4 Insights to Optimize Call Center Employee Onboarding

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September 13th, 2022

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Outsource FNOLCall centers often experience high employee turnover, and insufficient onboarding processes are a driving factor. Companies that optimize the process can save time and money while improving employee retention. The following are several insights to improve the onboarding process for new call center employees:

  1. Pay attention to personality traits and soft skills. Onboarding is useless if a new hire doesn’t have the demeanor required to do the job. Soft skills like empathy, active listening, and coolness under pressure significantly effect customer satisfaction. Unhappy agents that aren’t suited to the job can ultimately damage the customer experience and the company’s reputation. Employers can train new agents on technical skills. However, changing their personality is difficult, bordering on impossible.
  2. Gamification is a strong motivator. Videogames figured out that players responded enthusiastically to unlocking achievements. Gamification in the workplace, such as friendly competition or striving to reach a milestone, can hold the same appeal. It imbues a sense of fun and excitement that ultimately improves productivity and performance.
  3. Simplify knowledge acquisition. Knowledge bases are a must-have for agents of all experience levels. While tenured agents may know how to navigate a convoluted system, it’s likely to frustrate newer employees. A robust and easy-to-use knowledge base is a powerful training tool and allows new agents to begin fielding calls much faster.
  4. Train agents on how to handle angry callers. Phone calls from frustrated customers are common for call centers, and new agents need to know how to handle them. Many of these calls require active listening, repeating information, and avoiding putting the customer on hold. Agents that understand the process can quickly access information to meet the customer’s needs while remaining calm.

Automation and self-service tools allow customers to find answers to many of their questions themselves. However, some situations require human interaction. How well a company onboards new call center agents directly effects the customer’s experience and loyalty. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing a nearshore contact center.

Giving Customers Confidence When Sharing Their Data

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August 23rd, 2022

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external software solutionsPersonalization is a critical part of delivering a high-quality customer experience in the insurance industry. However, tailored experiences require customers to share their data with their insurance provider, something many may hesitate to do. Insurance providers need to understand the four primary attitudes about sharing data before they can take steps to convince customers to give out personal information.

  1. Unaware access granters. These customers don’t fully understand how companies use their data. They often click accept without reading the terms, and many don’t realize what they agreed to share. They may have apps that have access to their photos, their apps, or location without realizing how much they’re sharing. They often have strong and harsh reactions when they discover how much data they unknowingly provided.
  2. Begrudging acceptance. A significant portion of customers know how much access they’re granting when they accept terms of service, cookies, and so on, but they are not happy about it. They consider it the cost of doing business or a necessity to receive the services they require. Pushing these customers to share more can backfire quickly, as they are already on the fence about it.
  3. Cautious and wary. Customers who seem overly cautious when companies ask them to share data likely had negative experiences or had their trust betrayed in the past. They often require evidence as to why the company wants their data, how the company will use their data, and how the company will protect their private information. Making this information difficult to locate or understand will immediately set these customers on their guard or send them looking for a more transparent provider.
  4. Incognito anonymity. These individuals do not want companies to know more information about them than is absolutely necessary. Even then, that information is often misleading. They view data gathering as an unnecessary hassle. They employ several tactics to protect their data. Examples include browsing online while in incognito mode on Google Chrome, using P.O. boxes for package deliveries to maximize privacy, or setting up a second email account to capture all the spam emails they assume will follow. Convincing this group to share data requires careful trust building, pristine transparency, and a friction-free customer experience.

Identifying which group customers fall into can be challenging early in the data gathering process. Thankfully, insurance providers can avoid major missteps with all customers by following a few guidelines. To start, explicitly explain what data they collect, how they use it, and how it benefits the customer. Make the information easy to find and use easy-to-understand language. Avoid asking customers for a lot of information too quickly, acknowledge their concerns about the sensitive nature of their data, and explain the security in place to protect their privacy.

Customer service in the insurance industry is often high stakes. Many customers only contact their insurance provider following a loss and will look for a new provider after a single negative experience. Text and chat services give customs the immediate access they need during stressful times. Agents also have an opportunity to establish a rapport and build the trust many customers require before they’ll share their data. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing text and chat services.

5 Customer Service Metrics that Define Successful Call Centers

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July 26th, 2022

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Outsource FNOLCall center metrics can reveal the overall health of a call center and determine its likelihood of success. Analyzing metrics and implementing data-based changes allows a call center to continually improve its processes and the service it provides to customers. The following metrics characterize top-performing call centers:

  1. Average handle time (AHT). AHT encompasses the total time of a customer phone call and often plays a critical role in customer satisfaction. Shorter calls tend to indicate better service, as the agent is rapidly resolving customer problems. In contrast, ineffective call centers often have a high AHT due to lack of training, knowledge, or efficiency.
  2. First call resolution (FCR). Call centers that answer customer questions or find solutions to customer problems on the first call typically have a high FCR. FCR is essential for customer satisfaction, as frequent transfers or escalations frustrate customers and erode their loyalty.
  3. Average speed of answer (ASA). ASA measures how long it takes for a customer to reach an agent after connecting with the call center. Much like AHT and FCR, ASA directly affects customer satisfaction. If a customer has to navigate a convoluted phone tree or has to wait a long time to speak with a person, they’ll likely be agitated by the time they reach an agent.
  4. Average resolution time (AST). Similar to AHT, this metric focuses on how long it takes agents to resolve customers’ inquiries. Customers expect agents to be knowledgeable enough to answer their questions or find a solution without delay. If the agent has to place them on hold several times or for long durations, the customer loses faith in the agent’s ability to help them. If they have to wait for too long, they may abandon the call altogether.
  5. Customer effort score (CES). CES measures how much effort it took to contact the company and the ease or difficulty of reaching a customer service agent. Customers don’t want to hunt for contact information, and they don’t want to jump through several hoops to reach a customer service representative. CES also measures how much effort it took for the customer to receive an answer or solution to their problem.

