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.
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.
Customer service is the backbone of any successful insurance provider. Customers expect a knowledgeable representative to provide rapid resolutions to their questions and problems. However, it’s not always cost-effective to staff a customer service department in-house. As a result, some insurance companies spread their limited customer service agents too thin. When this happens, long wait times, over-worked employees, and dissatisfied customers accumulate.
Insurance providers need to make themselves available whenever and wherever the customer needs them. Investing in a nearshore call center can address this need without breaking the budget. However, transitioning to a call center requires thoughtful planning and transparent communication with employees. Here are a few methods to help insurance providers implement a call center with minimal interruptions:
Train Employees on How to Use the Call Center
Employees won’t inherently know how to interact with a new call center. Training employees on how the call center functions limits chaos and confusion. Some areas to cover include:
- Know who to call. Employees may need to get in touch with the call center support department on occasion. The employee in charge of call center communications needs to know the contact number and email for initial communications, who is next up in the chain of command, and the typical response time. It’s a good idea to train the rest of the team on this information if the team lead is out for the day.
- What to do when communication lines go down. Employees need to know the business’ forwarding number if the line of communication to the call center disconnects. How calls forward from a business to its call center varies. Some companies engage it manually at the close of business, while others use an automatic system. Insurance providers that use manual forwarding should train all relevant employees on this process.
Outsource the Easiest Tasks First
Companies can outsource almost any business function. However, it’s best practice to train call center employees on the simplest tasks first. Companies can increase the call center’s responsibilities once they establish a baseline for how the call center functions.
Call centers can improve customer service and the customer experience. Insurers can engage with their customers in a timely manner, provide rapid answers about policies or claims, and more. Contact Actec to learn more about the benefits of implementing a nearshore call center.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Call centers are a boon to growing businesses. A dedicated call center can handle all incoming calls, answer common customer questions, and allow employees to focus on their primary tasks instead of working the phones. However, many offshore call centers struggle to bridge cultural divides, which makes it difficult to provide high-quality customer service.
Nearshore call center agents have enough geographic proximity to understand the customer’s needs, frustrations, and expectations. The following are several ways nearshore call centers improve communication and the customer experience:
- Language. Customers expect agents to speak their language fluently. However, call center agents need a nuanced understanding of the language as well. Agents that don’t comprehend common idioms or struggle to understand local accents will run into repeated frustrations.
- Culture. Greetings vary between cultures. Some cultures prefer friendly exchanges, while others expect direct and professional communication. Nearshore call center agents understand the customer’s culture, which facilitates better communication.
- Time zones. Many companies turn to offshore call centers because they can provide coverage outside of regular business hours. Nearshore call centers can provide extended coverage too, and their closer proximity makes it much easier to communicate business concerns. If a company wants to discuss changes to the call center or review KPIs, nearshore call centers are better equipped to meet during regular business hours.
- Communication channel. Customers have several options for communicating with a business. Some prefer to speak to a live person, while others may prefer to send a text or a message. Cultural divides can make it difficult for offshore call center agents to pivot from the phone to a chatbox. What sounds friendly with verbal inflection can seem cold over text.
Customer loyalty is hard-won and easily lost. One poor support experience is enough to make a customer consider finding a new service provider. Customers are also much more likely to leave reviews after a negative experience, which can harm the company’s reputation. Companies need call centers that can resolve their customers’ needs and exceed their expectations without stumbling over cultural miscommunications. Contact Actec to learn more about the benefits of nearshore call centers.
An insurance company may offer the best rates with the widest array of products but still lose customers to a competitor. The leading cause for this is poor customer service. Poor service can take many forms, including not resolving the customer’s issue, lacking reliability, or difficulty reaching a representative.
Insurance providers can implement the following to deliver consistent customer service that exceeds expectations:
- Knowledgeable representatives. Service representatives can’t troubleshoot or solve a customer’s problem if they aren’t familiar with the products. However, baseline knowledge isn’t enough. Support employees need to be subject matter experts on the insurer’s products. This helps them deliver superior service as well as make other product recommendations that compliment the customer’s existing coverage.
- Innovative problem-solving. Resolving the customer’s problem is the primary goal, but customer service doesn’t have to stop there. Customers aren’t likely to share their experiences when the service is straightforward. They are happy to have their issue dealt with, but the experience wasn’t noteworthy. Insurers can take customer service to the next level by offering customers more than they expected when placing the call. Examples include a small customer loyalty discount on their upcoming payment, a personalized card thanking them for their business, or useful company swag (e.g., mugs, water bottles, pens, etc.). The key is to go above and beyond, as that is more likely to drive positive reviews and referrals.
- Personalize the service. Customers can tell when an agent reads them a scripted response, and they don’t appreciate it. It demonstrates that the agent isn’t familiar with the customer’s products or isn’t adequately perceiving the problem. Service without personalization leaves customers feeling like they’re file numbers rather than individuals. For example, if the agent sees that a customer’s birthday is coming up, the agent can wish the customer a happy birthday to personalize the experience.
