5 Customer Service Best Practices in the Insurance Industry

Author: Simon Black | Date: 02/02/2024

While outstanding customer service is a key ingredient of success in any line of business, there are some industries where the stakes are especially high — and insurance is a prime example. 

In insurance, not only must customer support agents in the contact centre provide a professional, friendly, and timely service, they must also be proficient at dealing with the complexities of high-value claims processes, all while being aware of potentially fraudulent activities. 

The impact of customer service on success in the insurance industry cannot be understated, especially considering: 

  • 96% of customers in a survey claimed that customer service was an important factor in their consumer decisions and brand loyalty.¹
  • Satisfied customers are 80% more likely to renew their insurance policies.²

In this article, we’ll outline five insurance customer service best practices that can help you deliver outstanding support in your contact centre, ensuring that your customers stick around for the long term.

Ensure your agents care about high-quality service

While technology, tools, and processes all play a central role in delivering an outstanding service in the insurance sector, customer support is ultimately about people. Without the right customer service agents in place, you’ll struggle to deliver a service that meets your customers’ needs. 

Customer support agents are a key link between your customer base and your business. In your customers’ eyes, they are your business — and the service they receive will have a direct impact on their opinion of your company as a whole. Hiring the right contact centre agents is a critical first step in ensuring high-quality service for your insurance customers, leading to: 

  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • More loyal customers and higher retention rates
  • A reputation as an insurance company that puts customers first

Effective recruitment often requires a good deal of time, resources, and money, but it’s a step you simply cannot afford to cut corners on. While this is true regardless of the industry you operate in, it is particularly important in an industry as complex and high-value as insurance.

Provide comprehensive training

If hiring the right agents is the first critical step, supporting them through comprehensive insurance training is the second. Without the latter, you’ll undo all your hard work in the former. 

With most insurance contact centres experiencing high levels of agent churn, onboarding and up-skilling new agents is a constant challenge. With complex and detailed insurance processes, training new agents to the point where they can confidently and accurately deal with customer interactions can take weeks or even months, leading to resource challenges and reduced performance across the contact centre.

Effective onboarding and training should equip insurance contact centre agents with the ability to: 

  • Handle industry, policy, claims and company-specific queries, ensuring they have the knowledge to answer customer questions and solve issues
  • Navigate the complexities of the insurance industry confidently
  • Be able to navigate internal processes seamlessly even when handling challenging interactions
  • Use various tech platforms and tools that work with the agent rather than against them

Without comprehensive training, agents easily become overwhelmed, resulting in poor service and dissatisfied customers. From the agents’ side, being ill-equipped for the job can be extremely stressful and demotivating, leading to higher turnover rates. 

Training shouldn’t be seen as a one-off event as part of the onboarding process. Systems and process training should be balanced with soft skills learning and career development sessions. Agents will feel more engaged if they receive ongoing guidance and support that is tailored to their needs, allowing them to close skills gaps and improve on areas for development. This is particularly important in an industry like insurance, where adhering to regulatory compliance and risk management is crucial, but being able to engage contact centre agents is also a key factor in the success of the business and the customer experience.

Technology can play a key role here — not only in delivering training activities but also in supporting agents during interactions with customers. Take scripting, for example — a technology that directs agents through the customer conversation, allowing them to focus on one topic at a time. 

Scripting not only allows agents to focus on delivering an outstanding service, it also minimises the need for formal training, acting instead as an in-work learning tool that guides them to become more proficient at their job.

Scripting can be tricky to get quite right. Here’s a blog on scripting best practices that could help give you that edge on your competitors.

Offer omnichannel support

With the need to balance adherence to complex process and regulatory requirements with delivering a memorable service, insurance companies that take a flexible, but efficient and technology driven customer-centric approach to customer services will gain an advantage over those that don’t. One example is offering omnichannel support. 

We live in a world of choice, where customers can contact a business in multiple different ways, including: 

  • Over the phone.
  • Email.
  • Live chat via a website.
  • Social media and online community platforms.
  • Self-help support via online forums, videos, etc.

