Pharmacy Taps TSIG To Handle Front-line Calls

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In a move to both streamline processes and better serve its customers with individual needs, HomeMed Channel Pharmacy Inc. signed an agreement with TeleServices International Group Inc., a provider of outsourced teleservices, to provide quick, efficient attention to first-time callers.

According to the agreement, Petersburg, FL-based TSIG will provide HomeMed, a provider of prescription and non-prescription medication, nutritional products, and medical supplies and equipment nationwide, with a yet undefined number of customer service representatives who will answer first-time queries and provide customers with information on prices and dispatching procedures.

Indianapolis, IN-based HomeMed will then be free to focus on its core competency: providing personalized pharmaceutical consultations and services with its staff of professionally trained pharmacists, nurses and pharmaceutical technicians who fill prescriptions and oversee compliance standards.

"TSIG is acting as a front-line in answering calls," said Patricia Smith, vice-president of operations for HomeMed. "This is a better way to streamline and to position ourselves so we don't get bogged down."

Eventually, she said, reps will help develop outbound client contact calls.

During its first year of business last year, HomeMed singularly handled its volume of calls, overwhelming its staff especially during peak advertising times, Smith said.

In the medical industry, personal attention can mean everything, said Catherine Krell, vice-president of marketing and communications for TSIG. "We are dealing with extremely important information," she said. "We put a lot of training into our customer service agents and can offer [HomeMed and its clients] a technological backbone and customized services."

TSIG's sophisticated call-center backbone includes a redundant Lucent Technologies switch, allowing for as many as 24,000 workstations.

Overall, the company said, the system can provide unlimited scripting, credit card verification and fulfillment interface, customized qualitative/quantitative reports, call detail reports and production statistics by telephone agent.

Smith is working with TSIG to develop the script. The two companies are still working out the bugs of the new deal, which was implemented Aug. 24. Though this partnership is the first for both -- it is also TSIG's first time working with a pharmaceutical company -- both companies are confident in the relationship.

"HomeMed Channel Pharmacy's successful direct-to-customer marketing approach and growth is synergistic with our own corporate strategy and expansion," said Robert Gordon, chairman/CEO of TSIG. "Our in-house capabilities are state-of-the art and will directly benefit their escalating business needs."

Future expansions for HomeMed are expected in the $ 72 billion U.S. pharmaceutical industry. HomeMed is considering various yet undefined media companies to advertise its toll-free numbers nationwide.

"We are tapping into a new frontier," said Krell, "because teleservices can benefit people in hard-to-reach, rural areas who need HomeMed's mail-order pharmacy services, as do the elderly in urban areas." Though she acknowledged that a lot more intricate information could be requested than by call-in customers from other industries TSIG works with, both companies are set for the challenges.

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