In the past, an agent was likely to have a local office where customers could stop in at any time to ask a question, pay their premium, or just say hello. It wasn’t abnormal for the customer to run into the agent at the grocery store. Increasingly, that is no longer the case.
Today, the customer has many more choices when choosing an insurer, including digital options such as eSurance, Lemonade, and Insurify. Because they don’t have the overhead of local offices, these digital companies can offer much cheaper premiums. Purchasing an online policy through them is generally easier with simpler, more transparent pricing than traditional insurance providers. Today’s younger generations have grown up with digital technology and are adept at doing business and making purchases online. Therefore, digital insurance options will likely gain in popularity. And this means greater competition and a heightened need for customer service excellence.
Changing Customer Expectations
Today’s customers have much higher expectations in all their service experiences. They can be issued a refund by Amazon for a faulty product with just the push of a button. They can transfer money from one person to another in under 10 seconds using an app like Venmo. They get text messages confirming their next doctor’s appointment and notifications of when a package is to be delivered. But if a tree falls through their roof and rain is pouring in, everything changes. Now the customer is at the mercy of their insurance agent. Will they call back? Will they arrive on time? Will they take care of my needs the first time? Too often, the answer is “no.” It’s the top customer complaint.
Just getting in touch with an agent—which should be fairly easy in the era of text, email, and chat—can take hours or even days. Out-of-office messages offer no alternatives except to wait for a callback. Whether standing in their living room watching the rain pour in or standing on the side of a road after a car wreck, the need is urgent. But the response, or lack thereof, indicates otherwise. It indicates that the insurance company’s idea of customer service goes no further than receiving the premium check. And in today’s changing P&C business environment, that mindset can be dangerous.
A poor customer service experience can lead to a cascade of lost business.
- Unhappy customers are 91% less likely to ever do business with the company again.
- Customers who are dissatisfied with a service will tell 9 to 15 people.
- A negative customer experience is why 86% of customers quit doing business with a company.
In the past, if a customer had a complaint, they would most likely go directly to their agent. The agent, probably a friend or neighbor, would do what he or she could to make it right. In a community environment, the agent couldn’t afford a bad reputation. And word-of-mouth recommendations were a primary driver of new business. With each premium statement would come a handful of business cards and a plea to share them. “If you appreciate the service I provide, please share with your friends.” If only it were still that easy.
In the digital age, word-of-mouth has been overtaken by online reviews. According to an article published in Inc.
- Unhappy customers are more likely to leave a bad review.
- Only one in ten happy customers are likely to share a positive review.
- It takes 40 positive customer reviews to offset the damage of a single poor review.
- 88% of customers use online reviews to make a buying decision.
Who’s Getting it Right
Forbes recently published a list of the most “customer-obsessed” companies." At the top of the list is the Ritz-Carlton, of which the article states: “The company’s main focus is to build an emotional connection between guests and employees for the best hotel stay possible.” Trader Joe’s is also mentioned: “Trader Joe’s puts customers first to create a personalized experience at each store and with each shopper.” The list includes Amazon because it “aims to make customers’ lives easier” and because it’s “always innovating and finding new ways to solve customer problems.” Zappos focuses on “surprising and delighting customers” and empowering its employees to use innovative ways to do so. The Dollar Shave Club’s motto may say it best: “We don’t respond to situations; we respond to people.”
What if the insurance industry treated each customer engagement as an opportunity to “surprise and delight” them? Actually, with the right technology and customer-centric tools, it is possible.
Property and Casualty Field Service Management
The customer experience shouldn’t be held hostage by the adjuster’s backlog of appointments. By the same token, the adjuster shouldn’t have to fly blindly without the data and tools needed to be successful. By leveraging insurance claims adjuster software, P&C insurance providers can ensure agents and adjusters have the solutions they need to deliver a better customer service experience.
When choosing a field service management solution, companies should consider only those that are built on a unified platform. This allows for better insight and more actionable data for smarter, faster responses. Following are three key capabilities of the best solutions.
Smarter workforce management. The best field service management software enables P&C companies to deploy the right field adjuster for each situation. Which adjuster has the best skillset for the situation? Which adjuster is closest in vicinity to the customer? Which adjuster is available at the customer’s preferred appointment time? Mobile workforce management software helps organizations better manage their team of field adjusters, whether employed or contracted, by providing real-time status updates on in-progress appointments, along with compliance reporting and metric monitoring. Being able to dynamically deploy the right adjuster at the right time increases productivity and reduces costs such as paid down time.
Smarter scheduling. Smart scheduling software removes scheduling constraints and allows for faster, more agile deployment of field adjusters. This is especially important for the urgent calls or disasters where the adjuster needs to get there fast. It also helps organizations better utilize field adjusters by “drip feeding” them additional jobs as availability or urgency warrants. Digital scheduling also enables field service managers to view and change jobs on a Gantt interface so that field adjusters arrive as promised.
Smarter customer engagement. Delighting customers begins by empowering them. The best solutions will offer an online portal where customers can enter information about their situation and choose a preferred appointment date and time. Once the appointment is set, customers should be able to view their adjuster’s location and estimated time of arrival, which helps the customer arrange to be home without having to take a full day off work. Mobile field service software allows field adjusters to gather all the information they need to arrive prepared. They’ll also have access to the customer’s policy on the spot and can review details without the need for a second visit.
P&C organizations can’t afford to treat the customer experience as an afterthought. By leveraging the right technology and a customer-centric mindset, organizations can improve insurance reviews, increase operational efficiencies, and protect their bottom line.
To learn more about enhancing the P&C customer service experience, contact ServicePower today.