Biggest Workplace Time Wasters

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June 21st, 2022

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Unauthorized absences are a multifaceted problem for employers. Employee absences are expensive, as salaried employees continue to draw a paycheck even if they don’t work. The company may have to pay other employees overtime if they must work longer to cover the work the absent employee didn’t complete. Productivity diminishes along with workplace morale as they shoulder the burden of an additional workload. Work quality is also likely to suffer as team members attempt to shift between multiple projects.

However, absenteeism isn’t the only attendance issue companies need to manage. Employees at all organizational levels waste time at some point while at work. The following are some of the most common time wasters during business hours:

  1. Email. Employees check their email more than 120 times per day. More often than not, they’re doing this in an attempt to be productive. Employees rely on email for most workplace communication. They check their inbox frequently to avoid missing an important email. However, this activity derails productivity, as employees spend 28% of their workweek checking their inboxes.
  2. Blurring personal and professional communication. Employees use their phones for work regularly. It’s a short leap to go from answering an email to replying to a friend’s text. Employees spend nearly an hour of their workday reading and replying to personal texts and taking personal phone calls. Employees spend 1.5 hours on social media daily, too. That’s 2.5 hours per day (more than 30%) spent on personal communication through texts, phone calls, and social sites.
  3. Aimless meetings. Meetings can enhance productivity and make sure team members understand project goals. However, poorly planned meetings, overly long meetings, and unnecessary meetings waste a significant amount of time. Employees perceive this and find other ways to spend their time. For example, 91% of employees daydream during meetings, 73% bring other work to do, and 39% admit to falling asleep.
  4. Busy work. Many tedious workplace processes are essential but consume too much of the workday (e.g., calculating or balancing accounts and filling out attendance records daily). Employees spend a cumulative total of an entire workday on menial jobs throughout the workweek.

The time spent on checking emails, personal communication, and menial tasks add up to almost 22 hours a week—over half of a typical work schedule. Automating specific tasks can help reduce the amount of busy work and subsequent boredom (a significant trigger for wasted time). Actec’s absence tracking mobile app allows employees to submit leave requests for sick days, holidays, and paid time off via a phone call, text or chat, or the app itself. It delivers all the data to a centralized location to easily identify absence trends and make data-based decisions for addressing attendance issues. Contact us to learn more about streamlining absence management.

4 Ways Tech-Savvy Competitors are Disrupting the Insurance Industry

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June 14th, 2022

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Substantial upfront costs and underwriting knowledge insulated the insurance industry from disruptors for some time. However, startups shifted their focus to other areas of insurance, such as policy distribution, marketing, and merchandising. These companies worked hand-in-hand with established insurance carriers and are harnessing their newfound knowledge to alter the status quo in insurance. Examples of some of the biggest disruptions include:

  1. Flexible coverage. Disruptors offer their customers short-term coverage that can flex depending on their needs. For example, customers that don’t drive very often don’t need as much coverage as the average driver. However, they often overpay for standard policies that carry coverage they don’t need. Rising competitors offer by-the-mile coverage to insure individual trips and allow customers to see the cost of insuring each trip before they depart.
  2. Policy comparisons. Many customers struggle to compare coverage options between individual products. Comparing policies from one company against another is even more challenging, as they don’t always use the same language or formatting. Comparison websites equipped customers with a powerful tool to easily compare policies and quickly identify the least expensive providers.
  3. Connected devices. Customers expect personalized experiences from their insurance providers, and connected devices neatly meet that necessity. Sensors can detect and alert homeowners of water leaks and fires to prevent large-scale damage. Satellite imagery can monitor the home for changes and identify suspicious activities to prevent break-ins and thefts. The companies also offer their customers discounts for preventing costly claims.
  4. Digital experiences from start to finish. Few customers enjoy the idea of communicating with their insurance provider. Many dread the long wait times, multiple transfers, and protracted claims cycle that plague low-tech insurance carriers. Disruptors are digitizing the entire customer lifecycle, from researching and purchasing insurance products to initiating and resolving claims. Some examples include providing simple coverage comparisons, rapid policy quotes, multiple payment methods to suit customers’ comfort levels, and omnichannel communication.

Regardless of how an insurance provider chooses to address the challenges of emerging innovators, solid communication is the cornerstone for success. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing new communication channels for FNOL to improve the customer experience.

How to Bring Reluctant Employees Back to the Workplace

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June 7th, 2022

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As the pandemic restrictions loosen in severity, many businesses are resuming in-office work hours. However, not all employees are excited to return to the workplace, and their reasons aren’t as clearcut as employers may believe. The following are some illuminating insights into employees’ reluctance to resume onsite work and how to address them.

