Improving Pre-Sale Customer Service for Healthstream
HealthStream, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSTM), based in Nashville, Tenn., provides Internet-based solutions and services to meet the training and education needs of the healthcare industry, primarily improving compliance, developing workforces, and reducing risks. Focused on healthcare organizations and pharmaceutical and medical device companies, HealthStream serves over 1,200 organizations throughout the United States, including eight of the top ten pharmaceutical companies and nine of the top ten medical device companies.
HealthStream was incorporated in 1990 and began marketing its Internet-based solutions in March 1999. With additional offices in Denver, Colorado and Franklin, Tennessee, HealthStream has approximately 160 employees. From an initial focus on technology-based training, HealthStream evolved to provide full-service delivery of training and education for the healthcare industry. As the company grew at a rapid pace, it was challenged by an increasing need to track the progress of a number of different processes, including first and foremost its pricing request process. Responding to pricing requests in an efficient and timely manner was critical to meeting customers’ needs and to growing HealthStream’s customer base.
HealthStream chose Integrify OnDemand because of its web-based availability, its ease-of-use, and its cost-effectiveness.
Integrify is a flexible request management tool that allows companies to automate requests and streamline approval processes. The software provides form creation, routing definition and tracking tools to those responsible for processing requests, minimizing data entry and simplifying requests for approval and fulfillment. Integrify is web-based, allowing for easy user accessibility and management of approval processes. The solution eliminates problems typically related to labor-intensive processes such as manual paper handling and email requests, and can reduce costs per transaction 60 to 90 percent as opposed to paper-based processes.
By allowing a company’s employees the most efficient means to access, submit and obtain fulfillment for requests, an organization can offer the best possible level of service to its customers. With Integrify, efficiency gains are immediate and most companies can expect a return on investment (ROI) in three months or less.
Integrify’s OnDemand solution provides the full functionality of Integrify via the Internet without the need to install and maintain software. It reduces the risk, cost and time when implementing a solution for process management. Instead of installing the software on its own site, a company can directly access the software, updates, and infrastructure, which are all maintained by Integrify, freeing up time and resources to focus on business.
“We don’t have whole groups of people dedicated to overseeing process management,” said Kevin O’Hara, vice president of HealthStream Direct. “We wanted to start up easily to see if it would work for our employees. We chose Integrify OnDemand because of its flexibility; unlike similar solutions out there, we weren’t confined to pre-built processes designed-in that would be incompatible with our needs.”
HealthStream’s sales team deals primarily with custom pricing, so almost every time a potential customer inquires about the cost of a product or service, salespeople submit individual requests for customized solutions. Previously, these requests were submitted via email, and tracking the requests through the system, turning around requests in a timely manner, and the risk of requests dropping through the cracks were growing concerns of the increasingly busy sales team.
“Integrify is now the only way we accept requests in my division,” said O’Hara. Twenty employees are using the system to process pricing requests. HealthStream employees greatly approve of the new system because of its high level of accountability. They are confident that requests won’t get lost in the system and will be processed efficiently, and that they have access to tracking the progress through every step in the system.
HealthStream has also rolled out the Integrify system to its partners as a way of vetting sales leads. Partners are given access to the system to enter potential sales leads and if the lead results in a sale, HealthStream pays a commission to the partner. Before Integrify OnDemand, it was virtually impossible to uniformly collect, process, and pursue every sales lead, but the new system has allowed the sales team to easily track the progress of potential sales targets. According to O’Hara, partners (five so far) find the system easy to use and are pleased with the methodical, systematic approach.
HealthStream is currently running eight different processes through Integrify OnDemand, but the management team is exploring all the possibilities within the company. “We’ve been steadily adding processes since the beginning,” said O’Hara. “I can now add a process in about an hour. Our goal is to make Integrify OnDemand the sole place that pricing requests within this company are processed.”
Although HealthStream has only been using Integrify OnDemand for less than six months, the company is seeing consistently faster turnaround in its pricing requests. “We’ve definitely had a return just in eliminating issues around pricing requests disappearing into a black hole,” said O’Hara. “Our primary goal was to reduce pricing turnaround and we’ve done that.”
Formerly, salespeople needed at least two weeks to provide a cost proposal to a potential customer, but since using Integrify, that timeframe has been cut to three days. “With salespeople getting more pricing proposals out there due to the faster turnaround, we can win even more deals because of our responsiveness,” O’Hara said. And by managing the process better, HealthStream can free up its higher-level executives to focus on other functions within the company, making better use of its workforce and other resources.
HealthStream has seen a significant improvement not just in the efficiency of its pricing process service groups, but in the overall satisfaction of the employees and partners who use the system on a regular basis. HealthStream is continuing to add request processes to its system.
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