In the age of near-limitless insurance options, staffing an outbound insurance call center may seem like a difficult task. After all, even when encountering a valuable service, some call recipients see an unprompted call as an unwelcome interruption, or even a nuisance.
Whether notifying policy holders and claimants of policy changes, replying to inquiries, or simply verifying policy applications for new customers, outbound auto, home, and health insurance agents have to be able to establish a connection with call recipients quickly. Otherwise, they may find a less-than-enthusiastic person on the other end of the line.
5 Best Practices
Thankfully, with the right strategic approach, call centers can obtain high answer rates, maintain happy customers, and create productive agents. Here, we outline five call center best practices in insurance to help your outbound calls make an impact.
1. Choose the Right Metrics
It can be easy to look at each individual call as a self-contained experience. But calls don’t exist in a vacuum; they represent data points which indicate the effectiveness of your team and its strategy. Ergo, increasing customer satisfaction depends on charting the right success metrics.
There are a number of metrics worth tracking, including answer success rate (ASR), average handle time (AHT), calls per agent, occupancy rate—even metrics related to telephone etiquette, tone of voice, and speaking speeds. Although it can be wise to track every possible metric to discover hidden correlations, you may wish to focus instead on a handful of key metrics, and work to improve them.
2. Know Your Audience
As an outbound call center reaching out to established customers, you likely already have the advantage of being able to access customer information before your agents ever start dialing the number. But just knowing the age, education, marital status, and policy data of your customer may not be enough to fully customize the call to fit their needs.
Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions can help you build a detailed profile of each customer you need to contact, and make this information easily accessible from a central dashboard. Review past contact and claim history, make note of call preferences, and seamlessly transition between agents by sharing relevant call data. An effective CRM gives insurance agents a clearer understanding of each unique customer, so that outbound calls speak to them as individuals.
3. Call at the right time of day
Traditionally, call centers have enjoyed greater success when they call in the evening, as opposed to the morning or the afternoon. Additionally, research suggests that Thursday may be the best day of the week to make cold calls, while Monday and Friday are much less likely to pay off.
However, knowing your audience means knowing their schedules. Someone who works exclusively in the evenings or who takes Fridays off will have different preferred calling times. Therefore, keeping track of customer preferences and using them to inform your strategy will help ensure that you reach out to each contact at the time that works best for them.
4. Take Conversational Cues from Your Customers
When it comes to outbound calling, there’s a fine line that every insurance agent needs to walk between professional and friendly. Every customer will have different expectations.
For example, when a customer responds to opening pleasantries with short, curt answers, they may wish to skip over the niceties and get right to the point. On the other hand, those that happily converse and ask friendly questions of their own may be more willing to chat. Hiring agents who are capable of picking up on subtle clues and adapting their approach can help create a better overall experience for your customers.
5. Identify Yourself
It’s hard to have a successful call center if your clients aren’t willing to answer the phone. Given that fewer than 20% of Americans will answer an unknown number, it’s your responsibility to tell your customers who’s calling before they commit to a conversation. Caller ID can help by sharing your organization’s name and telephone number, but for a holistic experience, there are better options.
Hiya picks up where caller ID falls short. This full-service voice platform allows call centers to display their full name, logo, location, and even include a short description describing the purpose and reason for the call. When customers know that you’re calling to update them regarding their claim, or to verify their policy, they’ll be more likely to answer. Hiya also offers advanced analytics and reporting tools, so you can measure efficiency, identify potential problems, and improve your business outcomes.
Outbound insurance call centers provide an important service to customers, but if those customers don’t pick up the phone or aren’t interested in listening, no one benefits. These call center best practices in insurance can bridge the ever-widening gap between your customers and your agents, establishing the kind of friendly and professional relationships that create a better overall customer experience — one that sticks with customers long past your agent hanging up the phone.
Want more insight into how the top voice trends can shape your contact center strategy? Check out the Hiya State of the Call Report.