Customer experience in the insurance business: delivering on promise to customers

Providing an exceptional insurance claims customer experience starts and ends with taking care of the customer, sometimes before they even have to ask, writes Rob Barrow.

 

It’s a rainy afternoon and the claims department phone is ringing a little more than usual. The latest call comes from a policyholder who, while on the way home from a long day’s work, is jolted from behind by a minivan. It was only a crinkled rear bumper and no one was hurt, but the process to fix the damage has already begun with a call to your office. This is your opportunity to take the sting out of the claims process for your customer and help them get things back to normal, as quickly as possible.

Whether your customer files a claim for a car accident, property damage or a medical need, the opportunity to provide a superior experience goes beyond the initial claim. It starts and ends with improving customer communications, delivering outstanding products and services and streamlining the customer requisition and fulfilment process.

 

Give them something good to talk about

The importance of providing an exceptional customer experience is even more significant now that customers have the ability to share their experiences immediately online and over social media. In a recent report by Fifth Quadrant, it found that nine out of 10 Australian will switch to a competitor if they have a poor experience. Further, eight in 10 will actively advise friends and family to avoid companies who provide a poor experience and 77% will not purchase again.

In today’s competitive market place, it is becoming obvious in the insurance industry that customer experience is now the most important thing to focus on. Every company offers products and services, so ultimately it’s the experience customers have with businesses that motivate them to stay loyal to a firm or brand and ultimately ‘sell’ it to others.

 

Increasing accuracy using automation

Keeping customers proactively up to date on the status of a claim is one way to enhance the customer experience. Automated status approvals and updates let customers know where their claim is in the process and can alert them to any delays so they don’t have to call to check on the status. This also benefits the insurer because it eliminates the time it takes to field additional calls, providing staff with necessary time to focus on moving the claim forward.

A common glitch in the claims process for example, is when ‘in good order’ processing (meaning early, comprehensive collection of all the data the claim handler needs to effectively and efficiently manage the claim) is not completed up front. Having to go back to a claimant and tell them their claim is delayed because you need more information is not an acceptable excuse. Consequently, the ability to get information ‘in good order’ can really improve the customer claims process.

Addressing process and content management challenges, is just one way using the right technology can be used to provide opportunities to increase accuracy and streamline processes, which in turn provides the customer a higher level of service.

 

Eyes on the prize

In every business, it’s important to ‘wow’ customers. Examples from business-to-consumer companies are plentiful. Apple, JB Hi-Fi and The Good Guys, for instance, are known for outstanding customer service. In the insurance industry, that same exemplary customer service, coupled with the right tools and technology designed to foster communication, can transform a crinkled bumper from a disaster into an opportunity to gain a customer for the long run.

Today, enhancing the customer experience is about comprehensively managing all the touch-points with each customer. By implementing technology, such as business process management, companies can improve service levels, get back to a policyholder right away and eliminate the exception processing that requires additional requests for information. This translates into not just expedited processing, but a pleasant experience for the customer, ensuring success well into the future.

 

Rob Barrow is regional directorANZ at Perceptive Software.