- Deliver on promises. When customer service representatives make promises or give their word, they need to make sure they follow through. When an insurance company doesn’t deliver on a promise, the customer feels angry and disrespected. Agents should note the customer’s file with the details, so other representatives will know what the customer is referencing if they call back.
A significant element of delivering excellent service is investing in a high-quality call center. Nearshore call centers ensure that the agents have similar cultural experiences with the customers, which allows them to have greater empathy and understanding for the customer’s needs. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about the benefits of a nearshore call center.
Insurance companies rely on key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the effectiveness of their processes. Insurers can generate more value for the customer while reducing their expenses by focusing on the following foundational KPIs:
- Customer experience
- Claims efficiency
- Claims accuracy
The most direct means to boost these KPIs is by digitizing the claims process. Digital claims simplify the process for customers by allowing them to electronically initiate first notice of loss (FNOL), upload images, and receive updates about their claims. Digital processes are also more efficient than manual claims management, as they allow agents to process more claims in less time. Digital systems can identify errors and red flag potential problems as well, which helps avoid clerical delays.
It can be challenging for insurance providers to make the leap as technology is constantly evolving. However, the most successful digital transformations share several elements:
- Digitizing claims prevention efforts. Insurance companies have a trove of data available to them to identify customer trends. By issuing data-based safety notifications, insurance companies can provide simple tips to help customers avoid a loss. For example, if the weather forecasts a winter storm, insurance providers can send automated texts to their customers with tips for driving during winter weather. Reminding drivers to slow down, put chains on their tires, or stay home unless it’s necessary to go out can help prevent claims.
- Digital FNOL. Customers expect fast and simple solutions to all their problems, but their urgency increases exponentially following a loss. Providing a digital, easy-to-use option for FNOL gives customers agency over their claim while expediting the process. Implementing text or chat FNOL services provides customers with another channel of communication. This service allows them to obtain answers to common questions about their claim, which eliminates confusion and anxiety.
- Automating claims management processes. Automating fraud detection, progress updates, and other administrative processes drastically improves claims efficiency. Digital software can identify the type of claim, route it to an appropriate agent, check it for fraud, and more within minutes compared to the lengthy process of checking it all by hand.
- Electronic appraisals and repairs. For simple claims, customers can submit details and pictures that allow appraisers to assess the damage or loss. Insurers already have a list of their preferred repair shops. Digitizing the process can identify which provider is closest to the customer. They can even schedule the appointment electronically, so the customer doesn’t have to do any heavy lifting during the claim cycle.
- Automatic settlements. One of the biggest pain points for customers is when a repair vendor is out of sync with their insurer. They may have to pay for the expense out of pocket and seek reimbursement from their insurance provider. However, the insurer may have already sent the payment to the vendor, which worsens the customer’s confusion and frustration as they try to get their money back. Automating the process eliminates this bottleneck. Insurers can automate several types of settlements, such as paying for a repair service, replacing the damaged item, or offering a cash settlement.
Digitizing claims processes can generate value by boosting KPI performance. While every step of the claim should be custom-centric, FNOL is the single greatest opportunity insurers have to secure customer satisfaction. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how text and chat FNOL services can improve claims management.
Customer service is a significant element of any business regardless of industry. Providing superior customer service can help improve customer satisfaction, referrals, and a business’ bottom line. However, it’s not fiscally practical to have a full-time team of employees to handle all of these calls. Many customers call outside of normal business operations as well, which further complicates the issue. To address these challenges, many companies of all sizes are looking to call centers as a solution.
The following are some of the best advantages of hiring a call center:
- Reduced costs. Businesses can utilize call centers to handle all of their calls 24/7. To pay a full-time team of employees to work on-call is often astronomical in comparison.
- Better use of time. Not all businesses can afford or need a full-time employee to handle customer service calls. As a result, team members in various departments often rotate who handles incoming calls. By diverting customer service calls to a call center, those employees can focus on their primary job without interruptions.
- Around the clock service. Many call centers offer their services 24 hours a day or extended well outside of usual business hours all year round. This is particularly useful for industries like the insurance sector whose clients may require customer service at unusual hours following an accident or loss.
- Superior quality of service. Call center employees receive training on how to provide excellent customer service. They are able to provide knowledgeable answers to customers’ questions and concerns while remaining polite and professional.
- Actionable reports and data. Many call centers monitor calls to ensure the quality and for training purposes. They can use these reports to improve their employees’ skills as well as provide insights to the company on common pain points for customers.
Call centers can improve customer satisfaction, reduce business costs, and boost productivity. Opting for a nearshore call center can amplify these benefits. Nearshore call center employees are located in a similar geographic location, which eliminates cultural barriers. Contact the experts at Actec to learn how our nearshore call centers can help lower your costs, improve the customer experience, and more.