As 2022 unfolds, consumer expectations are higher than ever. The insurance industry is amid a major digital shift, making quality customer service top of mind, and the COVID-19 pandemic means insurance providers will face the daunting task of maintaining personal customer connections without the in-person interactions the industry once relied on.
For instance, 29% of life insurance purchasers bought their policy online in 2020, up from 21% in 2016. Given the rise of digital customer service in recent years, we can only expect this number to increase across all commercial and consumer insurance offerings. The demand for digital experiences isn’t going anywhere, and, with an updated customer service strategy, insurance providers can maximize client retention and expand into new markets, all while saving themselves time and money.
Unlock brand loyalty with these three digital customer service strategies
Despite the pandemic expediting digital transformation for most businesses, many insurance companies have been slow to adapt. Policy Advice reports that 68% of young insurance agents think the digital transformation of insurance companies is too slow. But the industry is not immune to the heightened customer expectations for a fast, personalized customer experience. In fact, 88% of consumers demand more personalized insurance products.
To make matters even more challenging, despite call volumes continuing to soar for all businesses, insurance businesses are dealing with leaner customer service teams and tightened budgets. This makes efficiency more important than ever. 2022 is the year for insurance brands to invest in digital customer service technologies to streamline internal and external communications while providing the instant gratification that consumers crave. To retain long-term customers while attracting new ones, here are some of the most important strategies for brands in 2022:
1) Simplify agent workflows and enable easy channel switching
Digital contact center agents will continue to face a flood of incoming questions. Research shows that over the next two years, 73% of brands expect the number of inbound channels to rise, while 53% believe the same for outbound channels. Now more than ever, consumers want to communicate with their insurance agencies across a multitude of digital channels. In fact, 62% of customers prefer engaging on platforms, including email, SMS messaging and social media. However, this means that internal teams must be able to seamlessly view all previous interactions and points of the customer’s journey to avoid redundancy.
The best way to simplify agent workflows and increase customer satisfaction is to integrate all of your channels into a single-view platform to provide omnichannel support. Rather than making consumers repeat their queries, agents can use a simplified dashboard to get caught up before interacting with the policyholder, regardless of which channel they used before.
For instance, the customer should be able to submit a claim online but be able to follow up via digital channels such as instant chat or social media without having to provide background context to the agent. By moving to a user-first, omnichannel approach, your contact center can bolster its effectiveness and cut costs.
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2) Enable digital self-service options to speed customer support without the need for a live agent
Traditionally, call center and claims agents spent the bulk of their time answering the same commonly asked questions, contributing to sky-high call volumes and lengthy wait times. With nationwide agent shortages, digital self-service tools are the missing key to agent efficiency. What’s more, self-service offerings are proven to reduce agent attrition, which can be anywhere from 45% to 90% annually. Digital self-service options allow insurance companies to provide the personalized, one-on-one interactions that customers expect, without sacrificing performance.
To empower policyholders to find solutions to their own problems, consider investing in AI-powered messaging and online brand communities. Advancements in AI mean chatbots can now tackle everyday requests like checking on a claim status or setting up online payments. Chatbots optimize customer and agent experience by tackling commonly asked questions and escalating high-priority queries that need the help of a live agent. When questions repeat again and again, AI-powered omnichannel analytics solutions can recognize a potential pain point in the customer journey to help your team resolve it quickly. The same technology can also analyze customer sentiment to gauge not just what customers are saying but how they truly feel about your business.
When leveraging AI, it’s important to consider containment rate, which tracks the number of users who reached a solution via an automated service, thus not needing to speak to a human agent. Even if the containment rate is low for an interaction, automation might have made that interaction more efficient, allowing agents to deal with higher-priority issues.
On top of AI-powered messaging, an online brand community is also an excellent way to encourage policyholders to answer each other’s questions, so your agents don’t have to. These self-service platforms are a hub for your company’s most loyal, informed followers that can give other customers the help they need without relying on a brand representative. In turn, online communities will not only strengthen brand loyalty but result in higher satisfaction in your policyholders.
3) Use a customer experience insights solution to gauge customer sentiment
Given the digital transformation that is in store for 2022 and beyond, it’s vital to use a customer experience (CX) insights platform to track customer sentiment and feedback, especially regarding new digital offerings. This technology offers a comprehensive but easy-to-understand view of all customer communications across channels, allowing your brand to visualize data from a high level down to individual interactions. By understanding what questions are repeatedly coming up with policyholders, the insurance industry can tweak and revamp its digital self-service offerings to anticipate the repetitive questions before they emerge. For instance, a CX Insights tool can help gather real-time data regarding all client-related processes such as submitting online claims or purchasing a new policy via digital channels and, in turn, understand customers’ insurance needs and address them better.
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Start with a top-notch digital customer service strategy
No company will go untouched by digitization in 2022. By revamping their digital customer service strategy and providing a world-class customer experience, insurance companies are bound to strengthen customer retention and expand into new markets. The financial services industry is an ever-changing landscape, and the brands that can put themselves at the forefront of innovation will be the ones to prosper.