GUIDE: BPO Guide for Insurance Agencybtbdev2024-02-02T11:38:11-07:00
BPO GUIDE FOR INSURANCE
Maximizing Policyholder Retention: CX Strategies for Insurance Contact Centers
In 2023, an effective CX strategy is a must for maximizing policyholder retention as consumer expectations rise
It’s 2023, and customer expectations are rising.
Not only do customers expect more from their retail and e-commerce experiences, but they also expect more from products and services traditionally seen as “commodity” services, such as banking, healthcare, or insurance.
As the insurance market becomes saturated, policyholders have more and more options for where to turn if their current provider isn’t meeting their needs—and insurance providers have to do more to stand out. For many, customer experience—or CX—is now one of the major ways to distinguish themselves from other insurers on the market.
So what do modern consumers expect from their insurance experiences? And how do insurance providers promote policyholder loyalty, retention, and satisfaction?
In this guide, our team of CX experts at ROI CX Solutions dives into why customer experience matters so much for today’s insurance companies, as well as what modern customers want—and what strategies will set you apart.
With more insurance options available across the board—for health, auto, life, home, and more—and higher customer expectations across all industries, customer experience matters more than ever. Unfortunately, it’s also harder to achieve.
As customer expectations rise, meeting—and exceeding—those customer demands becomes more difficult, and therefore, “good” customer service requires more strategy, resources, and knowledge to execute. And as insurance becomes less and less of a commodity product—as consumer options grow—customer experiences are becoming a distinguishing factor between insurance brands hoping to set themselves apart from the competition.
While 84% of customers say that “the experience a company provides” is just as important as the services they offer, and 85% of insurers use some CX initiatives during the customer journey, 60% of insurers agree that, overall, their organization lacks a cohesive CX strategy. As a result, insurers who focus on CX in a strategic way stand to set themselves apart from the crowd and have the opportunity to gain a sizable share of the market.
say CX is just as important as services
use CX initiatives
feel they lack a cohesive CX strategy
The benefits of CX for modern insurance
But the benefits of customer experience go beyond intangibles like delivering higher levels of satisfaction and setting yourself apart from the competition—modern insurance call centers can reap benefits in almost all areas from offering better customer experience.
According to McKinsey, companies that “consistently offer best-in-class customer experiences” see a range of benefits, including:
being 80% more likely to retain customers and sustain customer loyalty
seeing greater success with cross-selling and upselling
achieving higher NPS scores and customer referrals
reducing CAC and improving CSAT
achieving a 100% increase in annual premium growth compared to companies with lower CX
Not only does improved CX make a difference for your customers, but that improved customer experience, satisfaction, and loyalty make a tangible difference toward your customer retention, acquisition costs, profits, growth, marketing efficiency, and more.
What today’s customers want
Of course, knowing that you need to create better customer experiences and actually knowing how to do so are two different things.
Today’s customers have higher expectations, more demands, and less flexibility when those expectations aren’t met. After all, with more choices for insurance on the market, customers don’t need to be flexible—if you can’t meet their expectations, they’ll simply find someone else who can. According to some research, as many as 92% of customers will switch to another brand if they have three (or fewer!) bad experiences.
But what exactly do customers today expect from their insurance providers? Customers in 2023 want:
comprehensive choices and flexible policy options suited to their situation
efficient and flexible services
quick service, whether related to claims, policy processing, or customer services
convenient digital options that fit their busy lifestyle
friendly and knowledgeable help when they have questions or concerns
To get ahead—and stay ahead—in today’s market, insurers need to prioritize the customer experience, providing effortless, convenient, and customized experiences that put the customer in the driver’s seat.
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Best CX strategies for insurance call centers
So, how can you navigate the changing tides of consumer expectations, an expanding market, and a variable customer journey?
Our team has decades of experience leading the way for insurance agencies and companies, as well as teams in a variety of other industries, to transform their customer experience through improved customer service and modern technology. The seven techniques below are tried-and-true tactics our team has used to improve customer experience at insurance call centers for decades.
Implement omnichannel support for seamless experiences
An omnichannel strategy uses advanced technology and integrated data and customer management, and contact systems to allow agents to offer customers a seamless experience.
With omnichannel, customers can contact your brand through any channel, and the next agent who speaks to them will have their entire history—past purchases, customer service requests, website page views, billing and payments, and more. This allows agents to deliver streamlined experiences and a higher level of personalization and prevents the customer from having to repeat themselves or provide an entire history each time they call.