All these metrics influence customer satisfaction and are pivotal to securing customer loyalty. Organizations that analyze their call center data can harness that information to improve processes, service capabilities, and the customer experience. Contact Actec to learn how a nearshore call center can elevate your company’s customer service.

What’s Your Call Center’s Company Culture?

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July 12th, 2022

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fnol call centerSeveral elements define a company’s culture. The company’s mission, values, and leadership style all affect how employees engage with each other and how customers view the company. A strong, positive company culture drives employee motivation, productivity, and morale. Establishing a company culture takes time, but businesses have several styles they can cultivate within their call centers.

  1. Adhocracy Culture. The term adhocracy culture comes from ad hoc and prioritizes innovation and creativity above all else. Adhocracy culture encourages employees to take risks and accepts that failure may occur. However, this style of culture eliminates barriers that restrict creativity and often produces rapid growth and impressive innovations.
  2. Clan or Collaborative Culture. Businesses that embrace a clan or collaborative culture tend to treat employees like family members. Clan culture often abolishes traditional hierarchy roles and values all employees’ input equally regardless of their management level.
  3. Customer-Focused Culture. The customer experience dominates in customer-focused companies. They aim to provide paramount service and often go the extra mile to ensure a high-quality customer experience. These companies often equip employees with the technology and freedom required to exceed customer expectations.
  4. Hierarchy Culture. Hierarchy-driven businesses are the most traditional, with rigid tiers of management and responsibilities. High-risk organizations often develop a hierarchy culture to control and minimize failure. Although a bit old-fashioned, this culture style is more efficient than most.
  5. Market-Driven or Competitive Culture. Companies with a market-driven culture focus on getting their products on the market as quickly as possible. Employees in these organizations tend to work hard, thrive on competition, and focus on results. Businesses with market-driven cultures often emphasize an employee’s performance and ability to produce results over the workplace experience.
  6. Purpose-Driven Culture. Purpose-driven culture has taken off as customers show more interest in a company’s values. Employees have a strong sense of purpose and understand the importance of their work to the organization. The workforce often unites behind a shared belief, such as improving sustainability or advocating for human rights. Purpose-driven businesses aim to give back to the community that supports them and often donate to charities that align with their mission.
  7. Innovative Culture. Similar to an adhocracy culture, companies with an innovative culture focus on inventive ideas. However, innovative cultures have several distinguishing features. Innovation-focused companies aim to improve processes and existing technology while also creating new solutions. The primary goal is to continuously produce new ideas, products, and technologies that meet existing and unforeseen customer needs.
  8. Creative Culture. Creative company culture focuses on establishing goals and bringing those aspirations to fruition. They strive to create new products and services that build a unique customer experience. Employees often work in teams to encourage innovative thinking.

Companies can make several strategic decisions to define their call center’s culture. For example, some may choose to focus on the customer by equipping agents with the best customer service technology and providing rigorous training to establish service standards. Others may unite their call center representatives behind a common purpose that speaks to their customer base. Whichever approach an organization decides to take, they need a high-quality call center to fulfill customer needs. Contact Actec to discover how a nearshore call center can improve your company’s customer service and loyalty.

4 Reasons Why Your Call Center Drives Away Customers

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June 28th, 2022

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Outsource FNOLCompanies want to deliver a memorable experience anytime their customers engage with them. However, call center errors can create a lasting negative impression instead of engendering loyalty. The customer experience is a significant differentiator, and businesses can’t afford to lose clients due to an unsatisfactory call center interaction. Among Gen Z clients, research indicates that 54% stop doing business with a company after a bad experience.

The following are several reasons a call center may leave customers unsatisfied:

  1. Long holds. When a call center agent asks a customer if they can place them on hold, the customer’s expectations immediately decline. The request means the call will likely last longer than the customer anticipated. Consider keeping the customer on the line while resolving their issue for simple requests and concerns.
  2. Longer wait queues. Customers also hate waiting to wait. Hearing their spot in line repeat at various intervals can be infuriating, and they’ll already be on edge by the time an agent connects to their call. An additional request to put them on hold can permanently damage their loyalty, no matter how knowledgeable the agent is. Providing a call-back service that holds their place in line can ease the irritation, as the customer isn’t tethered to their phone. If long queues and wait times are frequent issues, it may be time to hire more call center employees.
  3. Directing the customer to the company website while on hold. Today’s customers are more empowered than ever. Most research the problem before contacting customer service. Prerecorded wait messages directing the customer to the company website for faster service rarely produce a positive customer response. They’ve likely already tried the website, or they may have a unique issue not covered in the help documentation. The directive comes across as pushy and increases the customer’s frustration the more often they hear while waiting on hold.
  4. Wasted time on redundant questions. The last thing a customer wants to do after waiting on hold is to repeat the information they already provided. If they had to enter their customer ID, birthdate, or account number before connecting with an agent, don’t make them provide that information again. It exposes inefficiencies, and customers perceive it as the agent wasting their time. Consider upgrading call center software so customer data moves with them if the agent needs to transfer the call.

Actec understands that businesses need call centers that drive customer loyalty. Having a competent call center is even more important during the claims cycle. Customers have little patience, and their stress is at an all-time high when reporting a loss or filing a claim. Our nearshore contact center teams handle claim intake efficiently and deliver a superior customer experience. Contact us to learn how a nearshore contact center can transform the customer experience.

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 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.

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.