An insurance call center can help you with everyday tasks like policyholder services, or with unexpected surges, like you experience during major claims events. They can also help with special projects like reach-outs to your insureds. Having an outsourced call center on your side is important – but selecting the right insurance call center is even more important.

The call center is representing YOUR insurance company to YOUR insurance customers. If anything goes wrong, you will take the blame. Before you outsource to an insurance call center, ask these 13 questions so you know your policyholders and/or agents will be in good hands.

1. What insurance experience do the call center’s representatives have?

Insurance is a complicated industry filled with sometimes confusing jargon and important legal and regulatory issues. When customers call with questions, they need to know that they’re getting accurate answers and advice.

Before you select an insurance call center, find out what type of insurance experience the representatives have. Are they trained in both commercial and personal lines? What about health insurance and life insurance? Do they have licensed insurance professionals? Can they handle everything from sales quotes to premium questions? Are they able to manage key parts of the claims process, starting with FNOL? How many years of industry experience does the average representative have?

2. Do representatives work for any sector other than insurance?

Even if the call center you’re considering says they have extensive insurance industry experience, you may need to delve further to determine whether the experience is truly sufficient. Specifically, you should ask whether the representatives work for any sector other than insurance.

You need representatives with in-depth knowledge, not a passing familiarity. If the representatives are stretched too thin among various different industries, you might end up with a jack of all trades and a master of none.

3. What communication channels does the call center support?

The term “call center” is still common, but modern communication goes way beyond phone calls.

A study from HighSpeedInternet found that 52% of Millennials say that taking phone calls makes them anxious. Although people over age 35 don’t generally mind phone calls, 60% of Millennials and Generation Zers dislike calling people.

The bottom line: Many of your policyholders despise talking on the phone and will avoid it all costs. At the same time, some consumers prefer the phone as a quick way to get help. To meet the wide range of modern preferences, you want a call center that offers support through multiple communication channels like phone, email, and text. Before you pay for call center services, find out whether the call center provides chat and email support in addition to phone services.

4. What languages do the representatives speak?

Discussing insurance issues can be difficult enough when everyone’s speaking the same language. You don’t want language barriers to lead to bad customer service. However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than one in five Americans speaks a language other than English at home.

Ideally, your customers will be able to access call center services in their native language or in a language they speak fluently. Find out whether the insurance call center your considering offers multi-lingual support in the languages that are most commonly used among your customers.

5. In a side-by-side test, can you tell the difference between your outsourced call center and your in-house call center?

When your customers call you, they expect to speak to you. Ideally, when they speak to an outsourced call center representative, they shouldn’t be able to tell the difference because your outsourcing partner should emulate your brand.

Before you hire an insurance call center, find out how confident they are that customers won’t be able to distinguish between in-house and outsourced representatives – and make sure you’re just as confident.

6. Will representatives provide quick resolution?

Most of your customers have other things they would rather be doing. They’re calling you because they need help, but they don’t want to the call to take any longer than it needs to.

According to HubSpot Research, 33% of customers cite waiting on hold as the most frustrating aspect of getting customer service help, while another 33% of customers cite having to repeat information to different representatives as the most frustrating aspect.

Before you hire an insurance call service, find out how quickly they answer calls and whether they’re able to resolve most issues without transferring the customer.

7. Will you have a team dedicated to your account?

Whether a dedicated team or a distributed team serves your needs, you will want to select a partner who can easily adapt as you grow your business.

8. Will your account team be trained on your brand, culture and script?

When you hire employees, the onboarding process no doubt includes important information on your company’s brand and culture. And before you let your employees answer the phone or call a customer, you probably give them a script to follow.

It’s no different when you use call center outsourcing. Ensuring that the account team is trained in your brand, culture and script is also an important part of ensuring that customers cannot distinguish between in-house and outsourced representatives.

9. How much staff turnover occurs?

Training a new employee takes time. This is true at insurance call centers, as well.

You want to make sure the call center has representatives who are experienced in insurance matters and well-versed in your company’s brand. But what happens if the call center representatives meet these requirements – and then they quit? What happens if their replacements are not as knowledgeable?

Some turnover is unavoidable. However, if a call center has an especially high turnover rate, you might be dealing with a never-ending cycle of working with green employees who don’t know what they’re doing yet. Even worse, the high turnover rate could be indicative of bigger problems.

10. How are representatives monitored and what quality control mechanisms are in place?

Trust has to be earned. Before you can learn to trust your insurance call center, you need to see evidence that excellent customer service is being delivered on every single call.

Customer satisfaction is a huge part of customer retention. Make sure your customers will be treated to an excellent customer experience. Before you agree to work with a call center, find out what quality control mechanisms they have in place.

11. Can the call center work within your existing policy administration platform?

Look for a platform-agnostic insurance call center partner who can work in whichever existing core system you use. The flow of information should be instant and seamless. Outsourcing should not create extra data entry work or informational delay.

12. Is it an all or nothing proposition?

Flexibility is key. You want a partner that can provide as little or as much call center support as you need, while understanding that your needs will be constantly evolving. The outsourced team should be comfortable supporting your in-house team as well as any existing vendors you’re working with. They should also have a pricing structure that shrinks and expands with your varying demand.

13. Where are call center team members located?

These days, call center representatives can be located all around the world – and that’s OK if representatives can support your time zone, communicate clearly and understand the cultural nuances of your customer base. Whether you prefer on-shore or off-shore support, it’s important to know what you’re paying for upfront.

Not All Insurance Call Center Services Are Equal

The right insurance call center can help your insurance company thrive. To get the most out of the relationship, ask these questions upfront and be sure to compare the answers you receive to those of Covenir. We’re the nation’s premier on-shore, on-brand partner. We go out of our way to ensure that your policyholders’ experience is always on point. We can support every division of your insurance operation. Learn more using the links below: