3 tipping points in customer service interactions

If insurers want to improve their customer service interactions--a key aspect of the new business-to-consumer insurance market--they should focus on certain factors, says software company Pegasystems.

In a blog post, Steve Kraus, senior director of product marketing, outlined five tipping points that influence whether a company has a positive or negative interaction with consumers. Here's a breakdown of three of those points:

1. Mobile experience

Mobile phones, particularly smartphones, have become the go-to source for consumers to access information. It's vital that insurers enable mobile-ready websites or apps to help consumers easily find the information they're looking for. For example, Aetna's CarePass platform, which offers access to health and wellness mobile apps, enables consumers to make better healthcare decisions, which often leads to improved outcomes and lower costs. And Nick Martin, vice president of innovation and R&D at UnitedHealth, says mobile options are necessary for insurers to survive in an already competitive market. "The number of connected devices is skyrocketing as we speak," he previously told FierceHealthPayer. "There's a missed opportunity if you don't look at those people who use these devices and carry them every single day."

2. First customer service contact

"In less than 30 seconds, a customer knows whether the employee has the proper knowledge and authority to assist them," Kraus says. To help boost those first customer service interactions, insurers should avoid taking steps like Coventry and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, which were both found to deliver bad customer experiences. And considering the recent spike in customer call volumes due to exchange enrollment, now's the time for insurers to invest in additional, well-trained representatives who can adequately answer all customer questions.

3. Problem resolution

Although companies don't always have to provide an answer to a customer issue, they should "fully deliver" on their brand to resolve problems. But what they shouldn't do when responding to negative feedback is attack the consumer with an overly emotional response, particularly as more consumers reach out to insurers through social media sites to complain. Instead, insurers can tip the customer interaction in a favorable light by keeping the consumer informed of bills, claims and other typical issues so that the consumers don't have to take any follow-up steps.

To learn more:
- read the Pegasystems blog