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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Call 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:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
Keeping customer churn to a minimum is an ongoing endeavor in the insurance industry. A single poor experience or negative interaction is enough for customers to look for a new provider. The cost of losing business goes well beyond product value. Finding new customers and securing their loyalty takes time and revenue. Word of mouth from dissatisfied customers can also hinder business prospects.
Engagement wasn’t a requirement prior to the rise of Fintech, Insurtech, and other technologically advanced startups. These companies radically changed customer expectations and disrupted standard business practices. Now, engaging with policyholders is a necessity to prevent customer attrition rates from spiraling.
The following are several creative ways insurers can improve customer engagement:
- Utilize social media. Social networking has come a long way since the early years of Myspace and Facebook. People have moved beyond liking photos and retweeting memes. They use these platforms to seek out recommendations, share their experiences, and purchase services. It’s not enough for insurance companies to post bland press releases or reminders about open enrollment. Insurers need to engage with customers where they congregate, and the overwhelming majority prefer digital interactions.
- Create content with a purpose. Expanding on the idea above, insurance providers can increase customer engagement by producing valuable content. Customers often try to find answers to their insurance questions themselves before reaching out to a representative. Insurers can meet this expectation by providing a knowledge bank with content that discusses common insurance misconceptions, answers frequently asked questions, or compares policy options with easy-to-digest infographics.
- Offer insurance products with built-in rewards. Health insurance products that reward customers for achieving wellness goals serve two purposes. Improving customers’ health reduces the likelihood of them falling ill or developing preventable diseases, and fewer claims reduce the financial burden placed on insurance providers. Built-in rewards also create an opportunity to engage with customers through check-ins, redeeming wellness points, and celebrating health goals. Cash prizes and premium reductions are the most popular options. However, insurance providers can offer wellness rewards on a smaller scale as well, such as providing a free gym membership.
- Personalize the insurance journey. Customers easily recognize and dismiss canned emails. They’re impersonal and do little to capture the customer’s interest. Understanding the customer is critical for personalization, as it allows insurance providers to recommend relevant products. Knowing how the customer prefers to communicate is also important, as insurance companies can use that information to start the personalization process. Insurance providers can also use this data to reach their target audience and market their products more effectively.
Effective customer engagement requires a multipronged approach. For example, producing valuable content is useless if customers never see it. Interacting with customers on their preferred platform improves visibility and engagement while reducing customer churn. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing new communications channels like text and chat services.
Customer 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
People 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Which insurance provider a customer selects depends on several factors. The value of the product and the service quality customers receive are significant factors in their overall satisfaction. However, insurance providers have a significant opportunity to secure a new customer’s loyalty immediately after establishing their account.
The onboarding experience can help customers feel welcomed while showcasing the value of their insurance packages. The following new customer onboarding procedures can boost customer retention and satisfaction:
- Offer simple tutorials. Logging into a web portal or mobile app for the first time can be overwhelming for new customers. Several tabs and content features compete for their attention and may leave them feeling confused. Including a tutorial can help new customers learn to navigate their products and services without frustration or confusion.
- Include an onboarding checklist. Customers may not be able to unlock the full potential of their portals without completing certain onboarding tasks. Including an automated checklist that updates as they complete these tasks can ensure the best experience possible. Automating these tasks can expedite the process as well.
- Provide a self-service area. Many of today’s customers are tech-savvy. They want to find the answers to their simple questions without placing a call or submitting a ticket. Offering help documentation and online answers to frequently asked questions empowers customers and allows them to find solutions quickly.
- Offer multiple communication channels. Customers want a personalized experience, which includes communicating on their terms. Some individuals prefer to speak to a customer service representative, while others want a chat option. Implementing several communication channels allows customers to use their preferred method to engage with their insurance provider.
Implementing text and chat services provides flexibility for customers, particularly when establishing first notice of loss (FNOL). Customers reporting a loss are often under immense stress. Having the option to text or chat with their insurance provider removes the frustration of waiting on hold or reporting a loss through a web portal. Text and chat services for FNOL meet customer needs during stressful events. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about our text and chat services.
The pandemic radically altered typical business operations. While many industries struggled to maintain customer engagement, the insurance industry experienced a meteoric rise in customer service calls. Customer needs shifted with dizzying speed, and insureds expected their providers to keep pace. For example, people drove less following the pandemic onset, and individuals with leased vehicles noted a preference for usage-based coverage. Liabilities also changed when individuals began working from home.
Many insurance companies rely on a call center to field their customer service calls. The sudden influx of pandemic-driven inquiries highlighted the bottlenecks and pain points of pre-pandemic call centers. The following are several call center trends insurance companies need to know for the coming year:
- The geographic distribution of call centers is changing. Offshore call centers come with several hurdles, most notably language barriers and cultural differences impeding service quality. Two-thirds of call centers around the world are in the Americas, which underscores the importance of nearshore call centers.
- Difficult calls and escalations are on the rise. Customer needs changed too fast for most insurance companies to update policies on how to handle the sudden increase in customer calls. Escalations increased by 68%, and difficult calls rose by 50%. The information bottleneck tanked the customer experience, and many insurers responded by revamping their call center to meet customers’ changing needs.
