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.

4 Blunders Companies Make When Communicating With Customers

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January 25th, 2022

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Exceptional customer service is essential for an insurance company to succeed. Customers want to feel like a valued client rather than a file number, and they want rapid answers to their questions. They also place a premium on hassle-free claims. However, many insurance companies make several missteps when communicating with their customers. Miscommunications lead to frustration and a poor customer experience.

The following are some of the typical blunders insurance companies make when communicating with insureds:

  1. Chronic understaffing. Customers hate waiting on hold. They hate it even more when they have an urgent problem, such as a car accident or loss. It degrades customer loyalty to have consistently long wait times, as they feel undervalued. Call logs can provide actionable insight for staffing needs by determining when call volumes are highest.
  2. Limited communication options. It’s not always possible for an insured to call in a claim, and many prefer other communication channels altogether. For simple policy questions, some insureds would rather contact chat support. Others prefer email to maintain a record of communication. Customers expect to have several communication channels available to them, including phone, email, a mobile app, text, and chat support.
  3. Lack of adequate training. Customer service representatives need to be experts when it comes to the insurance products the company carries, how to answer questions about various policies, and how to navigate the claims process from FNOL to resolution. In addition to being knowledgeable, service representatives need soft skills, such as empathy and problem-solving.
  4. Not providing support 24/7. Accidents and losses don’t contain themselves to typical working hours. Insured need a way to establish first notice of loss (FNOL) wherever and whenever the incident occurs. If an insured can’t receive the help they need during a crisis, they’re likely to look for a new insurance provider. Insurance providers can meet this customer need by investing in a nearshore call center.

Nearshore call centers provide the benefits of an offshore service without the headaches. Nearshore service representatives are familiar with the customer’s culture and can respond with the appropriate empathy for the situation. Contact Actec to learn more about the benefits of a nearshore call center.

5 Methods to Improve the Quality of Your Call Center

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January 4th, 2022

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Businesses need a call center that answers customers’ questions quickly and satisfactorily while providing superior service. If customer satisfaction dips, companies can implement several strategies to enhance the quality of their customer service. These include:

  1. Ensure call center employees understand the standards. Poor quality of service reflects badly on a company. Without clear guidelines, call center employees will struggle to provide the level of service a company expects. For example, if a company’s culture prioritizes friendliness, call center employees should adopt a friendly tone rather than a strictly corporate one.
  2. Train new employees. Onboarding and training new employees are norms, but how thorough the training is affects the quality of service employees can provide. For example, allowing new employees to shadow veteran employees improves their understanding of service expectations.
  3. Coach employees often. Call centers often record customer calls, which companies can use to coach employees. Companies can recognize high performers to help new employees learn the desired quality of service. Managers can also coach employees that are struggling to meet KPIs.
  4. Ask customers for their input. Companies may believe their call center is performing well, but they can’t know for sure without feedback. Businesses can ask customers to fill out satisfaction surveys either via email, text, or on their website.
  5. Learn from negative feedback. Angry customers aren’t likely to take employees’ feelings into consideration when they leave feedback or reviews. However, it’s valuable insight into weak areas of the company’s customer service.

Providing clear standards, training employees well, mentoring them, and learning from customer feedback are critical to providing quality customer service. If your current call center isn’t performing to your standard or if you’re searching for a provider, contact the experts at Actec to learn more about our nearshore call center services.

4 Strategies to Improve the Digital Customer FNOL Experience

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December 14th, 2021

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Customers have high expectations of their insurance company. Providing a good customer experience hinges on how well providers understand these expectations. Quality service and competitive product prices are still important, but customers aren’t willing to tolerate friction to get them. Customers need to know they are more than a file to their insurer, and they expect frustration-free interactions. Half of the customers will seek a new insurance provider after a single negative interaction. That number skyrockets to 80% with repeat bad experiences.

