Managing from a distance

To better manage its contact center, Presbyterian Healthcare Services expanded its use of Genesys Workforce Engagement Management. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the healthcare provider went all-in on remote working while maintaining tight control over its performance and resources. Now, 800 agents enjoy improved schedule flexibility — and there’s more scope for hiring part-time staff and offering flexible duties. Meanwhile, the organization benefits from less risk of fines for missed performance targets, better agent use and fewer abandoned calls.

33% increase

in agent utilization

Up to 65% decrease

in abandonment rate

Improved schedule

flexibility for agents

Now we’re able to make better decisions to streamline operations, reduce costs and provide better services.

Lourdes Nevarez

Director of Workforce Strategy

Presbyterian Healthcare Services

Double challenge

Originally formed in 1908 as a tuberculosis sanatorium, Presbyterian Healthcare Services today serves one in three residents of New Mexico through nine hospitals, a multi-specialty medical group with more than 1,100 providers and a statewide health plan. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Presbyterian Customer Service Center in Albuquerque handled more than 80% of its contacts — around 3 million calls annually.

“Like many contact centers, we had to quickly figure out a way to safely continue the critical work we do on behalf of our patients, members and providers,” said Lourdes Nevarez, Director of Workforce Strategy at Presbyterian. “We had to care for our community in a way that didn’t put our people at risk.”

To meet the challenges of enabling remote working while retaining control of performance and support for its resources, the company uses the Genesys Engage™ on-premises solution. “Prior to Genesys, we’d spend all our time reacting to the day’s events,” added Nevarez. “There were no long-term forecasting workforce management tools and so our forecasting was manual and infrequent. We invested time in better understanding Genesys Workforce Engagement Management and now we’re able to make better decisions to streamline our operations, reduce costs and improve services.”

Big-picture planning and budgeting

Five years after fully optimizing Genesys Workforce Engagement Management — and 20 months after the first New Mexico COVID-19 case — nearly all Presbyterian contact center staff now work from home. During that time, workshops and coaching sessions accelerated their knowledge and expertise of workforce engagement management.

“Genesys and our partner Pointel helped us think through which upgrades made the most sense,” said Nevarez. “Our first full-time planning analyst was hired to centralize and prioritize forecasting, hiring and modeling.”

The introduction of Genesys Decisions allowed Presbyterian to prepare “What-if” scenarios, along with short- and long-term resourcing options. At its core is a series of algorithms that develop highly efficient operational plans and accurate forecasts in minutes. This allowed Presbyterian to create and maintain resource plans that were adaptable based on real-life changes in the environment.

Complemented by resource management best practices, Presbyterian quickly adapted to changing demands based on historical volumes and performance outcomes. “The benefit is better hiring and scheduling that results in fewer abandoned calls,” explained Nevarez. “Accordingly, our health plan and patient services teams have seen abandonment reductions of 20% and 65%, respectively. That means less need to phone back — reducing customer effort.”

Eliminating inefficient buffers

Presbyterian significantly improved its productivity by leveraging economies of scale, work standardization, and Genesys routing and skilling strategies. “Agent utilization is up 33%,” said Nevarez. “Our Genesys technology, knowledge and partnership have been instrumental in allowing us to be more flexible with staff while continuing to avoid financial penalties from missed performance targets.”

Prior to fully leveraging Genesys Workforce Engagement Management, the organization would mitigate its risk by building in buffers that limited the efficiency of its people and technology.

“Making full use of Genesys routing allowed us to cross-skill staff to support multiple lines of business, while still protecting our higher risk areas with priority routing,” said Nevarez. “Leveraging the Genesys routing has allowed us to meet the needs of our employees by giving people more time off, offline time and improved schedule flexibility.  These are all critical elements that our staff need and deserve. Additionally, this helps us achieve a balanced member and patient experience regardless of when someone calls us.”

Human connections

Crucially, the underlying culture at Presbyterian hasn’t changed. There’s still a strong collective bond, working together to share expertise and improve every customer interaction. And Marcia Birmingham epitomized that sense of going the extra mile. Before retiring from her role as IT Manager, Marcia would send letters of gratitude to customers who’d highlighted technology issues. She didn’t just send them to patients, members and providers, but also to Presbyterian employees.

“Delivering healthcare services during the pandemic hasn’t always been easy, but our teams have shown incredible strength, passion and resilience,” said Nevarez. “They appreciate improved schedule flexibility. And there’s greater scope for hiring part-time staff, increasing voluntary and paid time off, and adjusting work options.”

Our Genesys technology, knowledge and partnership have been instrumental in avoiding financial penalties from missed performance targets.

Lourdes Nevarez

Director of Workforce Strategy

Presbyterian Healthcare Services

By continuing to put people first, Presbyterian introduced IVR system innovation so employees could quickly confirm when they were free of COVID-19 symptoms and return to work.

“The decisions we make around the people we hire, the processes we develop and the technology we invest in all play a critical role in how customer interactions go,” concluded Nevarez. “Genesys is more than just technology. They’re partners in helping us achieve success for employees, patients and members.”

At a glance

Industry: Healthcare

Location: US

Company size: Around 800 agents


  • Highly reactive resource management
  • Inefficient manual processes
  • Rapidly enabling remote work