There’s Only One Way to Knock Down Lengthy Call Center Wait Times

One of the more useful aspects of the troubled roll-out from the Affordable Care Act is that its rocky start has required organizations nationwide to re-assess their existing call center solutions and determine what they need to do in order to ensure that issues are addressed as efficiently as possible.


For MNsure, Minnesota’s new health insurance exchange, calls have been taking longer than expected to be routed and resolved. The goal has been for calls to be answered within two minutes; however, the average wait time for callers in early October was clocked at a drawn out nine minutes.


Athough MNsure has worked to add call center staff and evaluate the additional number of agents needed to appropriately bring the wait time down to the ideal two minutes, what is likely necessary is employing the right call center software solution.


Essentials for Every Call Center


One element that every insurance exchange (and every call center, in general) could use is intelligent routing. Not only does the service help connect the customer to the right agent, but it also helps determine the most appropriate method of communication and the best way to connect, including: screen pop, data-drive routing, skills-based routing, agent profile and service-level routing, among other options.


Or, rather than keeping consumers on hold for nine minutes, why not provide them with a proactive call back option? With this service, consumers can go about their day and be called back by an agent in as soon as five minutes. This process ultimately works to limit customer frustration – a task that would be welcome given the difficulties that have been experienced with the beginning of the Affordable Care Act.


Additionally, multi-channel virtual queuing allows call center agents to respond to customers faster and easier, regardless of how they reach out to you. An intelligent, universal routing experience can help create a better customer experience, no matter what the method of communication.


Looking Forward


During its first week of operation, MNsure website users had a difficult time creating the accounts needed to buy a health insurance policy. Individuals who aren’t currently covered by employer-sponsored insurance – as well as small business employees – are the target audiences for MNsure, but it’s been difficult to get people on board with the website running inefficiently.


Compared to Healthcare.gov, though, Minnesota’s MNsure website seems to be a bit ahead of the pack. One of the differences between the two sites is that, unlike the federal website, Minnesota residents are able to shop for coverage even before they set up an account.


One important lesson that all call centers can learn from this situation is that it’s important to keep an eye out for the latest call center solutions being offered, as well as to take a look at what your competitors and contemporaries are trying out.


It can be easy to get into a tunnel vision-type situation – the kind where you’re so focused on the tasks at hand that it becomes difficult to see the forest for the trees. When troubleshooting call center issues, especially as big as the ones being addressed through the Affordable Care Act, every option needs to stay on the table.

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