Here are several strategies to improve the online customer experience:

  1. Find their pain points. Companies that identify bottlenecks or common frustration points for their customers can take steps to remove as much of this irritation as possible from digital customer service. Live chat is a great way to facilitate these conversations with insureds and allows agents to resolve customer problems in real-time.
  2. Optimize for mobile and accessibility. Customers need to have access to their provider on any browser or device. Having a responsive website for all devices is an established standard, but it’s useless if the webpage can’t function properly on certain browsers. Customers won’t bother to download or switch to another browser. With every abandoned interaction, insurance providers lose some of that customer’s loyalty.
  3. Let them help themselves. Customers are tech-savvy and often want to find solutions on their own time. Some popular self-service options include knowledge bases, frequently asked questions, and community forums.
  4. Offer omnichannel communication. Customers have diverse preferences for how they engage with their insurance provider. Some prefer traditional communication methods, such as the phone or submitting a ticket through their portal. However, others want to reach out over social media, text message, or chat. Many use a mix of different channels depending on the complexity of their problem.

Insurance companies need to provide high-quality service during every customer interaction. Engaging with customers when and how they prefer is a significant step to meeting their expectations. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about implementing text and chat support.

How to Transform the Customer Experience with Technology

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November 9th, 2021

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The insurance industry has made significant strides toward improving the customer experience in recent years. Many have updated customer documents to reduce industry jargon and increased engagement with their customer base. While these are promising first steps, insurance companies need to harness new technology to deliver the experience their customers want. Some examples include:

Show Customers the Value of Data Sharing

Today’s customers expect services tailored to their needs, but meeting that expectation relies on having accurate data. Insurers that collect customer information during every interaction can provide personalized policies and other product recommendations that align with their customers’ lifestyles, risk profiles, and more. Encouraging customers to share these details also gives insurers an opportunity to demonstrate their transparency by explaining how they use that information.

Implement AI at Every Stage of the Customer’s Journey

Insurance providers have started dabbling in AI integrations. Some use AI chatbots to provide answers to customers’ simple questions regarding their coverage or claims. Insurers also use AI to automate certain aspects of the claims process, while others use the technology to detect fraud. Applying AI technology to all customer interactions expedites claims processing, resolves customer questions quickly, and provides an overall better experience.

Offer Omnichannel Communication

Customers hate waiting on hold, waiting for email responses, and waiting for claims updates. In short, they hate waiting, and it erodes their satisfaction and loyalty. Offering omnichannel communication allows customers to engage with their insurance provider when and how they prefer. Insurers should aim to expand upon the typical communication channels like phone and email to include social media, text, and chat.

Customers expect a personalized experience when they interact with their insurance provider. They also want convenience and rapid solutions to their problems. Text and chat communication offers insurance providers a chance to use a more personal communication method to improve the customer’s experience and exceed their expectations. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about implementing chat and text communication.

How to Overcome Chat Customer Service Challenges

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October 26th, 2021

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Customers expect businesses to offer several channels of communication, including through social media, email, phone calls, and chat support. Chat support is particularly effective in securing customer satisfaction and loyalty when done well. However, chat customer service has unique communication challenges that can damage the customer’s experience and perception of the company.

The following are the most common challenges that can trip up customer service agents while chatting with a customer:

Misunderstandings

Whether the customer doesn’t understand the message or the service rep fails to grasp the problem, misunderstandings can occur on both sides of the conversation. Agents should always ask for clarification rather than making assumptions about the situation. Agents that ask specific questions and use active listening techniques can get the conversation back on track.

Impersonal Interactions

Personalization plays a critical role in customer satisfaction, but it’s easy to lose in chat communication. Compounding the problem, customers can tell when an agent gives them a scripted answer to their inquiry. Using friendly greetings, referring to the customer by name, and engaging in the conversation all show the customer they are more than a ticket number.

