When did your contact center begin preparing for healthcare enrollment center phone calls?
If your facility is like most that serve consumers by connecting them to insurance resources and assisting them in securing coverage, your answer might be that you began preparing long before the season was even on the horizon. Perhaps you even began thinking about this year’s open enrollment as soon as last year’s concluded! It makes sense, given that the season is the busiest for the insurance customer service industry - and also the most important.
Beginning November 1st, a massive upswing in call volume will coincide with the opening of the insurance market for enrollment. As people seek insurance coverage and browse options for the coming year, they will undoubtedly have questions - and need those questions answered. The huge jump in call volume has been known to crash computers, occupy phone lines for hours, and frustrate agents and consumers alike year after year.
If you don’t want your center to be part of those statistics, it pays to be prepared - and to do so early. Here’s more of what you need to know about getting your call center ready for healthcare enrollment center phone calls this year:
The Significance of Open Enrollment
What is so important about healthcare enrollment center phone calls that it causes such a large change in the volume of calls received by contact centers? While fluctuations like those seen by retail centers at the holidays make sense to most people, the major shift seen in the fall heralded by open enrollment is less straightforward. However, if you’re part of the insurance industry or work as a customer service representative for a company that is, you’ll see that it’s very similar to the retail season of the holidays - it’s the insurance industry’s version of a big store opening.
During the calendar year, consumers may become dissatisfied with their insurance coverage or may wish to explore other options, but because of the nature of insurance coverage, they may not be able to do so until the following year. While their coverage won’t begin until January 1st of that next year, the sign-up season begins on November 1st, during a period known as open enrollment. Consumers flock to grab spots with preferred providers during this time, but the transition never comes without plenty of questions and concerns on the part of insurance customers.
Ensuring sign-ups go smoothly is the task of customer service representatives staffing the contact centers that light up during open enrollment. If yours is one of these, you know just how huge a difference in call volume there can be from the middle of October to that first day of November and beyond. Preparing to handle that huge influx - and to handle consumer questions, complaints, and concerns successfully - will help your center make it through the season unscathed.
The Impact of Customer Experience on a Successful Peak Season
Want to prepare to serve your consumers properly during open enrollment? The key will be setting your center - and the brand or agencies you represent - apart with excellent customer experience. Data has shown that consumers are more willing to pay higher premiums or make other perceived sacrifices if they feel valued by and catered to by a company. Providing these feelings is the task of the season for your call center agents.
Optimizing Your Center for Healthcare Enrollment Center Phone Calls
Now that you know why you need to prepare for healthcare enrollment center phone calls, here are some tips to get you started:
- Streamline self-service and call-back features. Nothing simplifies the lives of call center agents and supervisors during peak seasons like offering fully-featured self-service menus and giving consumers the choice to receive a call back if they would prefer not to wait on a line. This way, customers can enjoy a refreshed, enthusiastic agent who is ready to tackle their question, comment, or concern, rather than an exhausted and harried agent who is just trying to make it from one call to the next in a timely manner.
- Manage your workforce effectively. Scheduling agents effectively during the peak hours and days of the enrollment season can be difficult for management team members. With so many calls coming in, there is a temptation to hire a massive roster of new employees and fill the building wall to wall and corner to corner with agents - but then, what happens when that call volume tapers again? Having a plan in place that allows for flexibility and scaling is the best option.
- Train your agents ahead of time. No one likes to be caught off-guard by sudden changes in the way things are going at work. This includes your call center staff. Newer hires may not be familiar with the chaos that can happen during this season, while more season employees may need a reminder of company policy when it comes to handling specific situations. Ensure that everyone is on the same page by preparing via training ahead of time.
- Have the right tools and technology for the job. Your employees can’t hope to provide excellent service without up-to-date technology and software, so ensure that your center is properly outfitted well before November 1st. That way, when the time comes for the high call volume crunch, you won’t be stuck waiting on updates to download or integrations to smooth themselves out. Your staff will already know their new technology and will be ready to use it to help consumers make informed decisions about their health care.
For everything you need to make this open enrollment peak season a success for your contact center, reach out to the industry experts at ChaseData. We have what you need to prepare for the season ahead and make it the best one your staff and center have ever experienced! Give us a call today to learn more!