Why Insurance Companies are Choosing Hosted VoIP
The idea of insurance companies as old-fashioned enterprises with rows (upon rows) of filing cabinets underneath buzzing fluorescent lights is no longer valid.
That’s because today, insurance companies are embracing technology-led solutions — and a core solution is a hosted VoIP phone system. Here are the key reasons why:
Dramatic Cost Savings
The most important advantage of hosted VoIP is the cost savings, which can be anywhere from 20% to 50% (or more) each year. There are no CapEx costs, or ongoing maintenance, support, or upgrade costs. Aside from affordable licenses, the only up-front (and minimal) expenditures are IP phones, back-up power supplies, and a managed router to monitor and support the system remotely.
In addition, hosted VoIP is a scaleable and future-proofed investment with predictable monthly pricing. If insurance companies need additional numbers, they simply purchase more licenses. Conversely, if they downsize or contract and have excess capacity, they simply let licenses expire.
Anytime, Anywhere Mobility
As the insurance landscape gets more technological and data-driven, the need for insurance companies to deliver responsive, personalized service for both individual and business customers is more important than ever. With a conventional phone system, current and prospective customers are often forced to wait for several minutes “for the next available agent,” or they get routed to voicemail again and again.
But with a hosted VoIP phone system, calls can be forwarded to any mobile or landline, which means that callers have less chance of hearing “thank you for your call…” and more chance of hearing “how may I help you?” What’s more, staff can use the built-in video conferencing feature to engage in some valuable face-time with customers.
Route Calls to the Right Person the First Time
Sometimes, callers don’t have a specific person they want to reach, but need answers or assistance regarding quotes, coverage details, claims handling, and so on. In the past, this often meant that callers bounced around from desk to desk — which was not just frustrating for them, but disruptive and inefficient for staff as well.
But with a hosted VoIP phone system, insurance companies can easily customize the built-in auto attendant to professionally greet callers, and help them self-direct their call to the right department or team. Callers reach the desired party faster and easier, and staff doesn’t waste time answering calls that aren’t in their domain. Everyone wins.
Voicemail to Email
While it’s ideal for staff to answer each and every call, this isn’t realistic — or even desirable, since there are times when employees need to go “heads down” and focus on tasks vs. answer one phone call after another.
A hosted VoIP phone system automatically converts voicemails into audio files and then routes them to any email address (or addresses). Not only does this create an easy-to-follow audit trail, but it helps staff prioritize callbacks — or if necessary, forward the voicemail to a colleague.
Virtual Contact Centers
Insurance companies with more than one location can use a hosted VoIP phone system to connect all branches on a single, centralized platform. Employees can chat with each other, check status (e.g. available, busy, away from the desk, etc.), start a conversation with a single click, schedule meetings, and more.
Time of Day Routing
During normal business hours, insurance companies can use hosted VoIP’s time of day routing feature to direct calls to certain phones or individuals using a distinctive call pattern. After hours, they can streamline the ring pattern and route calls (together with a customized greeting) to a virtual call center or a priority voicemail box. Time of day routing can also be used for holiday closures as well.
Last but certainly not least: often, clients need to contact their insurance agent in the aftermath of a disaster, such as flood, fire, hurricane, and so on.
A hosted VoIP phone system uses a geographically-dispersed cloud infrastructure and back-up power supplies to remain online, even if the local phone company is down. As such, agents can connect with clients from their smartphone and start the recovery process ASAP.
The Bottom Line
As noted by McKinsey&Company:
For a long time, the traditional insurance business model has proved to be remarkably resilient. But it too is beginning to feel the digital effect. It is changing how products and services are delivered, and increasingly it will change the nature of those products and services and even the business model itself. We firmly believe that opportunities abound for incumbent insurance companies in this new world. But they will not be evenly shared. Those companies that move swiftly and decisively are likely to be those that flourish. Those that do not will find it increasingly challenging to generate attractive returns.
Obviously, every insurance company — from small family-owned businesses to large enterprises with a national and international footprint — wants to flourish vs. get flushed down the proverbial drain.
And that’s why an increasing number of insurance companies have made the switch from a bulky, bloated, and needlessly expensive conventional phone system, to an advanced, cost-effective, feature-rich, and future-proofed hosted VoIP phone system.