Tone Issues

People rely on inflection, gestures, and facial expressions to interpret the tone of a conversation. Without these social cues, chat communication can come across as blunt, cold, or outright hostile. Establishing a company-wide tone for customer communication can help alleviate the issue. For example, a company that brands itself as energetic and friendly can use language to reflect that while chatting with customers.

Empathy and efficiency are critical for successful chat communication. Customers expect agents to be knowledgeable, friendly, and fast problem solvers. Effective chat customer service can meet all these needs. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about implementing chat services.

6 Reasons Why Customers Prefer Chat and Text Support

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September 28th, 2021

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Customers contact their insurance provider through a variety of channels; however, chat support is dominating the field. In the next year, experts project that chat support will increase by 87% across all sectors. Certain industries may see even higher growth as consumer demand rises. Consumers prefer to engage via chat and text over all other digital platforms, and insurance companies can’t afford to overlook these tools.

The single greatest reason customers prefer chat interactions over email, web portals, and other digital communication channels is the convenience. However, their interests and preferences are more nuanced than that. Here are several reasons why customers prefer chat and text support:

  1. Instant access. Chat and text support connects the customer with an agent immediately. The customer doesn’t need to navigate an app, a convoluted phone tree, or wait 24-48 hours for an email response.
  2. Short wait times. Nothing is more infuriating for a customer than finally getting through to an agent just to be put on hold. Customers have a low threshold for frustration, and chat and text support circumvent this by providing fast service.
  3. Historical data. Recording a call for quality assurance is great in theory, but it’s tedious in practice. Agents or managers have to listen to the call or rely on voice translators to find the information they need. With text and chat, the data is easy to find with a simple search.
  4. Fast resolutions. Customers usually contact customer service when they have a problem. They expect rapid solutions, which isn’t typically possible with other digital platforms like email or social media.
  5. Time considerate. Customers hate sitting on hold, as it takes up time they could use to complete other tasks. While chat and text wait times are much shorter than other communication channels, customers can have another browser window open or return to their work while waiting for a response.
  6. Immediate answers for policy- or claim-related questions. Waiting on hold or going through multiple transfers to receive answers to basic questions is frustrating. Customers want instantaneous answers when they have questions about their policy or want an update on their claim, which isn’t possible without chat or text communication channels.

Meeting customer needs and expectations is critical to securing their loyalty. Providing chat and text communication allows customers to engage with their insurance provider when and how they prefer. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about implementing chat and text communication channels.

How to Improve Your Call Center’s Internal Communication

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September 21st, 2021

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Quality customer service is the core goal of any call center, and it relies on call center agents’ communication skills. However, a call center will struggle to perform if internal communications are problematic. Contradictions from management, misunderstandings, and unclear directives can wreak havoc within a call center and reduce agents’ abilities to reach their target key performance indicators (KPIs).

Improving internal communication provides several benefits, including increased productivity, heightened employee morale, and a boost in profits. Companies can implement the following to improve their call centers’ internal communication:

  • Provide clear communication expectations. Employees use a variety of channels to communicate, such as emails, texts, phone calls, or in person. Outlining expectations for tone and usage of these channels can eliminate confusion and frustration.
  • Define each employee’s role. When employees don’t understand how their job contributes toward a team or company-wide goal, they’re likely to struggle or disengage. When employees know each other’s roles, it also empowers them to seek the right individual when handling a problem.
  • Incorporate transparency into training. Onboarding and ongoing training are critical to honing employees’ skills, but that may not be clear to everyone on the team. Explaining the why behind the training demonstrates honesty and respect for employees’ time.
  • Avoid spam-like communication. Employees aren’t machines, and they’re likely to glaze over when they open a long-winded or not-relevant-to-them email. Embedding pleasantries like “We appreciate your time and effort!” at the end of an email with little value comes across as empty and false. Emails should be easy to scan and truncated to the most salient points.

Ineffective communication within a call center can lead to information silos, process breakdowns, and unsatisfactory customer service. Excellent communication, both internal and external, is the backbone of a successful call center. Actec can provide your company with the high-quality call center you need. Contact us to learn more about our nearshore call center solutions.

