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ENT Allergy

Cloud Contact Center – Skills – Based Routing

The largest ear, nose, throat, allergy and audiology practice in the United States

For people suffering from a wide range of medical challenges—from difficulty sleeping, to hearing loss, to head or neck cancer—ENT and Allergy Associates has become one of the most trusted providers. Each month, primary care doctors, hospitals, and urgent-care centers direct over 90,000 patients to one of ENT and Allergy’s 44 New York and New Jersey locations.

The company owes much of its success to the unparalleled expertise and outstanding work of its hundreds of otolaryngologists, immunologists, allergists, audiologists, and other health specialists serving patients every day. ENTA’s medical team has won numerous awards for patient care.

But ENTA also attributes its continued growth to the excellent work of the company’s Patient Rapid Response Center (PRRC), a team of 180 highly trained call-center agents handling thousands of patients’ inquiries every day.

As ENTA recently completed another round of rapid growth—increasing the company’s locations by 10%—the PRRC team knew it was time to retire their legacy, on-prem telephony system.

A call-center system coming up short in the skills department

John Monreal, Senior Director of ENTA’s Purchasing and Call Center Operations, explains that the company’s continued expansion placed a significant challenge on the PRRC’s ability to provide high-quality service to callers.

“Our old system couldn’t support our need for skill-based routing,” John says.

“We were forced to send all calls through a central queue and hand them to the next available agent. We couldn’t create queues based on expertise in a specific subject or familiarity with a geographic area.”

Turning every call-center agent into an expert

As he implemented RingCentral Contact Center’s intuitive skill-based routing, John began creating tightly focused teams of agents to answer calls for speci{c regions. “We now have queues with names like New Jersey North and New Jersey South,” he says. “Our agents can all focus on a specific region and become specialists about it.”

John points out that developing agent expertise helps shorten the average call’s duration. “Think about a typical scheduling call where the patient asks, ‘Hey, where’s the doctor’s office?’ or ‘What’s my doctor’s name?’ and the agent can provide those answers without having to search a directory. That can save so much time over the course of a day.”

To learn precisely how much time ENTA was saving, John analyzed the data in RingCentral’s reporting dashboard, and the numbers impressed him. “Our average call time was 5:59 before RingCentral Contact Center, before we could establish our agents as experts in specific call queues. Using Contact Center’s skill-based routing, it’s now 4:11. That’s a 30% time savings on every call.”

In addition to reducing call duration, John notes, the skill-specific queues also help the team create a better experience for callers.

Our agents are getting to know the staff of the local offices where they’re scheduling patients, and even getting to know the patients themselves. That means we can create the feel of a small practice, rather than an impersonal, outsourced call center.

Senior Director of Purchasing and Call Center Operations

Finding one ingenious use after another for RingCentral Contact Center

Although ENTA rolled out RingCentral Contact Center primarily to solve the skill-based-routing challenge—which it did—John and his team have also found other innovative uses for the platform’s tools to improve the call center’s operations.

For example, the team leveraged the integrated RingCentral Team Messaging platform to create a real-time internal help desk for agents with questions while on a call with a patient. “We have a RingCentral Team Messaging group just for insurance-related questions, and another for billing. Agents who need help on a call can just text a message in that group and someone with expertise in that area will respond quickly.”

John and the agents’ supervisors are also finding innovative ways to improve agent performance with Contact Center’s reporting and analytics capabilities. “We’ve turned on the artificial intelligence tools to monitor for specific keywords in agents’ calls and even to look for elevated tone,” he says. “When we receive notices about these incidents, we can listen to the recording, use it for training, and even grab the relevant clip and message it to the agent.”

Using RingCentral Video to build remote-team chemistry

ENTA’s call-center department is also finding ways to improve its operations with RingCentral Video. “Since the lockdowns began—and because the cloud-based nature of Contact Center makes this easy—we’ve started hiring a lot of remote agents from around the country,” says John.

“RingCentral Video is a great way to handle employee training, to do one-onone coaching with new agents, and to help the team put faces to the names of the colleagues they chat with on their RingCentral Team Messaging platform.”

But as John also points out, ENTA is finding that these video calls can be valuable for creating chemistry and a sense of teamwork—which has direct benefits on the team’s effectiveness at collaborating.

“We’ve started hosting themed Happy Hours using RingCentral Video, where we have our agents—who are all remote now—get to know each other. The theme might be travel, and we’ll talk about places we want to visit, or it might be about our favorite foods or wines. We’re finding it valuable for bringing the whole team together and building a strong culture, especially while we operate as a remote workforce.”

One day you’re on a RingCentral Video Happy Hour seeing your coworkers face-to-face. The next morning, you’re texting them a question through the RingCentral Team Messaging app. Now they know you, they’ve laughed with you, and they want to help you. That’s the power of this platform.

Senior Director of Purchasing and Call Center Operations

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