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.

Unveiling New Stats for Insurance Call Centers

In recent years, policyholders have grown to expect even more convenience and speed when it comes to the customer support they receive from insurers. To provide a better understanding of what policyholders are looking for as it relates to phone support, we’ve compiled some important insights surrounding insurance call centers.

1. People Are Getting 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.”

2. 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 waited 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.

3. Policyholders Still Want the Human Touch

Despite the increasing popularity of using technology in customer service, the data shows that policyholders don’t want to completely lose all elements of human interaction.

There is no doubt, policyholders are embracing the increased use of technology in call centers — if it comes with greater convenience. In fact, a recent report from Replicant surveyed 1,000 US adults who had interacted with customer service within the previous six months. Their study showed that an overwhelming majority, or 80% of consumers, would prefer automated calls if it means avoiding long wait times.

But, 61% of consumers still prefer a mix of self-service options and human agents, as reported by Freshworks based on their surveys of 11,502 adults around the world. Thus, for many consumers, the ideal solution isn’t total reliance on automated or self-service phone support. A combination of both support options could result in a more seamless and satisfactory policyholder experience.

So, even as technological advancements continue to emerge across the industry, the desire for human support and interactions with live agents is still prevalent among most policyholders.

What Does This Mean for Your Insurance Call Center?

Policyholders are becoming more impatient with long wait times, though they still want a mix of both human and automated support options over the phone. 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.

Adapting to the Shift: How Statistics Are Shaping the Future of Insurance Call Centers

Even as the digital age continues to take hold and the rise of tech-enabled support solutions like chatbots and self-service portals gain traction, phone support will remain a crucial aspect of how insurers connect with their policyholders to address their inquiries and problems.

This is supported by a recent report by CCW which noted that 89% of companies expect phone support to remain important in the future. Even as insurers adjust their policyholder experience strategies to meet the evolving demands of consumers, phone communications will still play a crucial role in an omnichannel approach over the coming years.

Thus, insurers should not overlook the importance of maintaining high-quality call centers and phone support options even as they explore new tech. They need to adjust how they manage and provide support through call centers if they want to continue meeting policyholder expectations and stay competitive in today’s market.

Practical Implications of New Stats for Insurance Call Center Professionals

Using the statistics we’ve noted throughout, insurers should reassess their call center operations to ensure they’re keeping up with the changing demands and providing the experience policyholders are looking for.

In other words, they should examine how they could provide quicker service and shorter wait times to avoid depleting policyholders’ patience. Again, even just a few seconds of shorter or longer wait times could be significant in the eyes of policyholders. So, insurers should explore how they could make their call centers more efficient.

There are a few ways this can be done, either by adding more call center agents, providing existing agents with more training, or enhancing their tools and resources so they can offer quicker and more satisfactory service.

Unfortunately, in today’s labor market, it can be difficult to attract, hire, and retain qualified team members to staff your call centers. But, as we noted above, insurers shouldn’t completely ditch human-operated call centers in favor of fully automated systems just to boost efficiency, as this isn’t the type of support that most policyholders are looking for.

For these reasons, many insurers turn to insurance call center outsourcing as a way to stay agile and efficient internally, while still offering specialized and quality support to their loyal policyholders.

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