Someone call a doctor!

Designing the phone system for a healthcare startup


In the early days, the phone system was simple. There were two full-time customer support agents and a few people who would fill in when the call volume was exceptionally high. By the end of my tenure, a customer could reach our 30-person team by calling one of hundreds of unique phone numbers. She would automatically be routed to the agent best equipped to help out thanks to skill-based routing. If she required advanced medical advice, a transfer to an available doctor or nurse was available with a click of a button.

The Beginning

The initial phone system design was simple. There was a single number that customers could call and speak to one of two available agents.

Early Phone system

The solution worked great for the low call volume at the time. However, over the next year, the phone system requirements would change.

Preparing for the future

Three separate divisions of the company played a part in the future of the phone system and they all came with their own set of product requirements.

Customer Care

  • Multiple product offerings
  • Skill-based routing
  • Agent priotization
  • Call transfers
  • In-bound number identification
  • Multi-lingual support


  • Customers can call one of any hundreds of numbers to reach the service
  • Phone conversion tracking


  • Cloud-based configuration
  • Phone-level redundancy
  • Remote worker compatible

Over time, these requirements were translated into a much more complex system that looked something like this:

Evolved Phone system

Wrapping up

Once we had a good idea of what this could look like given the capabilities of our phone system, I worked with the customer care team to create and implement new messaging for each step of the phone tree. With this we were able to provide a better customer experience as customers were routed to the best agents available and the customer care team was able to get a head start on providing their best service with the new information they had at their fingertips.