What's Phone Banking? No, We're not Talking About Checking Accounts

The concept of phone banking might conjure images of dialing your financial institution to obtain balances or to see if your direct deposit paycheck is available.

For insurance companies and other businesses that handle vast amounts of voice calls, though, phone banking has nothing to do with "banking" but rather describes the management of a call center. These phone banks are crucial links between customers and their insurance needs.

The insurance industry is emerging from a period of struggle with customer service and call center solutions. These challenges included poor internal customer service practices that neglected to cater to the customer experience. With lackluster or poor customer satisfaction, people are much more likely to shop for lower cost policies.

As many in service industries can attest, almost anyone can lose when it comes to a price war — and this is especially the case with insurance. If a customer feels neglected, they may think about looking for rock-bottom pricing, since they anticipate being treated as a bargain basement customer, anyway.

Unified Communications and Virtual Contact Centers can provide the tools insurance companies need for effective phone banking activities. Here's a look at how that can be accomplished.

Virtual Contact Center Benefits

A virtual contact center takes the concept of a phone bank and brings it to another level. Of course, when customers call their insurance provider, they expect the call to be answered promptly. Many of the customer support problems faced by insurers, however, involve long hold times, which result from a vast disconnect between phone agents and insurance representatives. Virtual contact centers provide the following benefits:

  • Avoid missed calls with a system that can be customized to follow agents and support associates.
  • Unify workers, no matter how distributed your workforce may be.
  • Maintain communications integrity, even during natural disasters when customers need answers the most.
  • Increase agent productivity by reducing the need to search for information.

Indeed, customers want more than a pleasant voice asking them to hold; they want information as efficiently as possible, too. Virtual contact centers combine communications with customer information.

Information and Service Delivery

Access to information empowers insurance customer support reps to not only field a call but also immediately get up to speed on the status of a claim or a customer's prior call history. This is crucial and avoids one of the primary sources of customer dissatisfaction: being placed on hold.

Customer satisfaction and service begins with information, but it also extends to quick issue resolution. Dissatisfied customers are more likely to stay with their current insurer if the complaint resolution process is optimized. After all, people don't relish the idea of shopping for insurance and will often pay a premium for good customer service.

With a virtual contact center, your phone bank can be empowered with the tools necessary to satisfy customers and efficiently handle all other aspects of daily operations, such as selling new policies. Once customer service is optimized, insurance companies can focus on other activities, such as those that increase sales and revenue.

Provider Compliance Assistance Via Your VoIP Provider

Insurance companies that deal with protected health and patient information are covered entities under regulations like HIPAA. An insurer's choice in communications provider is crucial since, in almost all cases, a VoIP provider is considered to be covered under the law as a business associate.

This makes sense as a cloud provider is a conduit of patient information and therefore must be held to the same standards for safeguarding patient information. Voice calls can be covered methods of communication under HIPAA, although there may be exemptions based on the call's content. Best practices call for staying on the safe side and dealing exclusively with HIPAA-compliant communications in your insurance phone banking.

8x8's unified communications and virtual contact center solutions provide software as a service (SaaS) capabilities that enable insurers to communicate with policyholders more effectively.

Since 8x8 is compatible with the office and process management solutions used by many insurance companies, such as NetSuite, Salesforce, ACT, eAgent and more, insurers can experience the benefits of integration.

When your phone bank becomes more than just a way to answer and make phone calls, customer experience is better. Policyholders demand great customer service, and with 8x8, you can be certain your business will deliver.

Insurance companies have enough on their plate. Choose a world-class SaaS technology solution and focus on what's important: your clients. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 Product Specialist.

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