- Customer expectations continue to rise. Customers’ increasing expectations from their insurance provider isn’t a new trend. Technology revolutionized customer service and changed what customers require from their insurers. However, achieving a satisfying experience means meeting key benchmarks for customer inquiries. For instance, high-performing call centers answer calls within 20 seconds and resolve the customer’s problem within four minutes.
- The customer’s first call has significant ramifications on their loyalty. Customers have lower thresholds than ever for frustration. They are likely under stress when they reach out to their insurance provider, and an unsatisfying outcome degrades their loyalty. Fifteen percent of customers consider switching to a competitor if they don’t receive a satisfactory answer to their problem, whereas only one percent make this consideration when the customer service representative resolves their issue on the first call.
- Customers will seek out competitors after a single negative experience. One bad interaction is all it takes to risk losing customers. For example, one-third of Americans consider switching companies if they receive poor customer service.
Insurance providers need a call center that provides consistent and superior service. The customer experience is a key factor for their ongoing loyalty. Contact Actec to learn how a nearshore call center can benefit your company.
The competition remains high in the insurance industry, and insurance companies need every edge they can get to maintaincustomer loyalty while attracting new clients. Advancements in technology drastically changed how customers engage with their insurers. Many expect omnichannel communication options, and failing to meet this expectation can lose their business. Customers have a notable preference for real-time communication, such as chat and text messaging customer support. Here are several trends that emphasize the importance of chat and text customer service:
- Over half of customers (around 60%) expect a rapid response to their customer support questions. When an insured initiates first notice of loss (FNOL) or needs an update about their claim, they don’t want to wait several hours or days for a response. They are experiencing a stressful event and view long wait times for a response as poor service. Text and chat FNOL services provide rapid answers and soothe concerns.
- Only about one-third of businesses think text and chat services are important to customers. There is a notable incongruity between what communication channels customers want and what businesses think their customers want. Insurance providers have a ripe opportunity to improve their service by meeting customers where they want to engage—via text or chat.
- Customers between the ages of 18 and 49 indicate live chat is their preferred customer service channel. Millennials are 20% more likely to use chat services than baby boomers, while over one-third of Gen Z prefer chat services. Gen Z particularly dislikes making phone calls for their service inquiries, and over half of them avoid calling customer support altogether.
- Chat services are the most satisfying communication channel for most customers. Nearly three-fourths of customers that use chat services for their customer support questions report a satisfying result. This percentage tanks to 51% for email communications and 44% for phone calls.
- Chat services are an effective lead generator. Potential customers are wary of providing their contact details. Some are concerned about security, while others don’t want to receive a barrage of marketing emails, phone calls, etc. However, when customers decide to provide their information, over 40% prefer to do so through chat. Insurance companies need a chat or text option for customer service to maximize their leads.
Implementing text and chat services is critical to meet customer expectations and retain their loyalty. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about the benefits of text and chat customer support.
Today’s customers are more empowered and want more involvement when engaging with their service providers. Many prefer self-service options and want to find answers to their questions on their own. As a result, they have elevated expectations when they reach out to their insurance company for assistance. They’ve likely already tried to resolve the issue, and they don’t want a quick fix. Customers expect representatives to be knowledgeable and go the extra mile to resolve their complex problems.
Customer loyalty is fickle in the insurance industry, and a single negative interaction is enough to send them looking for a new provider. However, lackluster service isn’t likely to stimulate customer loyalty. The following are several ways to provide stellar customer service in a hyper-competitive environment:
- Engage with social media. Customers are more connected than ever and having a social media presence is a must. However, social media pages are ripe for gathering data and enhancing customer service. For example, companies can follow customers back to see what they’re talking about and gain insight into their customer base. Insurers should respond to all comments as well—the good and the bad—to build trust and show the customers that their provider cares about them. Social media also helps gather unfiltered customer feedback, which insurance companies can use to improve the customer experience.
- Seek feedback through multiple channels. Not all customers engage with companies in the same way. Some prefer to complete surveys through email, text, or phone, while others prefer to leave reviews online. Social media is another great way to gather feedback through interactive polls. Essentially, companies should seek feedback where their customers are congregating. They are much more likely to yield useful information for improving customer service.
- Respond quickly. Even if there is no immediate answer to a customer’s problem, insurance providers need to let their customers know they are working on a solution. Companies that reply quickly are way ahead in the customer service race than companies that leave their customers wondering if their insurer received their message.
- Surprise customers with thoughtful gestures. Monitoring social media channels is a great way to identify features customers want. Sending a tweet to a customer about a new service offering made based on their suggestion humanizes the organization and shows the company cares about their customers’ opinions. Gestures don’t have to be grand to have a positive effect, either. For example, insurance providers can send customers a gift card with a thoughtful message after experiencing a covered loss. Small gestures like this show the customer their insurance provider cares about the difficulties they’re facing during a stressful claims process.
- Use technology the right way. Trying to shoehorn a customer into an awkward technology funnel will fail to meet expectations every time. Technology should help customer service representatives provide the best possible service while meeting customers’ needs when and how they require it.
Implementing text and chat first notice of loss (FNOL) support is a great way to expedite the claims process and provide customers with a sense of agency during a stressful event. Customers can report accidents or other covered perils through their preferred communication channel, receive updates regarding their claims, or find answers to their coverage questions. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about the benefits of text and chat FNOL services.