It’s Easier to Be Productive at Home

Depending on the employee’s home situation, they may have significantly fewer distractions. After all, their house doesn’t have the frequent opportunities for breakroom chitchat or the irritation of difficult coworkers. They also don’t have to contend with the noise that is ubiquitous to most office spaces. With two-thirds of employees reporting greater productivity while working from home, many are asking why they should have to come into the office. Offering work-from-home days can ease the transition back to the office while providing the flexibility and comfort of working from home. Employers can also rearrange their offices to create more effective spaces for quiet, independent work and collaborative work.

Burnout Disguised as Productivity

Employees may feel more productive at home, but it often comes at the expense of longer working hours and increased stress in the home. It’s not always easy to cut off work when it’s always within arm’s reach. The idea of commuting and socializing with colleagues adds an unacceptable layer of stress to burnt-out employees. Employers can take steps to reduce burnout by offering flexible work schedules that match employees’ family and household obligations, implementing wellness programs that focus on employees’ mental health, and encouraging and supporting vacation time.

The Pandemic is Still a Concern

Although COVID restrictions are easing, the threat still looms for many individuals. They or someone they live with may have comorbidities that put them at high risk for severe COVID complications. It’s also significantly different to dine outdoors at a restaurant than it is to thrust themselves into an enclosed space with dozens of colleagues. They can’t be certain if everyone is taking the same precautions as they are, and they’re worried about the health risks. Companies can address this by highlighting their increased sanitation protocols, requiring masks, performing daily health checks, or requiring proof of vaccination/a weekly negative COVID test for all employees.

Addressing employee concerns about returning to work is essential for attendance. Employees are more likely to call out or refuse to return at all if they feel their employer is disregarding their health and wellbeing. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about mitigating absenteeism as your employees return to the office.

4 Ways Call Center Agents Help to Grow the Company’s Brand

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May 24th, 2022

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outsource fnolCall center agents are the frontline brand ambassadors for businesses. They’re often the first person a customer speaks to when they call with a question or problem, and that interaction shapes the customer’s perception of the company. Call center agents can do much more than field incoming calls. With the right tools, they can drive loyalty, enhance a company’s brand and reputation, and generate revenue.

The following are four ways call centers can redefine the agent’s role and empower them to grow the company’s brand:

  1. Making an impression. Call center agents are often an untapped resource for advocating the company’s brand. Well-informed agents can leave customers with a lasting positive impression of the company. Providing agents with easy-to-find and -digest content that is relevant to customer requests is critical for agent knowledgeability, quality of knowledge, and service effectiveness.
  2. Transforming customer perceptions. Many customers reach out to call centers after performing their own search for answers. They view agents as a quick fix and don’t have a high level of trust in agents’ capabilities. Call centers cultivated that perception over the years by relying on canned responses and rigid transcripts. Agents can transform this viewpoint by personalizing customer interactions. For example, agents can engage with customers on their preferred communication channel (i.e., text, chat, phone call, or email), reference previous interactions with the customer, or make a personal remark based on data records (e.g., wishing the customer a happy birthday or thanking military service members for their service).
  3. Harnessing data to make smart upsells. Many eCommerce websites feature a carousel with recommended products or frequently purchased with products. In service-based industries, customers don’t always know what products and services complement their existing purchases. Agents can reference historical customer data to make relevant upsell recommendations, increase revenue, and drive value.
  4. Acting as the voice of the customer. Call center agents know a company’s customers better than anyone else in the organization. They listen to their difficulties, work with them to solve their problems, and engage with them at a personal level. While customer data is invaluable, agents have insights into the customers’ emotions, preferences, and more. Businesses that encourage agents to share their knowledge can implement changes that improve the customer experience and perception of the company.

Call center agents are the first point of contact for many customers. Providing them with advanced training and technology hones their skills and elevates their service quality. Over time, a successful call center can transform the customer perception of agents from a band-aid solution to a trusted advisor. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about the benefits of an empathetic and high-tech call center.

4 Things Customers Expect from the Insurance Claims Experience

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May 10th, 2022

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FNOL SolutionsCustomer expectations are constantly evolving in complexity. In the past, insurance companies only had to compete against each other. Now, customers compare providers based on all their digital service experiences. They want the personalization they experience with Amazon combined with the unparalleled customer service of Zappos. They want self-service options, rapid resolutions for their problems, and knowledgeable agents.

