Contact center representatives typically interact with customers at a crucial point in the insurer-customer relationship—and the experience they offer can have far-reaching consequences.

Digital disruption has struck all industries, causing drastic changes in customer needs and expectations. For insurers, this has a material effect on the customer experience, and in particular, the contact center environment.

The role of the contact center representative has changed

Many insurers have taken steps to provide digital, self-service options for their customers. Consequently, today’s contact center representatives are more likely to encounter customers with needs that are too complex to resolve through automated or self-serve channels. Alternatively, these customers may have come to the contact center because some part of the digital process has broken down.

This places contact center representatives at a crucial point in the customer relationship. How they deal with the customer’s needs can have a tremendous effect on customer loyalty and retention, not to mention an insurer’s competitive differentiation.

Key capabilities for the new contact center environment

In a new report, my colleague John McNally highlights the effect that digital disruption has had on the contact center workforce. He discusses four standards that should govern contact center interactions:

  • Know the customer. Contact center interactions must begin with knowledge of the customer’s relationship with the insurer: products they own, their preferred channels and notable details about previous interactions.
  • Empower representatives. Insurers must trust and empower their call center representatives to resolve problems on their own, with “first call resolution” as a target for most situations. Insurers must provide representatives with the skills, authority and responsibility to effectively resolve customer issues.
  • Provide tools and data. Contact center representatives need access to a customer’s profile, as well as collaborative tools to help deliver an optimal customer experience.
  • Match or exceed expectations. The overall experience must be the same or better than what the customer would receive in a face-to-face interaction.

Capturing the omni-channel opportunity

I’ve written previously about the opportunity for insurers to find the sweet spot where automation and human interaction can deliver a personalized, seamless and efficient omni-channel experience.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to read that four-part series and register to download Transforming the Insurance Contact Center Customer Experience (PDF).

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