4 KPIs to Boost Your Call Center’s Quality of Service

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September 7th, 2021

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Superior customer service is the foundation of every successful company, regardless of sector or industry. Many companies rely on call centers to handle their customer service, and they need to know call center agents are delivering the quality of service customers expect. Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) can identify where a call center excels at customer service as well as areas that need improvement.

Modern technology provides a wealth of data to understand customer satisfaction but focusing on the wrong KPIs wastes time and money without improving the service quality. Here are some of the most crucial KPIs to improve customer service:

  1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT). CSAT scores are the top KPI when it comes to customer happiness. Companies measure this KPI by asking about the customer’s overall satisfaction with the product/service. Customers rate their experience on a five-point scale: very unsatisfied, unsatisfied, neutral, satisfied, or very satisfied. Companies track CSAT scores by calculating the percentage of customers who select satisfied and very satisfied, with the goal of reaching 100%.
  2. First Contact Resolution (FCR). FCR scores are a good measure of how well call center agents resolve customer issues on the first call. Businesses can identify they have an FCR problem if agents often have to escalate the call to another representative or if the customer has to call back again.
  3. Customer Effort Score (CES). The CES is an excellent indicator of how easy it is for a customer to complete an interaction or use a service. Customers expect low-effort interactions, and providing frictionless service is key to securing customer loyalty. Customers that put in a high level of effort to find solutions to their problems are more likely to look for a new provider.
  4. Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS uses a scale of one to ten to assess how likely it is that a customer will recommend the company’s product or services to others. Promoters are customers who answer with a nine or ten. Respondents that choose seven or eight are passive, while anyone that selects six or below are detractors. Most organizations consider this the ultimate question, as it signals if the business is doing well and if customer relations are good.

Tracking the above KPIs can allow call centers to improve the quality of service they provide. However, companies need to ensure they’ve invested in the best call center to suit their needs, and no amount of KPIs can overcome a bad match. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about our nearshore call center services.

5 Signs Your Business Needs a Call Center

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August 24th, 2021

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Small- to mid-sized businesses may think call centers aren’t something they need to concern themselves with. However, as business begins to flourish, lagging customer service can bring growth to a halt while eroding income potential. Companies that notice the following signs need a call center if they want their company to flourish:

  1. The phone never stops ringing. An uptick in customer calls is great for business unless the company doesn’t have the staff to handle all the calls. If employees are constantly fielding incoming calls, they’re going to struggle to complete their other tasks. A call center lightens employees’ workloads so they can focus on their primary jobs.
  2. Too many voicemails to sift through. Companies without call center support will start each workday listening to voicemails left overnight. Most of these voicemails won’t be emergencies, but companies can’t afford to keep an urgent request waiting as they work their way through the queue. A call center can field these calls and identify which requests need immediate attention.
  3. Delays in replying to business prospects. The world of sales is fast-paced, and companies can’t afford to leave potential clients waiting. Customers aren’t content to wait for an answer and will look elsewhere to find a solution. If another company provides an immediate answer, they will earn that customer’s business. If customer calls reach levels that the company can’t manage promptly, it may be time for a call center to meet customer needs and expectations.
  4. Current customers display increasing levels of frustration. Keeping the current customer base happy is just as important as securing new leads. If existing customers have to leave a voicemail and wait until the next day for a reply, their satisfaction and loyalty will drop accordingly. If a company sees a sustained uptick in frustration from its customer base, it may need a call center to handle the calls.
  5. The expense of more customer service employees limits growth potential. In-house customer service representatives are valuable, but they’re hard to maintain as a company grows. Expansion is exciting, but the company needs to be able to increase its customer service along with its business prospects. Call centers provide a much more cost-effective solution than hiring a slew of in-house employees.

If your business is experiencing any of the above, it’s time to consider a call center. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how our nearshore call center solutions can help your company.