Response time in insurance (everything you need to know)

In any business, responding to queries and leads quickly is the best practice, but this is especially true for insurance companies.

According to The Insurance Journal, insurance shoppers consider quick response times to be the most significant differentiator when purchasing insurance.

It is important to keep in mind the purchasing behavior of insurance shoppers. By the time a customer reaches out about a potential policy, they have already done their research, compared policies, and are ready to purchase. You have no time to lose to close that deal.

The same is true for insurance customer service queries. Queries being handled by insurance companies tend to be more issue-driven than the average sales query.

Customers are likely to reach out to their insurers at critical points in their customer journey:

  • when they need to purchase a policy,
  • are seeking information to clarify their policy,
  • when they need to update their policy and
  • ultimately when they make a claim.

These are critical junctions for the customer who requires an effective and quick response.

How efficiently these queries are handled makes all the difference to a positive customer experience.

When your customers are happy, you can expect a positive impact on your bottom line. According to Bain & Company businesses can grow revenues between 4% and 8% above their market when prioritizing positive customer service experiences.

With customer expectations higher than ever, how can insurance companies keep up with these demands? First, we need to understand the current state of insurance response times.


The current state of insurance response time


A Harvard Business Review study reviewed the average response times of companies. HBR discovered that companies are taking as long as 42 hours to respond to an inbound sales lead.

In another study, nearly half (47%) of the companies surveyed never responded to the inbound lead at all. Ouch!

The truth is customers expect way better service than this.

A joint survey by SuperOffice & Toister Performance Solutions revealed that over a third of customers expect a response to an email in one hour or less. Now consider that only 36% of companies reply to incoming customer queries within an hour. This leaves a lot of unhappy customers out there.

Gone are the days of responding within 24 hours or more. If you are only responding to your insurance customer queries after 24 hours, you are sure to be losing out on a lot of business and creating unhappy customers!

But it is not all bad news. If average response times in the insurance industry are slow then this gives you a gap. Become the insurer who is quickest on the draw.

How fast, is fast for insurance companies?


The ideal response time in insurance industry


With an increasingly competitive market, it’s essential that insurance brokers focus on providing quick and efficient responses to queries.

According to HubSpot Research, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service. It makes good business sense to provide insurance customers with excellent service.

Insurance companies are increasingly utilising emerging technologies to drive efficiency. And it is no wonder when you consider these ideal response times in the insurance industry:

Emails: within an hour
Chat: 5 minutes or less
Live chat: less than a minute
Phone calls: less than 30 seconds

Insurers should however consider creating unique response time benchmarks. You should create benchmarks that consider current broker capacity, incoming query load, and any unique company challenges.

Once you establish a good lead response management system, your team will be equipped to reply to queries quickly, resulting in more sales, happier customers, and improved customer satisfaction.


Impacts of customer service response time in insurance

What is the impact of fast customer service response time for your insurance company?

Take a look:

🔵 Increased sales

The speed at which your team responds to an inbound query can directly impact the chances of concluding a sale. By focusing on fast response times, you can edge ahead of your competitors and sell more policies.

Insurance companies that implement effective lead response management systems can enjoy more sales and more profits.

🔵 Higher customer retention

When customers are happy with the level of service they tend to stick around. Unhappy customers are quick to switch to a competitor if they can believe they will enjoy a better customer experience.

NewVoiceMedia’s “Serial Switchers” report revealed that almost 60% of customers are prepared to switch to a competitor when they experience poor customer service.

It is more cost-effective to retain an existing customer than to bring a new lead and covert them. Keep your current insurance customers happy with fast and efficient responses to all queries.

🔵 Increased referral rate

Satisfied (and dissatisfied) customers are inclined to talk. If you impress them with fast response times and friendly service customers are likely to share their positive experience with friends and family.

By delivering a consistent and outstanding experience you can benefit from an increase in Net Promoter Score (NPS) where customers are more likely to promote your brand and make valuable referrals. Qualtrics XM Institute confirms that happy consumers are 38% more likely to recommend your company to others.

Referral sales are gold to insurance companies as they require almost no financial investment but bring in valuable, warm leads.


Proven ways to improve insurance response time

Now that we’ve established how your insurance company can benefit from quick customer service response times, let’s dive into the best practices for improving your response time:


1. Measure, track & analyze

A key element for improving insurance response time is measurement. If you can measure your response time, you can easily track progress. By having accurate data about average response times, conversion rates and other metrics, sales and customer service teams can see where they need to improve.

Consider using email analytics for customer service software that delivers all the reporting and data you need to improve your customer support email performance.


2. Automate with tech

Sometimes we all need a little help to improve our efficiency. There are fantastic tools available such as email response management system (ERMS) software.

An ERMS tool can automate some tasks associated with insurance responses. This can cut down on low-value tasks, freeing teams up to focus on high-value queries and nurturing relationships.


3. Set goals

Teams perform best when they know what is expected from them.

With a response time management system, teams know exactly what is expected from them. Set response time goals and link these to your predefined SLAs. This way you can track progress and performance against customer expectations.

By setting benchmarks you can continually improve your customer service lead time.

How Customer Service Email Software Can Help You

With the right processes and technologies in place, responding to customer queries quickly and efficiently can be simple.

Let’s unpack how customer service email software can help you drive efficiency and productivity:


4. Streamline workflow

When it comes to providing customer support, data insights can be incredibly helpful.

Plug in quality customer service email software and you can instantly gain access to email analytics for customer service. Start tracking your customer service teams’ email workloads and average reply times.

This gives you all the information needed to track performance and streamline customer service workflow.


5. Improve performance

If you want to provide responsive, consistent service to your insurance customers then you need to be setting reply time benchmarks and tracking custom SLAs.

With email analytics and alerts software, you can track reply time SLAs, and see which emails met their SLA goal and which breached their reply time goals. By leveraging this data, you can improve response rates and average first reply time.


6. Never miss an email

It is easy to lose or forget about an important email when your inbox is overflowing.

Customer service email software has the added bonus of sending teams alerts when an email is reaching its custom SLA deadline or is waiting for a response. Never miss another important customer query again with this customer service alert system.


Introducing timetoreply™

With timetoreply, companies will empower customer service teams with data-driven insights into their email performance, helping identify problem areas and ensuring every important email is looked after.

Top-class customer service teams utilize timetoreply to set email response time benchmarks, drive efficiency, and keep track of every query.

By providing excellent and consistent customer service, customer service teams will drive bottom-line results. Recent research from HubSpot Research revealed that 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service. Investing in your customer service team is crucial for success.

If you are serious about boosting your team’s productivity and improving sales as well as customer retention then timetoreply is the solution for you.

Our plug-and-play customer support team management software empowers your teams with real-time insights into a range of important email metrics.

timetoreply’s email analytics for customer service allows you to continuously benchmark your email productivity against internal KPIs and customer SLAs. The customizable alert feature makes it easy for teams to keep track of high-value email tasks.

Turn your customer service team into a competitive advantage by leveraging timetoreply’s alert, tracking and email analytics features.

Schedule a demo now and discover how to boost your sales and customer service capabilities with timetoreply.


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