Each mode of communication offers something different. Some customers feel comfortable using one mode but not another. In limiting your customer support to just one mode of communication, you force some customers to contact you in a way that is confusing, uncomfortable, or even impossible.

By taking an omnichannel approach to customer support in your insurance contact centre, you enable customers to choose what works for them, leading to: 

  • A more personalised customer service experience.
  • Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Increased agent productivity — live chat can be conducted with multiple customers at once.
  • Reduced overheads — some channels allow customers to resolve issues without talking directly to an agent, i.e. community forums or chatbots.

Again, technology has a key role to play in making omnichannel support work. The right software allows businesses to integrate different channels and legacy systems, uniting cross-channel data without disrupting the agent or customer experience. 

Reveal the true voice of your customer – across 100% of interactions

See why industry leading Insurance firms are using speech analytics

Identify areas for improvement

Understanding performance, checking QA and identifying areas for improvement is critical to providing a consistently excellent standard of support. The insurance industry has to strike a balance between delivering a good experience, despite the difficult nature of the calls and aligning to QA expectations and guidance.

Insurance businesses operate in a highly regulated environment with constantly changing rules and guidance. Companies need to provide reassurance not just internally but also to customers and regulators that compliance is being monitored accurately and that immediate action can be taken where needed.

This means that many insurance QA teams spend the majority of their time analysing calls rather than being able to utilise their expertise to drive proactive improvements before they become large-scale issues. The good news is that modern technology is now making it easier than ever to assess QA, customer interactions and fine-tune performance.

With the right software, customer support managers and QA teams can ensure that 100% of customer-agent interactions are monitored and analysed, guiding better outcomes with the following functionality:

  • Contact centre quality monitoring.
  • Automatic alerts that flag when potential compliance breaches or fraud alerts are identified.
  • Efficient dashboards that empower agents and leadership teams to make the right decisions.

Through industry-leading speech and voice analytics, insurance customer calls can be automatically transcribed and analysed to identify speech patterns, key words, and even the emotion and intent behind the language used. 

This provides customer support managers with powerful insights relating not only to customer sentiment and agent performance but also to the wellbeing and mood of call centre staff. Ultimately, this helps to pinpoint areas of improvement and provide the right support at the right time — for both customers and agents.

Worried about call centre agent turnover? Check out our guide on ways you can reduce that and improve job satisfaction among your employees.

Deploy cutting-edge software

Technology is the driving force behind almost all of the best practices we’ve discussed in this article, with the latest platforms providing all the functionality you need to strengthen your customer service. 

But in a market crowded with new technology and software, choosing the right platform can be a tricky decision. In an industry as complex and unique as insurance, it pays to choose a software provider that understands and caters to your specific needs. 

The right software will enhance the customer journey, simplify internal processes, and provide powerful insights, allowing your customer support team to understand their performance and identify areas for improvement. 

Beyond features, the right software provider will have provable experience helping customer support teams — and particularly those in the insurance industry — achieve better results. 

Since deploying our AI-driven platform, one of our insurance contact centre clients not only reported an improvement in the customer journey and a dramatic reduction in call handling times but also found the agent churn rate decreased too. They were able to up-skill agents 70% faster than standard training methods as processes are held within the Awaken platform rather than having to train the agent on individual processes. Agents are taking an active role in call handling within a few days as opposed to a few weeks.

Take the first step to enhancing insurance customer service

At Awaken, we have a proven track record of supporting high-performance insurance contact centres and customer support teams. With decades of contact centre experience among our ranks, we designed our software to be flexible, powerful, and cost-effective. 

Our AI-powered software streamlines support processes, provides unparalleled insights into performance, and helps you provide a superior experience for both customers and agents alike, with features like: 

We also understand the unique challenges that agents in insurance companies face — everything from high-stakes calls about complex insurance products, to regulatory compliance and fraud detection. That’s why we’ve built a system packed with features that help insurance providers deliver exceptional support. 

If you’d like to see how Awaken could help enhance your customer service and simplify the insurance claims process, book a demo today.

  1. Why Customer Service is Important: 16 Data-Backed Facts to Know | HubSpot
  2. Analyzing Your Data to Improve Insurance Customer Experience | Aluance Digital Services