The following guest post comes from Andrew Williams, Director of Business Technology Solutions for Bright Horizons Back-Up Care Advantage.
What do you need in a back-up care solution? Among employers looking to preserve productivity, there’s general agreement over the necessity of back-up care — by definition, care that helps avoid employee absences by either replacing arrangements that are temporarily unavailable or responding to a short-term need (such as a parent’s illness). But approaches vary. Some programs are purely DIY. Others stitch together back-up care services by relying on a phonebook-like directory of centers and agencies to provide care. There are also child care companies that outsource their technology and call-center operations. Yet there’s a strong argument for an option that puts it all together.
The value of an end-to-end back-up care solution
End-to-end solutions take the job of finding care out of a family’s hands. At Bright Horizons, when a family has a breakdown in their normal care arrangements, they can call our contact center 24/7 and speak with a customer care consultant. That consultant researches all viable care options and finds the best solution for the family. The time spent by the family is limited to the initial contact; the contact center does the rest. What we’ve learned through our experiences providing back-up care to clients is that an end-to-end option solves critical goals. By leveraging our expertise in early childhood education and dependent care and combining it with contact center expertise and customer-service know-how, we’ve been successfully able to serve clients with a solution that works on multiple levels.
What exactly does an end-to-end back-up service offer?
An end-to end solution is the best way to meet high expectations
Operating a contact center that fields care means a level of quality control plus the ability to create optimal experiences for customers. Our Bright Horizons Contact Center is able to communicate exactly what the customer is getting — whether it’s a spot in an NAEYC-accredited center or a high-quality, in-home caregiver through one of our partners for an aging parent ’ and to communicate it with confidence.
An end-to-end solution ensures accountability
Vendors often claim they can seamlessly integrate with others. But the reality is when something goes wrong, finger-pointing typically ensues. By owning the entire process, we’ve been able to provide full accountability plus the ability to resolve issues quickly and suitably.
An end-to-end solution allows us to better understand our customers
When a call comes into our contact center, our employees do more than just make reservations — they’re hearing stories. They’re listening as families explain their unique circumstances and helping people navigate stressful situations. These interactions have been critical in helping us to develop a deeper appreciation of what’s really happening with working families and driven us to refine our suite of offerings to fit what is needed. Connecting with customers at every step of the process enables our clients to support a more engaged, productive, and satisfied workforce.
An end-to-end solution helps us improve quality at our partner providers
Hand selecting care options affords quality control. Care options through our program include our own centers as well as a network of partner centers and in-home providers. We communicate very specific protocols (governing everything from drop-off to care expectations) that ensure a consistent standard of care. Our resources and communications (training modules on providing back-up care, quarterly newsletters with tips and sample lesson plans, real-time support during difficult customer situations, caregiver recognition programs, and monthly sharing of our Voice of the Customer survey data) also ensure that care providers, both within Bright Horizons and our partners, are clear on Bright Horizons quality directive, the unique expectations of families experiencing care breakdowns, and the nuances that make back-up care different from long-term care.
A Time-Tested Approach to Back-Up Care
Since Bright Horizons introduced the concept of employer-sponsored back-up care solutions years ago, the program has evolved substantially. What was once a niche service at individual child care centers for a small group of employers has evolved into an international program that connects millions of busy professionals with knowledgeable care consultants who can find working families the care they need when they need it. Time has shown this end-to-end approach serves both clients and families well.