This article is sponsored by Forcura. In this Voices interview, Home Health Care News sits down with Forcura Vice President of Partner and Client Experience Windy Adams to learn how Forcura has balanced record growth in 2020 with its same standard of customer experience, how COVID-19 has changed the types of client calls they receive and their success story this year with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY).
HHCN: Windy, you drive client experience at Forcura. What are the most instructive lessons that you’ve learned in your career that guide you today?
Adams: My background is not traditional healthcare, I actually spent almost 20 years in finance. The most recent 10 years were in financial technology with another startup here in Jacksonville, Florida. When I started there, we were a very similar size as Forcura was when I started here about three years ago. I stayed there for 10 years and saw it through two acquisitions. During that time the company went from less than 100 clients to over 1200 at the time I left to pursue an opportunity with Forcura.
The bulk of my time in my former position was in client experience. Obviously, the technology is the bread and butter of what you’re selling, but I think it’s easy to overlook how important that support and service really is. Most people only use about 20% of the available functionality in any software solution that they use.
That’s where your support and client experience teams come into play. Their job is not only to help solve problems but to help find solutions. At Forcura, we want to provide that level of support, meaning this is not your traditional client support call center. It’s a partnership, and we’re here to help our clients get what they need.
I understand that Forcura’s client volume has grown at a record pace for the company in the past year. You talked about your former employer’s growth, and I know that the growth was so great and so rapid that the client experience was challenged. How does Forcura retain high touch service when it scales, to ensure that customers don’t get lost in translation?
We experienced similar growth at my previous company. High growth companies can be in a high growth mode for years, especially in the technology space. As the growth accelerated, clients started to make comments like, “I can really tell you guys are growing.” The goal is to ensure that your clients don’t feel the growth.
After hearing that comment a few times we started to realize that they were feeling the strain that was occurring on the internal resources. I think the best approach a high-growth organization can take is to be proactive. You have to constantly assess your structure, your model and your resource allocation to make sure that clients are being supported. It’s not always the focus on the brand new clients. You have to maintain the clients that have been with you since day one, too.
Forcura facilitates a career progression for its employees. How does it do that and what is the impact of that proactive advancement on the client experience and on client retention?
Your best resources are often the ones that you have within your four walls. What we have done and what we continue to do is communicate that messaging to the team and make sure they understand that in a year from now there will be teams and roles that do not exist today.
As Forcura grows and continues to be successful, so do our employees. That dynamic environment gives them the ability to see real opportunity as they’re gaining experience within the organization. We welcome career growth and internal movement and try to help the teams see opportunity in a bigger picture. Just because you’re in a client-facing role now doesn’t mean you will always be in a client-facing capacity.
If you’re interested in being more product-facing and helping to design the product, there are opportunities there as well because, quite honestly, their depth of knowledge of our platform and our industry really makes them an asset to any internal team.
When employees feel valued and challenged each day, they will focus their efforts on providing high quality service no matter what role they are in. It really is a win-win all the way around.
With that in mind, tell us about the teams you manage. How many are there and how do they interact?
We really own the whole client experience once a contract is signed, and we do that through the five teams I manage:
- Relationship Management
Once the sales process is complete and the contract is signed, we route that client through our implementation team — the first experience that a client has with Forcura. The implementation team onboards the client and their teams onto our solution, while leveraging best practices and experiences from our other clients to make sure that we’re setting new clients up for success.
Once they finish their implementation process, which for a standard organization takes about four to six weeks, they are assigned a relationship manager on our relationship management team. They also will begin to use our client support team, which is the day-to-day contact for any questions, training and troubleshooting needs.
Our training team oversees the training of our onboarding clients, existing clients and also our new employees.
The last team I oversee is our partnership team, which is responsible for the relationship and the day-to-day operations of the partners that our clients are currently leveraging for their electronic medical record system. We are integrated with six of the top post-acute EHRs currently and so this partnership team that I manage is responsible for those relationships and making sure the integrations are running smoothly each day.
What is your management style?
I like to be a player-coach — to really understand our solution and our client base, and work with the teams to help navigate challenging situations. There’s a lot of brainstorming that goes on throughout the day whenever interesting scenarios come up and we all work through those as a team. It is always great to hear their ideas and get buy in before determining the final solution.
I try to communicate regularly to make sure everyone understands why certain decisions are made and why our company focus is moving in a certain direction. I definitely like to have buy-in from the team and hear their ideas. Ideas are something we promote at Forcura, not just on my team, but across the organization. Honestly, teams will respond much better when they feel they’re a part of the solution and not that the solution is being dictated to them.
Let’s shift into COVID. I understand that home health agencies are using their platforms remotely now, so they’re calling into the Forcura support team more often, which is shifting the types and volumes of calls you receive. What is the overall impact COVID has had on your client’s experience with you?
Because all of our users are working from their homes as well, they can’t as easily turn around to their neighbor in the office and ask a question. So we have a lot of outreach. Some of it is simple questions about certain functionality and features, but some of it’s more complex and really taking an interest in how they can improve their internal processes.
Overall, I think those calls have improved the usage of the platform just because we are able to be more one-on-one with the user base. Before COVID, out of five calls, maybe two of them we would not have normally gotten because they would have just turned to their coworker and gotten that advice from someone internally. Now, they’re coming to us, the experts. I think anytime we can have greater touch points with our client base, that is a benefit for all involved.
What is your favorite client success story of 2020?
Visiting Nurse Services of New York (VNSNY) is a great one. They’re a very large organization and such a great partner. We visited them in their New York City headquarters in January to kick off their implementation. Our plan was to go live in April, and we would have several resources onsite to help them on the days of go-live to make sure we were sitting there hand-in-hand working with their teams and making sure they felt comfortable with our solution.
Then in March, of course, COVID hit.
So we decided to cancel our plan to travel as a company, due to our company policy from COVID — which fell in line with their company policy too. Yet we did not slow down the implementation. We pressed forward with their team and opened up phone lines, manning those phones for three to four days straight, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Users had the opportunity to dial into these phone lines, bring questions, bring up specific scenarios, and we were able to help them address those in real-time just as if we were present in the office.
It worked very well. Sometimes it takes agencies a couple of weeks to really get acclimated, but VNSNY really adopted the application very quickly. They were open to suggestions and recommendations those first few days. The users were very active and they were asking their questions and bringing them up as soon as the scenarios would arise. We were able to help on the spot which helped to minimize any confusion very early on. They started off on the right foot and really ran it forward.
What’s next for Forcura in 2021?
I think from where we sit today, we’re all aware that COVID is not going to be a thing of the past anytime soon. We’re taking that into consideration as we plan for the growth we’re expecting in 2021. There are several areas where Forcura will see expansion in 2021. Not only are we looking to continue to bring on a large volume of new customers but we are also looking at building new products and solutions as well as expansion into new segments of post-acute.
We’re trying to sit down and see what 2021 will look like from a scalability standpoint. We’re really looking at our people, how we’re leveraging those resources, we’re looking at our processes on every single team, and looking at the technology that we’re using internally to manage all of that. From my perspective, we have a lot of balls in the air for 2021 and our job is to make sure that we don’t drop any of them, so that our clients never feel that growth.
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Forcura is a technology company 100% focused on health care, driven to innovate and dedicated to powering your organization through better patient care, improved cash flow and reduced administrative expenses. To find out how, visit us at forcura.com.
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