Back when I was in college I worked as a waitress part time at an Italian restaurant where I came across a very odd situation. The restaurant had this client that had dinner there every single day during the couple of years I worked there.
Why did she keep coming back to eat there every day with so many other fantastic restaurants around?
Because Customer Service! She felt at home, everyone knew her and treated her like family. If she was happy, why would she change?
The same principle is true for all businesses, especially insurance companies. They leave competition behind by quickly and efficiently solving customer queries, thus providing the best customer experience.
I dare say that the most important business areas for an insurance company are customer service and sales! Both at the same level of greatness! Sales because their business does not exist without customers; therefore, they need to acquire new customers to be successful and thrive. Customer service because customers are any business’ best asset and cheapest and most effective form of publicity: word of mouth.
A survey from Ernst & Young states that:
Customers dictate the faith of any business; thus they need to be engaged, happy, and loyal.
How can insurance companies do that in such volatile times when customers needs and expectations change at the speed of light?
Make each customer feel valued, unique, and special
This happens right when customers first reach the contact center. However, sometimes this is hard to achieve due to several impediments, mainly a high volume of calls, that prevents the contact center from handling all of them within an acceptable waiting time.
A concierge application recognizes the customer, greets the customer by name, and offers relevant options to keep the customer happy and prevent such a long wait that will turn the customer’s experience into something negative.
If the customer chooses to wait until an agent is available, the concierge application can make it as pleasant as possible by for example offering relevant information, or collecting important data from the customer that will help the human agent handle the issue faster, saving both customer and agent precious time.
Keep customers away from the phone and close to digital
Customers know what they want and they want it fast.
That´s even more so for insurance businesses. Save the phone and free agents to handle the really urgent matters. Every other query can wait for hours and sometimes even days.
Identify what is urgent and ensure that customers don’t lose time in queues or have to call more than once for the same issue. For example, if someone is in an accident you cannot afford to make that customer wait to speak to an agent. On the other hand, if the issue is not urgent, it can be solved though other channels, such as email or WhatsApp, as explained in this short video.
Integrate social media with traditional channels for a complete, seamless view of the customer
Insurance companies need to be where their customers are.
However, if they choose to be on Social Media they must fully support it. I’ve heard customer service stories about customers using Social Media to reach out to customer service and never getting an answer; or being forced to follow the company on Social Media before getting an answer.
This is definitely not the way to go. If insurance companies decide to have Social Media customer service, they must ensure that the interactions form these channels are seamlessly integrated with the other channels and that agents handle them as any other interactions, and most important, no strings attached!
Don’t force customers to follow you on Social Media to answer their queries. The insurance responsive contact center unifies all interactions, regardless of channel, and all customer related data in a single repository.
Allow each conversation to go on for as long as needed, using as many channels as necessary
We live at such a fast paced rhythm that no one hardly has the time to solve any issue from beginning to end at once or in a single channel.
On the contrary; we go about our lives and dedicate a few minutes of our time to during hours or days to the issue we want to solve. Insurers need to ensure that they support the individuality of each customer and give them the most personalized customer journey.
An insurance responsive contact center enables customers to communicate with the insurance company just as they do with their family and friends. For example, start the conversation by email, call a few hours later, use WhatsApp in the wee hours of the morning, and so on.
All of these interactions will not have any timeouts, enabling customers to pick up right where they stopped, regardless of how much time has gone by.
Let customers help themselves
If customers don’t want to talk to agents, companies need to adapt and provide other effective ways for customers to find answers for what they’re looking for.
Self- service is a win win situation.
Customers are happy finding things on their own and insurers cut back on the costs of customer service. However, what happens when customers cannot find an answer to their query? They need to be given other options; that is, the contact center needs to be available 24×7.
An insurance responsive contact center allows insurers to provide service at all times. Not necessarily by human agents, but by diverting the customer to digital channels, such as WhasApp, or a concierge application powered by a bot, that can either help or stall the customer until a human agent is available for a conversation.
The requirements and needs of insurance companies’ customers are changing very quickly. Answering calls does not cover those needs anymore. The offers are just about the same among competitors, the important differentiator is the customer experience! Be that differentiator. Give your customers an insurance responsive contact center!