With recent shifts in the insurance industry, call centers are becoming an effective way for agencies to stay profitable. As it stands today, carriers are already paying agents less for selling their products. At the same time, agencies are coming to the realization that agent travel expenses are becoming unrealistic to sustain.
For many agencies, call centers are the solution to these problems. Health insurance call centers allow agencies to reach more people on a daily basis from a centralized location, eliminating extraneous costs and growing the pool of potential sales.
Call centers create opportunities to reach more leads compared to single agents trying to make contact with them on their own. If an agency is located in a state with stricter regulations, for example, expanding across state lines drastically increases sales opportunities—which can help you generate near-immediate ROI on your health insurance call center investment. In fact, the average call center estimates that each agent will sell three or four core products every day, with a cross-sell percentage goal of 200-300 percent. This is due to the fact that conversations may be much quicker—and agents have the ability to contact a larger pool of candidates.
Suffice it to say that call centers can create a solid foundation that will help agencies successfully navigate the changing insurance landscape as we move further into the future. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the considerations you should keep in mind when starting a call center.
First things first: Are you going to pay for a physical call center and hire folks from the immediate vicinity to answer the phones? Or are you going to take advantage of modern technology and build a remote team of agents from all parts of the country—and in all time zones.
One advantage of choosing the latter option is that your business can keep its virtual doors open even when scenarios such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and snowstorms knock several team members offline.
What kinds of calls do you expect to handle? During which hours are you going to be open? What’s your budget? How many channels will be available? How will you measure success?
These are the kinds of things you need to think about as you begin fleshing out your call center plan.
When it comes to medical information, HIPAA compliance is always a top priority.
To this end, you can’t just decide to open a call center, find call center software, and buy it out of the gate. You need to be sure that the technology your agents will use every day includes built-in HIPAA compliance.
If you’re planning on taking credit card information, you will have to consider PCI (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliance, too.
You need to have enough people on hand to pick up the phone when someone calls. Otherwise, what’s the point?
And you can’t have just anybody, either. You need qualified, licensed friendly folks who have the right temperament.
Figure out what characteristics the ideal call center employees possess and do everything within your power to hire the right people.
Call centers can help agencies thrive in an era characterized by rapid change in the health insurance industry.
Unfortunately, you can’t simply decide to open a call center and expect to get the results you’re looking for. The good news is that by doing your due diligence and devising a thorough plan that works for your agency’s unique situation, you have the power to transform your operations with your call center—delighting your sales team and clients along the way.
To learn more about how a health insurance call center can take your business to the next level and what you need to do to make it all happen, read our white paper, What to Consider When Starting a Call Center by filling out the form below.