In the wake of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), it is more important than ever that insurance providers are equipped to handle increased demands for support across multiple customer service channels. Insurance providers see an uptick in contact center activity as consumers try to navigate the nuances of the new insurance era. Their customer service organizations rely heavily on technology to provide the right kind of communication for their customers. From an operational efficiency standpoint, customer inquiries handled online with no errors and no confusion are ideal. But while customer service organizations strive to leverage this "golden path" for service, many customers prefer to do business the old-fashioned way: over the phone. Customer service organizations are challenged to use their people, technology, and data resources to best serve their customers efficiently and effectively.
Historically, contact center management emphasized reduced operational costs. This cost-control focus led to advanced self-service solutions that reduced the need for human interaction and agents to service customers. This approach has been effective for Insurance Industry contact centers, but with the implementation of PPACA the need for human interaction is trending up. When dealing with significant changes like those related to PPACA, many customers prefer to speak with a live agent.
So, how does an organization keep this amplified burden on contact center support in balance with its greater customer service strategy? Faced with these challenges, we have found significant value in available data resources. More effective data usage improves human and technology resource efficiency. Leveraging existing data stores combined with contact center operational data renders powerful applications for real-time operations management, data analytics, and sophisticated contact treatment. Also, access to these applications may be extended to users groups through custom APIs for various web-enabled and mobile platforms. Intelligently leveraging existing data is the most productive path to enhancing the overall customer experience, improving customer satisfaction scores and employee workplace satisfaction.
Real-time Actionable Data and Analytics
Data that can be quickly processed and communicated to users in real-time is an essential source of management information in a contact center. Combining real-time data sources with near real-time metrics, historical trend data, and related customer data the outcome is meaningful and actionable intelligence. Armed with the right information at a glance, contact center managers can quickly identify problems at a regional, site, or agent team levels, and recognize trends impacting service level and exceptional performance.
Focused data analytics is the natural complementary component to comprehensive real-time solutions. Contact center and customer data analysis that identifies trends and develops insight into customer behavior is an excellent way to improve operations, increase customer satisfaction, and reduce costs.
Support Your Data with Custom APIs
APIs are increasingly crucial to a successful analytics package. They communicate data quickly and securely with maximum efficiency. Designing a robust architecture for customer intelligence solutions often requires custom-built APIs to securely access and deliver data from data repositories to routing and reporting solutions. It is essential to find an experienced technology partner with a track record in API strategy and development to build an API solution alongside your customer intelligence solution.
Get Your Contact Routing Right
When you can identify the customer that is calling, the number of recent contacts, and the nature of their previous interactions, it is possible to provide tailored treatment and achieve an optimized customer experience. Most vendor solutions for Interactive Voice Response and Multichannel Contact Routing provide a means to access outside data sources for determining contact treatment. Linking these platforms to a resource that processes information from various data sources facilitates powerful routing applications including Dynamic IVR and queue treatment, customer history directed routing, and multi-dimensional logic based routing.
Improving your contact center's operational performance does not have to break the bank. Start by leveraging your greatest asset, customer data. A data-centric strategy facilitates superior customer experiences through contact center interactions, drives higher customer satisfaction ratings, and ultimately reduces operational costs.
About the authors: Mike Ary is the president and a founding member of Aceyus, a company that provides contact center intelligence and consulting services. Mike Mallahan is Vice President of Delivery at iSoftStone North America. iSoftStone North America is a technology consulting firm that partners with its clients to create innovative solutions that improve business performance and provide a sustainable, competitive advantage.