A customer
strategy for
insurance includes
virtual call centers

Author: Rose de Fremery

Contact centers, sometimes known as call centers, are an essential part of the insurance business. They lay much of the foundation for the customer experience—in many cases setting the stage for whether a customer ultimately receives a satisfying resolution to their request or concern. But too often, the call center experience leaves something to be desired.

A customer engagement strategy for insurance designed with virtual call centers in mind can help address these challenges and improve the customer experience.

Customer engagement challenges facing insurance call centers

Insurance call centers face several obstacles on the path to engaging customers. Long hold times are a known challenge—they frustrate customers, who expect their calls to be quickly resolved in the digital age. Inefficient business processes can also increase the time to resolution for those customers who do successfully reach an agent, adding unnecessary friction. Issues with customer data and proper segmentation can also hinder the call center's ability to provide prompt service.

Call centers need to be able to seamlessly facilitate cross-channel interactions. Certain capabilities, such as transferring exchanges on social media to phone conversations with a live agent, help insurers meet customers' expectations of what the modern customer experience looks like. Customers who get stuck in the process may abandon their attempt—and remember the negative experience they had the next time they need help.

How insurance companies use the call center

Any insurance company's customer engagement strategy will rely in some way on call centers' ability to route new claims to the proper agents or channels. On one end, customers receive expert guidance that is tailored to their request. On another, insurers can use call center analytics to monitor call center performance and keep tabs on key performance indicators, ensuring that the call center team achieves its customer experience goals. If a gap appears, insurance companies can use the call center to train employees in delivering better service.

How a virtual call center creates a better customer experience

The virtual call center offers several advantages over its traditional premises-based counterpart, and insurance companies that leverage it have access to a wide range of tools to innovate their customer engagement strategy even further. Omnichannel customer support allows businesses to engage customers on their channels of choice—whether that's a chat session on a messaging app or a text message exchange—and seamlessly carry those conversations to other channels when appropriate.

For example, a health insurance company equipped with this omnichannel support capability might route patients to concierge telehealth services, giving them access to prompt care regardless of whether they first contacted the company through social media, a messaging app, a voice call or another channel. In this way, a virtual contact center gives customers a consistent, high-quality experience across all interactions with the business, regardless of the touchpoint they used or the department they contacted.

Some insurance firms deploy AI-enabled chatbots to support a digital front door experience. Augmenting the contact center team with these solutions may save teams from having to field straightforward requests that don't require the expertise of a trained agent. A world-class network can further strengthen the standard of service within virtual contact center platforms through enhanced routing, network reporting and advanced business continuity measures. All help ensure that customers always receive timely, uninterrupted care.

Keys to success when setting up a virtual contact center for insurance

Setting up a virtual contact center for insurance doesn't happen on its own. Make sure that your solution is properly resourced from a bandwidth perspective, and optimize your network configurations to reduce latency, which can hamper call quality. Consider selecting a solution that includes robust collaboration tools so that agents and their colleagues can unite to reach a quick resolution. Ensure your solution provides your customers the ability to connect with you through a channel of their choice, and use automated, intelligent contact-routing and prioritization tools.

Security is also a top concern, particularly for insurance companies facing certain regulatory requirements. Voice anti-fraud, authentication services and voice call back features can all improve your security while also enhancing the customer experience. By partnering with a managed service provider to implement a virtual call center, you can deliver a customer experience that inspires long-term customer loyalty in the digital age.

Learn how Verizon's Virtual Contact Center gives your contact center the agility, reliability and scalability of the cloud.

The author of this content is a paid contributor for Verizon.