Cloud based phones offer many advantages and a good deal of them can be particularly beneficial for financial services companies, like insurers.
According to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), all sorts of financial services companies are obliged to keep phone records for a period of at least six months for certain types of activity under COBS11.8 regulations. With the rise of large phone-only insurance providers, such as Direct Line Group, the telephony requirements for insurance companies of all sizes have grown in complexity. Not only do regulators in the industry expect calls to be monitored appropriately, but customers have got used to accessing insurance services easily and conveniently online and on the phone.
From small and medium-sized insurance companies to individual brokers, this need for high-quality telecommunications has often meant investing in a modern private branch exchange (PBX). Most of these are capable of providing the sort of functionality that insurance companies need, for example, specific telephone numbers (DDI’s) for different departments or services for example – one for claims, one for quotations – as well as things like hunt groups so calls are distributed to team members within that department or service team.
Like other sorts of businesses in the counties of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire, PBX technology meets the needs of most smaller insurance companies most of the time. At peak times, when lots of customers want to register claims, for instance, further technology may be needed. If your business falls into that category, then it might be worth considering the merits of cloud based phones instead of merely upgrading your current PBX. Let's examine the key advantages – and why they can help insurance companies - in greater detail.
Price Per User
When you opt for cloud based telephony, there is a pay per user model that can be very appealing to insurance companies which have fluid numbers of staff. Unlike a traditional phone system model, there is no upgrade fee for increasing the capacity of the PBX, in terms of either its lines or extensions. Need to set up a call centre for a limited time to deal with a particular influx of callers? Travel insurance businesses might need to do so if a large tour operator were to go bust, for example. Setting one up with cloud based telephony is an easy way of doing so with an operating expenditure model (OPEX) rather than a capital expenditure model (CAPEX). You only pay for what you need.
No ISDN Line Rental Charges
With cloud based telephony services, connectivity to the (PSTN) is included within the cost of the seat or user license. Therefore, you can eliminate the cost of renting or installing ISDN lines from the network provider altogether.
Cloud telephony adopts license based model that is easy to scale up or down based on demand. If you have a lot of car insurance customers who renew their policies in the summer, for example, then you might need more staff to cope with the incoming calls. Equally, you might hire temporary staff to ring customers to remind them to renew before they get quotations from competitors. With a fully scalable approach, this is easy to increase and doesn’t require additional hardware or infrastructure to accommodate the uplift. Therefore, once the demand has decreased it is possible to reduce the user licences to reduce the ongoing costs.
Like many businesses in the UK, the need to integrate home-workers and staff members who are not necessarily based at your headquarters is keenly felt in the insurance industry. Cloud phone services afford the same level of functionality for users whether they are in the office, at home or based in the field talking to customers or assessing claims.
Improved Business Continuity
In the event of a site being out of action, cloud based systems allow your incoming calls to be re-routed instantly. This is important for insurers who offer things like 24-hour helplines or which are regulated in such a way that the ability to make claims must be offered no matter what operational challenges you might face.
For insurance businesses which generate lots of outgoing calls, the inclusive minutes that come with many cloud packages can be very attractive. Effectively, they allow you to budget your call costs in a structured way – just like a common mobile telephone contract. If your business relies on sales calls to generate income, then it is worth looking into the packages on offer carefully
PCI Call Recording with 12 Months Storage
Finally, it is worth noting that system-based call recording, or services offered by third-party recording companies, can be very expensive. Some even charge for you to be able to retrieve conversations in the event of a query cropping up that causes you to go back and listen to a call. Cloud based phones offer a cost effective alternative where charges are generally made per user, not per minute of recording. For insurance companies that need to access their phone conversations from time-to-time, this can be a key factor in the decision to opt for cloud based services.