For insurance providers, omnichannel is more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. A recent report showed that millennials—the largest customer group today—contact insurers 2.5x more than other customer groups through social media and twice as much as other groups via mobile. For insurers to win over this generation—and younger ones—a seamless digital experience is necessary.
Omnichannel strategies not only support that seamless digital experience but also provide more straightforward, cost-effective, and personalized options for connecting and interacting with customers, leading to greater retention, brand loyalty, and effectiveness.
Use customer data to support retention
An omnichannel approach isn’t just useful for boosting customer satisfaction with a streamlined experience, though. It also provides a more integrated way to use both customer-shared and experiential data to support retention.
Customer data—when used well—can be a strong driver of retention, personalization, customer satisfaction, purchase value, and more. However, more insurers aren’t doing enough to collect it, analyze it, or implement it. Consider, for example, that with the right data, you can:
communicate with customers at integral times throughout the year rather than just when renewal season is approaching
deliver more personalized quotes or insurance policies from the beginning
offer hyper-relevant interactions and experiences designed to increase conversions and retention
Not only does more accurate data lead to better experiences and higher conversions and retention, but it also builds trust and loyalty to your insurance company—which in turn feeds into more renewals and higher retention rates. It’s a positive feedback loop that keeps on giving—but it starts with your data. As a result, insurers need to increase their focus on gathering, analyzing, and implementing customer data.
This can start with collating and analyzing experiential data from customers—such as website interactions, previous renewals, or customer service requests—and making it easy for customers to share additional data with their insurer for more personalized service and better quotes. Once the data is obtained, it must be integrated into the customer experience for personalized offers, communication, and policies to strengthen retention and loyalty.
Personalization begins with data—but it shouldn’t stop there. Creating personalized experiences is one of the biggest drivers of positive customer experiences today and is a major contributor to customer retention and loyalty. Consider some of the recent data:
As a result, insurance call centers that prioritize personalization stand to improve retention, engagement, revenue, marketing efficiency, and more. Even better—personalization doesn’t have to be massive, and it can be integrated into almost any stage of the marketing or customer journey.
For example, insurers might consider:
using omnichannel solutions to deliver personalized quotes and policy documents to callers who recently viewed standard policies online
offering personalized policy upgrades based on known changes in a customer’s life situation
recommending relevant offers for packaged insurance bundles or add-ons based on the customer’s situation
enabling automatic premium adjustments based on data from customer behavior
using aggregated data to create customer segments and provide more relevant communications, or create more targeted marketing to look-alike segments
And these are just a few examples! The important thing to note is that the only wrong way to do personalization is not to do it. Whether you have a small or large personalization scheme, creating personalized offers, policies, communications, and interactions is key to providing exceptional customer experiences.
Speed your digital transformation
Customers today expect a digital experience—and they can expect it because most companies are already giving it to them.
Of course, there are the giants like Amazon or Netflix that provide digital-first experiences, but brands across all industries are conforming to today’s digital expectations. From e-commerce to banking, education to healthcare, industries must respond to consumer expectations through digital experiences.
Unfortunately, many insurers are lagging behind the curve. Fortunately, that paves the way for great insurance agencies and companies to stand out by providing exceptional digital experiences. For many customers, digital experiences are a key decision factor when considering brands to work with and insurance providers:
cite speed and convenience as two of the biggest factors contributing to good customer experiences
As a result, insurance providers are on the hook to speed their digital transformation and provide customers with the experiences they expect. Digital transformation in insurance may look like:
providing digital intake forms and allowing customers to onboard online or remotely
offering a variety of support options, such as live chat, video calling, texting, and so on
allowing customers to initiate and process claims through online portals
providing digital reminders for policy updates, renewals, and so on
creating easy and convenient payment and policy renewal processes
Digital transformation changes the experience for customers, but it should also improve backend workflows, making processes even more efficient for customers and employees alike. For example, insurers could be leveraging modern technology more fully to create integrated ecosystems, automate claims processing, improve self-service options, and fully embrace digital and mobile channels.
Wow your customers with convenient claims
While every company and industry should analyze their customer journey to identify and improve key customer touchpoints, with insurers, there’s one touchpoint that tends to make or break the entire experience: making a claim.
A whopping 83% of customers who were dissatisfied with the insurance claim process they’d experienced planned to switch—or had already switched—to another insurer. As a result, insurers have a lot to lose if the process of making a claim is a hassle or otherwise disappointing—and a lot to gain if you can wow your customers with a convenient, straightforward claims process.
