Machine Learning with a Human Touch: Improving Insurance Call Center Performance

No one wants to be put on hold

In fact, in a Valaro study of over 2,500 consumers, nearly 60% believe one minute is too long to wait on hold. This can be frightening news for an inbound call center, particularly one selling insurance, which requires experts with in-depth knowledge spending long amounts of time on the phone with customers, tying up sales agents. During busy times, this means missed opportunity.

There’s good news, though. Innovations in AI, machine learning, and remote work capabilities are changing the insurance call center landscape. For example, Clearlink’s insurance solutions leverage real-time data capture, intelligent customer experience, and artificial intelligence—combined with the human touch of expert, licensed insurance agents—to take advantage of the opportunities others are missing. Here are just a few of these innovations.

Nationwide Sales Agents

Using a virtual platform for remote work, insurance call centers no longer have to depend on brick-and-mortar spaces alone. When you can remotely hire, train, and utilize agents from across the nation, while offering them the comfort of working from their own home, you have a larger talent pool and to maintain a base of sales agents with diverse expertise—and you can direct calls from a specific geographic area to agents in those locations, for a better customer experience.

Machine Learning Integration

A truly effective insurance call center should be fully integrated with the marketing and lead generation aspects of the sales organization. Integrating multiple functions allows for automation, allowing you to turn off paid advertising when all agents are occupied to maximize your ad spend. Machine learning also allows you to take advantage of real-time data for staffing, smoother call transfers from one agent to another, and making sure only qualified leads make it through a filtering system to an agent.

Online Chatbots

Some customers prefer online chat to a phone call, especially when asking simple questions in the exploration phase before being ready to buy. While it is important to have live agents available for chat for more complex questions, well-designed chatbots use artificial intelligence to answer simple questions in language that’s easy for the customers to understand. Such chatbots allow a small number of agents to deal with a large amount of customers while still providing a personal touch.

Dynamic Call Routing

Dynamic call routing uses real-time data to get callers to the right agent as quickly as possible. From the area code a customer is using to call to the mobile ad the customer tapped to call and beyond—all of this information when collected properly means fewer transfers, less time on hold for customers, and fewer missed sales opportunities due to improved customer experience.

Intuitive Profile Matching

With a few simple questions from an agent, customers are matched with real-time data already collected to give the agent insight on the customer’s needs and what plans the customer may be qualified for. Intuitive profile matching lowers call time, improves customer experience, and allows for smoother transfers between agents.

The Human Touch

None of these innovations truly matter without qualified, licensed sales agents who provide a pleasant experience for customers on the phone, who jump in when chatbots are not capable of answering a more nuanced question, and who know the available plans in and out and can recommend them in a way no machine can. The data-driven approach gets you a long way, but without an excellent customer experience throughout, it can all be for naught.

As the business landscape changes, so must the insurance call center environment. The boundaries are expanding. Intelligent call routing and chatbots allow agents to more thoroughly help a greater number of customers. Using virtual platforms allow us access to a larger pool of top-tier sales talent while providing local expertise for nationwide companies. And the collection of real-time data means matching consumers with the plans they need, resulting in higher retention. AI isn’t replacing human customer interaction—it’s enhancing it, allowing agents to spend the right amount of time with more customers, increasing efficiency and conversions, and providing a truly intelligent customer experience.

If you’re not taking advantage of these innovations, the time to start is now. You won’t even have to wait on hold.

About the Author

Joe Orr is the Executive Vice President of Insurance at Clearlink, where he manages insurance operations and sales. Joe also serves on the insurance advisory committee for DocuSign and as an advisor to Insurify.