Today’s customers have high expectations, and falling short may mean losing their business. Here are a few strategies insurance providers can implement to improve the customer’s insurance claim experience:

  1. Use electronic forms. Electronic forms reduce the frustration and delays caused by human errors. For example, digital forms can guide customers through claims paperwork to ensure they fill and sign everything required. Eliminating human error expedites repairs, payouts, and more for a much more efficient claim cycle.
  2. Personalize product offerings. Customers have a general idea of the insurance coverage they need, but they may not be aware of coverage exclusions or gaps in their policies. Insurance providers can add value to their services and improve the customer experience by including recommended products tailored to the customer’s existing policies. For example, if a customer lists their occupation as a driver for food delivery services, they likely need special coverage for their vehicle. Customers may not be aware that many personal auto policies don’t cover the business use of the vehicle.
  3. Engage more often. Many customers only hear from their insurance provider when it’s time to renew their policy. Such limited interactions fail to build meaningful relationships, and insurance providers are missing out on valuable customer insight. Insurance providers can conduct surveys, create content customers value (e.g., tips to reduce insurance premiums, common coverage gaps, dispelling insurance myths, etc.), and engage with customers on social media.
  4. Implement omnichannel communication. Customers use a variety of communication channels daily, and many have clear preferences. Some may prefer a traditional phone call or email, while others may prefer the casual nature of texting or messaging over social media. Offering text communication is also important, as there may be times when customers need answers straightaway. Providing a multitude of communication options allows customers to engage on their preferred platform.

Omnichannel communication is an important component of elevating the customer experience and digitally transforming the insurance industry. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how text and chat services can improve your customers’ claims experiences.

What Qualities do Customers Prioritize in a Call Center?

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May 3rd, 2022

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Outsource FNOLTechnology, innovation, and convenience are constantly increasing customer expectations. Customers often leave a call center interaction dissatisfied, even if they received an answer to their question. Customers want more than a solution for their problems. Achieving customer satisfaction is a nuanced skill call centers can’t afford to mismanage.

Detailed Breakdown of Customer Expectations

Insurance providers have a significant opportunity to improve customer satisfaction by ensuring their call center meets their customers’ needs and expectations. Customers consistently list speedy problem solving as their top priority when engaging with a call center. Their next main concern focuses on their personal interactions with call center agents. Similarly, their third priority is to speak with a knowledgeable agent.

Rapid Problem Solving:

  • 42% of customers want their problem resolved quickly
  • 40% expect rapid answers to their questions
  • 40% want personal interaction with agents
  • 39% want easy access to information
  • 37% want to speak with call center agents located in their country

Personal Interactions with a Knowledgeable Agent:

  • 40% of customers expect respectful treatment
  • 39% expect call center employees to have good communication skills
  • 38% want multiple communication channels
  • 36% expect easy and painless customer service interactions
  • 36% expect agents to know their details and information upfront
  • 35% expect call center agents to have access to all their information

Successful call centers understand customer priorities and train to meet their expectations. Failing to do so results in an unsatisfactory experience and degrades customer loyalty. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how a nearshore call center can improve customer service and exceed customers’ expectations.

4 Ways to Personalize the Customer Journey and Maximize Loyalty

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April 26th, 2022

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Customers have an overwhelming number of options to choose from when considering insurance providers. Well-established organizations, innovative newcomers, and digital insurers round out an oversaturated market. Many of these insurance companies carry similar products, and insurers can no longer rely on their services as a differentiating factor. Instead, insurance companies need to provide a seamless customer journey to capitalize on the 73% of customers that favor businesses with personalized shopping experiences.

Here are four steps insurers can take to personalize the customer experience:

  1. Gather data through surveys. Customer surveys provide a comprehensive overview of customer preferences. Asking customers about their preferences can provide actionable insights to create an effortless experience without resorting to clunky trial and error.
  2. Identify customer segments. As the name suggests, personalization is not one-size-fits-all. Surveys can help insurers identify customer preference groups and adjust their experience accordingly. For example, customers purchasing homeowners’ insurance in flood-prone areas may not realize they also need flood insurance. Insurers can use this opportunity to make relevant and targeted product recommendations.
  3. Cross-train teams. Teams that operate within work bubbles miss critical personalization opportunities. For instance, a customer experience team has the knowledge and expertise to facilitate an effortless customer experience. However, while they can funnel customers to the right products, they may not understand why the customers abandon their carts. A customer service team can offer insight into customer hesitations. By working together, these teams can craft personalized communications that entice customers to return to their carts.
  4. Reach customers on their preferred platform. Part of personalization is knowing where customers prefer to engage. It’s useless to send a survey request by email to a customer that doesn’t often check their inbox. Offering omnichannel communication gives customers the option to communicate by phone, text, chat, email, social media, and more.

