The idea of call centers may bring up heart rates for some, and bring a feeling of relief to others. This somewhat polarizing insurance agency support method has its pros and cons, which can vary from agency to agency. There is no “one size fits all” call center, and each are certainly not created equal. But no matter what you’ve heard in the past, this customer support solution is worth investigating for any agency.
Call Center Support Pros
- Reduces wait time: A recent Valaro study found 60% of the 2,500 people surveyed said one minute is too long to be on hold. The faster a customer or prospect is connected with someone, the better.
- Provides valuable data: Call centers focus on doing what they do, better. They have data gathering techniques built into their system to inform and improve practices. When shared with you, this data can provide insight into what customers and prospects need.
- Expands availability: No matter the size of your agency staff, it’s unlikely they can provide 24/7 support to your customers. Call centers can. They’re built to be readily accessible at all hours of the day and night, meaning your customers always connect with a person.
- Expedites service: As an agency, you’re focused on marketing, human resources, finances, and a whole host of other areas. Call centers are focused on one thing: providing customer service. This singular focus means customers get help faster and with higher efficiency.
- Adds professionalism: When a customer reaches out for service, immediate and targeted attention signals professionalism. You want your customers walking away feeling they’re dealing with an experienced, trustworthy business.
Make a lasting impression on your customers with this key to insurance customer service
Call Center Support Cons
- Loss of control: Yes, giving over control of your customer support means one less thing to worry about. But, you also give up knowing what’s happening in the day to day of your customer support needs. Depending on your agency, you may want to stay up to date, and a call center may not be able to provide you the same level of involvement as operating customer service in-house.
- Breakdown in communication: With call centers, things can get lost in translation. Even with training, it’s inevitable call center employees will not know the answers as well as your staff.
- Limit to abilities: Call center employees can cover most of your customer needs, but they will eventually hit a point where they need to connect with you or your agency staff before moving forward. When customers connect directly with your agency, they’re already at the source and can get their needs taken care of without a second call.
- Loss of connection: Talking with a call center employee can feel impersonal for your customers. In an industry where relationships are important, that loss of connection can be especially damaging.
See what SIS staff and customers had to say about what good service means to them
Call Center Alternatives
If you’re still unsure whether a call center is the right customer service move for your agency, consider some of the alternatives:
- Remote customer support staff trained and employed by your agency. Depending on your size, a few staff who are available at different times during the day may cover your needs. The remote access makes it easier for them to be available during evenings and early mornings, taking calls from their own home.
- Online chats monitored by members of your staff. The beauty of chats is there is no “missing” them – the chat window stays open whether or not you heard it right away. And, you can easily move from one staff member monitoring the chat to another.
- Machine learning and dynamic call routing for both chats and phone calls. These methods ensure requests go directly to the person who is most available and/or most able to address the customer’s needs. Streamlining communications in this way means you can answer questions faster and with higher efficiency.
Thinking about adding a client service portal to your customer service toolbelt? See why you should here
Doing What’s Best for YOUR agency
Each benefit and challenge with call centers, or any customer service solution, will have a different weight for each agency. What matters is weighing them out to see what fits you and your customers. Talk with your staff, check in with your customers, and make the right decision for you.
That personalization is what matters to us at SIS. Our Partner Platform is created by agencies for agencies to meet their specific needs. Hear from our agencies and how the Partner Platform and SIS have helped them on our Client Stories page. And, get in touch to see how Partner Platform can help you and your agency today.