where it is represented.
Group IT Manager, Nigel Bonser, said the call-centre is the heartbeat of the business.
“Our business relies on a call-centre. If we can’t take phone calls, we can’t make bookings and then we are out of business. We believe that the decision about how we set-up our call centre and the technology solutions we needed to achieve that was sufficiently important to warrant considerable due diligence – we wanted to get it right.”
Setting up a call-centre for a healthcare organisation like The Radiology Group is not as simple as it might seem.
For example, when a patient rings reception they might need to sometimes disclose personal information, which may at times raise privacy concerns when they live in the same small town as the receptionist, because everybody knows everybody.
“While our receptionists are utterly discreet, we didn’t want to create a situation where they might feel compromised.
“For that reason we needed regional call-centres, rather than leaving local receptionists to take the calls. However, we also did not want a national call centre because that would be too impersonal and completely out of touch with the local community.”
TRG believes that local people, with local knowledge, do also add value to the experience the patient has.
Mr Bonser said there was also an opportunity to utilise the resources that the group naturally possesses as a result of its widespread, national presence and the diverse expertise of radiologists across the group.
“Weather conditions, power failures or illness, for example, could cause a call centre to be short staffed or to go off-line for a period. In those circumstances we wanted a solution that would then route the call to another regional call-centre, if necessary.
“It’s a delicate balance which warranted a careful and considered solution.”
The Radiology Group selected Lume Ltd to provide an independent, expert assessment of the problem and to recommend the best solution possible, without having the situation clouded or confused by multiple sales pitches from various vendors.
Mr Bonser said that TRG selected Lume Ltd on the basis of Richard Cheeseman and Phil Goodacre’s telecommunications expertise, but also because they understand the demands of business and, most importantly, because they would be completely impartial in their assessment and recommendations.
“We told Lume what we wanted, and what was important, including a sophisticated system that offered call monitoring. In effect a solution that everybody could enjoy, which was cleverer than somebody out back taking phone calls.
“While I am responsible for the information technology needs of the group, it would be stupid of me to assume I know everything. Working with Richard Cheeseman and Lume Ltd, allowed me to explore ideas, ask questions – in addition to those also asked by Lume of various vendors – alongside somebody who understands business and how important it is that we got it right.”
On Lume Ltd.’s advice, TRG selected IP FX which, while not the cheapest, demonstrated convincingly that they could do all the things TRG wanted, and that they have done it before.
“Lume Ltd recommended a company that clearly know the business, have all the knowledge and rely on industry standard technologies like Cisco. They did not offer anything exotic and are not locked into any particular solution.”
TRG was formed when five different regional groups came together. The company has standardised many functions across the group, like payroll and human resources, but wanted to preserve its unique, organically developed regional knowledge and expertise.
The new call centre solution and infrastructure will allow them to do that.
“Our call centre has five cells, but staff members could even work from home if they wanted to.
“Working with Lume Ltd, I was far more confident than I might otherwise have been. I am satisfied that we fully explored the options and capabilities and, as a result, I know that we won’t have any unpleasant surprises after the honeymoon period is over,” Mr Bonser said.