As technology has advanced, insurance companies have gained new ways to improve their customer experience through faster transactions and better communication. Leveraging these new technologies can significantly improve customer service, leading to better customer retention rates. New approaches to inbound communications and to customer service response are making service faster, more efficient, and more likely to be routed to the right personnel.
Inbound Communication: Forging Strong Customer Relationships
New approaches and new tools have the potential to overhaul insurers’ approaches to inbound customer communications, making each interaction more impactful and effective.
Here are some of the new ways that insurers are innovating in this regard:
Leveraging New Rep Strategies
If you’ve ever called a company’s customer support line, you understand the value of speaking to a live human being. While automated recordings are well-intended, customer experiences are more positive when callers are connected to a real representative as soon as possible. Today, top insurers are putting a renewed priority on making sure that callers are connected to a live service rep 100% of the time. Customers should never be required to leave a voicemail or to wait for a response.
To accomplish this, many companies are turning to automatic call distributor systems that support advanced routing based on representatives’ skill sets. Routing is carried out through specific criteria that are retrieved from administration systems. A customer can be routed almost immediately to the right person, such as an assigned adjustor or a representative, who has handled that customer’s previous calls.
Some insurers are even eliminating voicemail capabilities entirely, as part of a “no voicemail” initiative. They are dedicated to connecting people with live human beings instead of machine systems. Cross training initiatives can help existing employees become proficient in handling different types of calls. This will ensure that each caller is connected with someone capable of effectively handling their issue. Reps can be categorized into two main categories: licensed insurance agents and customer service reps. The latter can be trained to handle the majority of calls about a variety of subjects, transferring callers to agents only if a sales opportunity arises.
Handling Different Communication Channels Effectively
Today, there are a variety of communications channels that a consumer can use to contact an insurance company: social media, email, phone, fax, callback requests, and USPS mail are a few of the main ones.
Previously, many insurance companies handled each type of communication separately, via siloed teams. However, there is a new trend toward combining all communications into common queues. Rather than having a mail team, an email team, and a social media team, a single efficient customer communication team can manage customer interactions across all channels. This empowers insurance professionals to take a broader “big-picture” approach, and to multitask more effectively.
Along with these more traditional forms of communication, live chat functions are becoming increasingly popular. Chat capabilities can actually be integrated with contact centers, making it easy for customers to instantly connect with a qualified representative or insurance agent. For many people, a documented chat is an appealing alternative to phone calls, as it eliminates things like wait times and call transfers. This is partly because a single service rep can handle multiple chat conversations at once, which isn’t possible with phone conversations.
Tracking Context to Inform Future Conversations
Each interaction between a customer and an insurance company is just one part of a greater overall relationship. In many cases, service calls are handled in a way that does not allow representatives and agents to document salient points of the conversation, meaning that reps who handle future calls don’t have access to previous calls for context.
One source of customer dissatisfaction with phone support is having to start the conversation all over again if they’re transferred to another person. Companies are increasingly overcoming this issue by providing agents with links to recordings of a previous call, notes taken by a service rep, or even highlighted keywords and phrases that give key aspects of what was discussed before the call was transferred.
This way, customers don’t have to back up and re-explain what they’re calling about if they’re transferred to an agent. The agent can pick up the conversation where they left off, because they’ve been informed ahead of time about the context and purpose of the call.
Improving the Customer Experience through Better Communication
These new innovations among top insurance companies are designed to provide more value from the perspective of the consumer. They allocate resources more effectively and make sure that customer inquiries are adequately resolved. A more comprehensive and integrated approach to numerous communication channels, along with a better use of technological resources, can help streamline customer service and improve the policyholders experience.