What does good CX look like for insurance claims? In short, it follows the same rules as other customer experiences—make it fast, make it easy, and make it convenient.
insurance employees’ knowledge and professionalism
insurance employees’ friendliness and courtesy
the transparency and ease of the process as a whole
The study further found—perhaps more surprisingly—that the settlement amount the claim resulted in actually turned out to be less important to customers than the ease, flexibility, and service of the claim process overall.
Insurers who want to improve retention through CX should take a closer look at the entirety of the claims process and identify:
What and where are the key touchpoints in this process?
Where do backlogs usually occur in this process, and how can they be alleviated?
How can we improve communication throughout the process?
How frequently do clients have to contact us about open claims, and how can we reduce that number?
How long does the claims process usually take, from start to finish, and what steps can we automate or speed up to reduce that amount of time?
What is the average CSAT after speaking about a claim with one of our representatives, and how can this be improved?
Whenever possible, the claims process should be digitized to improve speed and convenience. As a key touchpoint for insurance provider loyalty, focusing on this process will yield outsized returns.
Increase your customer-centric and self-service options
Ultimately, all of these improvements are designed to create a more customer-centric strategy and operational plan for your business. Ideally, though, insurers who are looking to maximize policyholder retention and satisfaction shouldn’t take an ad-hoc approach to customer experience.
Instead, you should develop a customer-centric culture that places the needs and preferences of your customers at the forefront of all business and product decisions. Rather than focusing on new technologies or personalization or any other singular tactic for its own sake, consider how it fits into a broader strategy of customer excellence and experience.
For example, consider how self-service options support a customer-centric model. The data is clear: customers want to be able to get answers to their questions or take care of small problems without having to contact support:
use customer knowledge bases or self-service support pages if they are available and suited to their needs
So, customers clearly need and want self-service. Not only does it create a more streamlined experience for your company—after all, self-service options are available 24/7 for customers, don’t require additional staff, and can serve many customers at once—they also provide a streamlined, convenient, and easy experience for your audience.
Any CX or digital transformation strategy should take into account what customers want, how to most effectively provide it to them, and how customer-centric the solution is.
Partner with outsourced customer support providers
Finally, all of this may seem like an outsized amount of work—and for many companies, especially smaller insurance agencies who are used to working with local teams and clients and not on a larger scale—it is.
That doesn’t make it impossible or exempt you from needing to strengthen your customer experience to keep up. For many smaller businesses (and large ones, too!), outsourcing your customer support or aspects of your customer experience can make the difference between lagging behind others in your industry and creating standout customer experiences that skyrocket your business’ growth and profitability.
For example, at ROI CX Solutions, our customer experience experts support insurance agencies and companies through:
24/7 customer support
personalized service that blends in seamlessly with your in-house team
HIPAA and PCI compliance and other data privacy standards to protect your client’s data
inbound or outbound call center support
cross-selling or upselling
experience with a variety of insurance types, from health and dental to life, home, and more
omnichannel solutions for seamless and exceptional customer service
Partnering with an outsourced customer service provider doesn’t just take some customer service tasks off your plate—it also connects you with a team of experts that can provide strategic support, technological solutions, and round-the-clock service to scale your support and deliver on customer expectations.
Is CX outsourcing right for you?
Consider whether some of the benefits of outsourcing CX can make a difference for your insurance company:
24/7 service for your customers offers increased accessibility and on-demand support that meets rising customer expectations and outperforms your competitors
Omnichannel support delivers streamlined experiences that make dealing with insurance convenient and easy for your customers
Affordable services reduce internal staff loads while providing quality services to customers and operating on reduced budgets
Fast, knowledgeable, and professional customer service speeds up the claims process and other processes, wowing customers with efficient and effective support
Access to modern technology and data analytics offers improved customer experiences supported by strengthened data analytics and customer insights
As a result of our partnerships, our clients have seen benefits such as:
improving speed of answer to just 0.48 seconds
improving the accuracy of evaluation processes to over 90%
experience a conversion rate of over 40% of qualified leads
maintaining 95% SLA throughout their partnerships. And more!
Curious how ROI CX Solutions can help support your goals, strengthen policyholder loyalty and retention, and grow your profitability? We’re here to help—contact one of our CX experts today for a free quote based on your needs and goals.
About ROI CX Solutions
ROI CX Solutions drives customer satisfaction and business success through outsourced customer service and global sourcing management. With decades of experience across our expert team, ROI CX Solutions has innovated results-driven performance and improved customer experiences for brands across a variety of industries. With flexible, customizable solutions, state-of-the-art technology, and world-class customer service representatives, we deliver results for your business—and your customers.
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