Posted October 6, 2011
The effect of employee benefits on productivity and the bottom line
Many insurance companies talk about providing exceptional customer service, but how many actually do?
Most employees anticipate that when they have a problem using or understanding their benefits, they should be able to quickly get the issue resolved by contacting the insurance company. But in reality, many insurance companies do not provide the level of customer service support that employees expect.
If employees are not happy with their benefits, their job satisfaction and work productivity may suffer, and ultimately affect the employers’ bottom line. Before signing on the dotted line for insurance benefits, businesses should evaluate the quality of the customer service and assistance insurance companies provide. Here are some helpful standards for measurement:
- Delighted Customers – An insurance company’s reputation is an excellent indicator of the quality of customer service provided. Are employees who currently use benefits delighted with the service provided, including the communication and follow-up service? How long does it take for claims to be processed correctly?
- Easy to Reach – When calling customer service, how long does it take to reach a representative? Is it easy to identify the right department to contact? Employees can become frustrated if they have to follow an excessive series of telephone prompts to reach the right area.
- Real Person or Machine – Do you actually talk to a person or a machine when calling customer service? It can be exasperating to find out you need to leave a message explaining the reason for your call, instead of talking directly to a friendly representative. And then you wonder when the call will be returned and whether or not you will be available.
- One-Call Resolution – Are questions answered on the first call, or do employees have to make numerous calls to have their questions answered, or concerns resolved?
- Consistency – Are customer service questions consistently handled the same way for every call, or does the response depend on the representative answering the call? Employees appreciate consistency so they know what to expect.
- Service Hours – When are customer service representatives available? Do the hours match up with your employees’ schedules? Some insurance companies have extended hours so they are available to answer calls from early in the morning to late in the evening.
- Location – Are the customer service representatives located in the United States or another country? While customer service representatives usually are trained to handle calls, if it is difficult to understand their answers, employees may become frustrated with the experience.
- Flexibility – Can plan designs be modified to fit employees’ needs? Do customer service representatives have the authority to make decisions to resolve concerns and respond to specific employee needs?
- Helpful Attitude – Do representatives try to resolve employee questions or concerns quickly? Do they put employees at ease, or make them frustrated?
Customer service is a vital component of an excellent employee benefit plan. As you evaluate insurance companies, determine the quality of the customer service support employees will receive throughout the year. Employees who are happy with their benefit plans tend to perform better and are more content with their job and employer.
|Benchmark Award Recognizes Customer Service Excellence An award from a credible evaluation service is another strong indicator of the quality of customer service provided by an insurance company. Recently Ameritas Group was ranked 4th out of 100 in the best, smaller call centers category by BenchmarkPortal, which is the leader in call center certification, and host of the largest call center performance metrics database in the world. Each year Ameritas Group’s customer connections call center handles more than 1.4 million phone calls. With every call Ameritas Group associates strive to make a positive impact and enhance the customer’s service experience.
Read more about this award.
Are you satisfied with the quality of customer service provided by your employee benefit plans? – Ken VanCleave, Ameritas Group