Insurers can’t afford to neglect the customer experience, as many customers consider leaving their insurance provider after a single negative interaction. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about improving the customer experience with text and chat services.

How to Create an Office Environment Employees Will Love

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April 19th, 2022

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FNOLThe pandemic forced many companies to shift to an all-remote staff, but many are returning to the office as the omicron surge wanes. Flexibility and the option to telework are here to stay, and employees are likely to divide their time between the office and at home. However, employees have grown used to their home offices. The layout is to their liking, snacks are readily available, and their productivity is impressive. If their workspace at the office falls short by comparison, they aren’t going to want to be there. It’s also likely to tank their engagement and hinder their work output.

Office spaces should energize and motivate employees rather than leaving them underwhelmed and apathetic. Here are several ideas to cultivate workspaces that employees will love.

Create Collaborative Spaces

Teams need spaces to engage, bounce around ideas, and form a cohesive plan. Depending on the company culture and space availability, employees may prefer to gather on comfortable couches in break rooms, meet at a round table, or book a formal closed-door meeting. Stocking these rooms with tools that inspire creative collaboration (e.g., whiteboards and dry erase markers) can maximize their effectiveness.

Define Quiet Productivity Areas

Many employees struggled with distractions from pets, kids, family members, or other people living in the house while telecommuting. The workplace should seek to eliminate these noisy interruptions for times when employees need to focus. Meeting rooms away from the main office thoroughfare work well for this purpose, or companies can designate a productivity space that discourages phone calls, loud conversations, music, etc.

Design Workspaces with Employee Wellbeing in Mind

Enhanced cleaning protocols became the norm as the pandemic progressed, but companies can do much more to make the workplace a relaxing and supportive environment. Dark workspaces can leave employees feeling lethargic and unproductive. Increasing natural lighting in workspaces does wonders for employees’ happiness and engagement. Companies can achieve this with easy and cost-effective changes, such as moving workspaces to well-lit areas, adding mirrors to reflect the light, or using bright lights that mimic natural sunlight if it isn’t possible to rearrange the office layout. Eliminating clutter can also improve employees’ moods, as visual clutter often overwhelms employees and increases their stress.

The change to exclusively telecommuting happened quickly, and employees had little time to adjust. Businesses have much more control over the return-to-office process. Creating a workspace that employees want to use doesn’t have to be grand or cost prohibitive. Simple changes to layout and lighting can improve employees’ mood, productivity, and desire to go to the office.

The office setting needs to support employees’ creativity, productivity, and mental wellbeing. If their home offices are better equipped, companies may struggle to transition their workforce back into the workplace. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about what influences employee attendance and how you can improve it.

How to Improve the Customer Experience with Text Messaging

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April 12th, 2022

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fnol textingPeople spend a significant portion of their day on their phones. They check it on average every 10 minutes for new text messages, emails, and app notifications. The number of texts sent in 2020 increased by 52 billion compared to 2019. COVID-19 is a significant factor in this surge. While people were already using their phones regularly, it became the primary method of keeping in touch with friends and family during the height of the pandemic. Younger generations are also driving the increase in text messaging, as many of them prefer texting over talking on the phone.

Insurance companies have a significant opportunity to improve the customer experience by embracing text message communications. Customers are already on their phones, and conversations flow smoother when insurers communicate with customers on their preferred platform. Here are several ways text messaging can improve the customer experience:

  1. Texting is inherently more personal than an email or phone call. The casual tone allows conversations to flow easily. Texting also offers rapid resolutions to customers’ problems without the hassle of navigating a phone tree.
  2. Customer service agents can’t carry on multiple phone calls at once without placing everyone on hold in turns. With texting, agents can quickly respond to several different text conversations without sacrificing the quality of service.
  3. A text message is faster than an email without monopolizing the customer’s time. When a customer has to call their insurance provider, they can’t accomplish much else. With texting, they can take care of other work or personal tasks in between messages. If the customer experiences a loss, they can receive answers to their urgent coverage questions without delay.
  4. Some customers don’t like talking on the phone. Between work and family obligations, some may not have the time required to resolve their problem over the phone. Offering multiple communication channels allows customers to choose the method they prefer.

A text message communication channel facilitates smooth, prompt, and efficient customer service conversations. If an insurance company wants to engage with its customer base, it needs to reach out to them on the channels they’re using. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about our text and chat customer support services.