How to Prepare Your Call Center for Open Enrollment

Insurance and healthcare call centers operate at high volumes, and this is especially true during healthcare open enrollment. After the Affordable Care Act insurance plans kicked off enrollment on November 1, nearly 8.5 million individuals signed up for 2019 coverage. This means that insurance companies experienced an influx of calls concerning available plans.

To get ready for this increase in call volume, it’s important to prepare your customer service representatives. The right tools and training will allow your call center to manage customer concerns thoroughly and efficiently. This guide outlines just some strategies to get your entire staff up to par before enrollment begins in the fall

Offer additional training

Training is key to preparing for a high volume season, even for your most experienced employees. As open enrollment approaches, organize mandatory training sessions for your call center team.

Be sure to develop specific training materials that your employees can study. They can then sharpen up on the specifics of enrollment policy, plan offerings, and other details. You can then assess skills and knowledge through role play in these sessions. 

In addition to checking up on employee knowledge, you want to also make sure that they are versed on your latest call center software. This will keep your team as efficient as possible and reduce the number of call escalations.

Hire support staff

Look at your call stats from the previous open enrollment period and determine whether you will need additional staff. Several support staff members can take the burden off of your current employees, making the season less stressful. You may choose to hire full-time temporary representatives, perhaps offering a path to full-time employment as well. 

Your management should also consider whether you need to train more supervisors before open enrollment begins. These individuals can take questions from the employees, train new hires, and ensure that the call center is moving smoothly.

Update your call center software

Outdated call center software might hold back your efficiency, so it’s essential to upgrade before open enrollment. Switching to an omnichannel platform that offers cloud based call center solutions can help keep your call center organized. These platforms include services like artificial intelligence assistance for web chat, message app integration, inbound and outbound calls, emails, and more.

This way, you can spread out customer communication across multiple channels. By keeping all communications on one updated platform, you can better track client communications and help your employees better serve your customers. 

Prepare management for escalations

High call volume can mean more escalations, especially with topics as vital as health insurance. So, it’s essential for your management team to be prepared for these calls. Be sure that you have clear protocol in place for customer service representatives to transfer calls to supervisors.

They should know when it’s appropriate to transfer a call and what to say to the customer when this occurs. You should also train management on common escalation scenarios pertaining to open enrollment.

Managers should know your insurance offerings in detail, since they will be taking more difficult calls. They should also understand how your entire cloud center software program works, so they can work out any technical issues. It’s best to begin this supervisor training as early as possible, smoothing out any kinks along the way.

While the open enrollment period can be a stressful time for healthcare and insurance call centers, you can reduce stress with the right preparation. Through training, updated software, and hiring practices, your company can gain essential tools and skills as early as possible. And when the enrollment period is complete, you can learn what needs improving for next year.