Insurance customers demand a lot more than they used to. They expect to be able to use the communication channels of their choice, whether that’s phone, email or chat, and they won’t put up with long wait times – no matter how busy you happen to be.
New research shows that customers may have become even more impatient during the pandemic. Below are some notable insights.
1. Wait Times Decreased During the Pandemic
According to CXOtoday, a recent study found that the average time in queue (the time callers have to wait before being connected to representatives) decreased from 79 seconds in 2019 to 37 seconds in 2020. This is a massive improvement of 53%.
This is the average, though – some companies kept consumers waiting longer, and this did not always go over well. The same study found that consumers are more likely to disconnect before being routed to an agent. In 2019, 12% of callers disconnected before being routed to an agent. In 2020, that percentage increased to 15%. In other words, more callers were hanging up before talking to anyone. People don’t like to be kept waiting on hold.
This is an important lesson for businesses in any industry, including the insurance industry. If your insurance agents are making customers wait, you may have a big problem on your hands – and it gets worse …
2. People Are Getting Even More Impatient
You might think it’s not a big deal when your agents make customers wait a few more seconds, but your customers probably disagree. Speed is an essential part of the customer experience.
The study described in CXOtoday reveals something that many have already noticed: people are getting more impatient. This is not the only study to uncover just how impatient people have become.
Another study, this one from Ohio University, found that people are unwilling to wait, even when they are only asked to wait a few seconds and will be rewarded for doing so. The study offered participants a choice between receiving small coins immediately or larger coins after a waiting period of a few seconds, and participants often chose the former.
“So, delays matter – even seconds to people matter,” Dr. Claudia González Vallejo, a professor and second author of the paper, said. “In general, people are just very impatient.”
3. Technology Has Set A New Standard for Service
We know that people are impatient. But why? Because technology has raised the bar.
According to Study Finds, a survey of 2,000 British adults found that people report getting frustrated if they have to wait 16 seconds for a web page to load, 22 seconds for a show to start streaming, or 25 seconds for a traffic light to change. The same survey found that three-quarters of respondents blame digital technology for their growing impatience.
It makes sense. Reasonable wait times are relative, and they’re influenced by our experiences and expectations. You might wait days for a letter in the mail, but you expect an email to arrive instantly. Likewise, you might be willing to wait an hour in line to go on your favorite ride at an amusement park, but you would probably become angry if you had to spend an hour in line at the grocery store.
Now, technology is changing our experiences and expectations. In the late 1990s, you might have waiting minutes for a web page to load, but these days, you’d probably give up and go to a different site long before you reached the 30-second mark.
Technology can provide instant results, and as a result, we have been conditioned to expect instant results.
What Does This Lack of Patience Mean for Your Insurance Call Center?
Average wait times decreased during the pandemic, and customers became more likely to hang up if they had to wait. These two trends are in line with broader observations. Technology is changing how long people think they should have to wait for something, and people are becoming more impatient as a result.
When insurance customers call, they expect an excellent customer experience that starts with a fast response. If you don’t provide it, your customers will become frustrated. They might even hang up. This means that you can’t deliver good customer service if you don’t deliver fast customer service.
And if you don’t deliver good customer service, you risk losing customers.
A study published in 2019 looked at how loyalty and satisfaction support customer retention in life insurance sector. According to the study, policyholders have high expectations for service, and customers who are satisfied maintain continuous business with the firm while also encouraging their friends and families to purchase coverage from the same firm.
This study focused on life insurance, but we can expect similar expectations in P&C insurance. Whether your agents are dealing with sales, claims, or policyholder questions, fast service is key.
Insurance companies can improve retention and word-of-mouth advertisement by delivering high quality customer service. On the flip side, companies that don’t deliver excellent customer service may lose customers to their competitors.
Outsourced Insurance Call Center Services Can Help Your Company Keep Up
Insurance companies need to provide fast customer service. That much is clear. So how can they do it? The answer is, with the support of an outsourced insurance call center.
Here are just a few ways insurance call center outsourcing can help your insurance company keep up – and even surpass – insurance customer expectations.
Call volume can vary tremendously. Your insurance company may be able to handle a small number of calls, but when volume surges, you’ll need help if you want to keep call wait times down. Insurance call centers provide scalable support.
Customers want to be able to select their preferred communication channels and language. Insurance call centers can provide bilingual support and services via phone, chat or email.
Customers want quick resolution. Each time a customer is transferred, they have to wait again, adding to the overall frustration. Call centers that specialize in insurance can provide representatives who are knowledgeable in insurance matters and trained in your company’s policies, resulting in quick resolution without the need for a transfer.
If you’re thinking of outsourcing some of your work to an insurance call center, read this guide first. It outlines the 13 questions you need to ask to ensure you find a partner that will positively represent your brand and enhance your policyholder experience