Prior to joining the team at Voiance, I spent four years handling claims for one of the nation’s top five property and casualty insurers. I partnered with executives and company attorneys to resolve the most serious bodily injury claims and trained new agents to do the same, eventually managing a team of claims professionals. Throughout the process, it was clear that we weren’t equipped to handle non-English claims calls with the same efficiency and professionalism the company expected the rest of the time.
I recently sat down with the Claims Journal Podcast for a conversation on the challenge of handling claims for non-English speaking insureds and claimants. This excerpt covers three potential benefits insurers may unlock by partnering with a quality language services provider to take great care of their non-English speaking callers:
1. Quick access to professional interpreters empowers agents to do their jobs well
Most agents want to do well on their non-English calls but face competing pressures. They are often encouraged, even expected, to handle incoming calls as quickly as possible, minimizing average handle time. They’re expected to explain the complex concepts surrounding an insurance claim in such a way that the customer – with no working knowledge of insurance – will understand. In many cases, agents are also asked to resolve a percentage of claims on the first call, which requires them to build rapport and earn the customer’s trust.
A skilled agent will recognize – often correctly – that a language barrier can pose an obstacle to achieving these goals, as well as to helping the customer. Without quick access to professional, reliable interpreters, they may come to dread these calls, and even doubt whether taking great care of the customers is really the priority they were told it was in training.
2. Serving customers in their language creates a competitive differentiator
From the customer satisfaction perspective, investing in quality language services may prove to be a valuable competitive differentiator – one that continues to pay off as shifting demographic and immigration trends make their US customer base more linguistically diverse.
Developing a reputation as a carrier that truly cares about and cares for their non-English-speaking customers may set you apart from competitors who only pay lip service to the concept. And as shoppers become savvier, reviewing potential insurers online before signing up, a reputation as the carrier that really takes care of their customers, regardless of language, may lead to growth.
The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) surveyed hundreds of contact center leaders and found a general consensus that language services improved the overall customer experience. These leaders also reported that about half of non-English-speaking callers call in expecting service to be available in their native language. Providing quality multilingual support gives P&C carriers the opportunity to meet these customers’ expectations while surprising and delighting the other 50% of callers who didn’t expect their language to be supported.
3. Handling non-English calls efficiently boosts department performance
Because non-English calls tend to go poorly when agents aren’t equipped to handle them, partnering with a quality language services provider and handling these calls more efficiently may improve metrics critical to contact center success:
Average Handle Time
Non-English calls will take longer than their English equivalents – that’s unavoidable. But a trained, certified professional interpreter may be able to minimize AHT by clearly and accurately conveying the agent’s message to the caller and ensuring that the caller truly understands the answer to their question prior to hanging up. A callback due to misunderstanding means another non-English call impacting AHT, not to mention an unhappy customer.
Also, shaving seconds off the process of connecting to an interpreter can add up over the course of hundreds or thousands of calls. Partner with a language services provider that offers training, puts their number on speed dial for a one-button connection to an interpreter, and uses auto-authentication to enable your agents to skip inputting credentials. These steps could save up to a minute per non-English call before the conversation even begins.
First Call Resolution
In my time as an agent, I learned that resolving a claim in one call depends heavily on developing a relationship with the caller – making sure they know that you understand their situation and building up trust through empathy. These dynamics are harder to cultivate with a language barrier in the way, so high-quality multilingual support may mean the difference between a claim that closes quickly and one that lingers due to mistrust or misunderstanding.
Now that you’ve learned about some of the benefits of handle non-English calls effectively, check out the full podcast with Claims Journal to hear why these calls will likely become even more common in the future – and how quick and easy putting a solution in place can be.