How can insurers boost their agility by hiring more at-home agents to handle calls without compromising data security? For forward-thinking companies there is an answer.
Insurers have it tough in 2018/19: Just like industries, they are trying desperately to meet rising customer expectations, embrace innovation and fend off disruptive newcomers. The pressure to become more dynamic has never been greater. Deloitte's 2018 Insurance Outlook puts it bluntly: 'Insurance company leaders have a lot on their plates'.
The point at which these two goals of security and flexibility collide is over the thorny issue of hiring lots of home-based contact centre workers: Ambitious companies say Yes, cautious companies say No.
But is it possible to satisfy both needs? Certainly.
Compelling business case
Hiring more home-based agents has huge advantages for insurers who are looking to reduce costs, become more responsive and retain the skills of knowledgeable employees - to improve customer service and retain good agents. In other words, just the kind of things they need to survive and thrive.
Clear benefits of home-based agents can include:
And it's not just older, experienced employees you'll be likely to attract. Huffpost reports that 64% of millennials would like the opportunity to work from home.
Risk of rogue agents
For insurers, having a remote contact centre workforce comes with significant risks. The prospect of allowing credit/debit card details, national insurance, driving licence and other sensitive numbers and personal details to run freely through the hands of unmonitored home-based agents is a major concern.
It isn't alarmist to be worried about this: It's realistic.
There are over 3.5 million contact center agents across all sectors in the US, accounting for approximately 4% of the workforce. Inevitably, some will be bad apples. And certainly, some will be moving between sectors and looking for fresh opportunities to make money through fraud.
The traditional approach of safeguarding sensitive data within contact centres by using 'clean rooms' is deeply flawed anyway but even the weak protection it provides cannot be transferred to the home. Bans on mobile phones, other strict rules and constant monitoring cannot be applied to a someone's spare bedroom in Bromley, Birmingham or Bristol.
So what's the answer?
Here is where some US insurers have used a stroke of genius. Eckoh's award-winning CallGuard solution is being deployed successfully by some forward thinking insurance organisations.
With CallGuard, you can hide sensitive data from all your agents whether they're based within your contact center or work from home.
Put simply, agents are prevented from:
CallGuard uses proven technology, such as DTMF masking or audio tokenisation, to put sensitive information out of reach for agents, while Eckoh's secure platform deals with the sensitive data and confirms its validity. What's more, the process is easy for customers. Conversations with agents flow naturally and there's no jarring pause-and-resume moments during calls.
Solutions like CallGuard have arrived at just the right time when insurers need to ramp up security while becoming more flexible by using more home-based agents.
 '2018 Insurance Industry Outlook' - Deloitte
 'US Contact Centers 2018-2022' - ContactBabel