The article was first published in Modern Insurance Magazine in June 2018.
I think good customer service in the insurance industry encompasses the entire customer journey from pre-purchase right through to settling a claim. If there is inconsistency or misunderstanding at any point then the overall service and perception of the insurance provider will be affected.
However, there are often different parties involved in service delivery and whilst those organisations will measure their own performance this may not connect throughout the customer journey to achieve an overall good customer experience.
The three critical success factors involved are; good product design, an appropriate sales process that makes sure the customer’s needs are being met and a high-quality claims service which delivers on the promise of protection the customer sought from the insurance product.
- Product design
Increasingly insurers recognise the importance of prevention and mitigating the customer’s risks. Whilst this helps prevent claims costs for the insurer there is a huge advantage for the customer. Home Emergency cover that includes boiler servicing is one such example. A well maintained boiler is less likely to breakdown, which is ultimately what the customer wants, but they have the reassurance of help if it does.
- Sales process
Sometimes customers don’t pay attention, and the less risk they perceive the more likely it is that they won’t invest time in research and understanding. Regular product training for front line staff, real life claims examples and clear documentation all help to address this. However the product provider should ideally be part of this, creating that link and continuity between the design and sales that is so important.
- Claims journey
An insurance claim can leave a lasting impression on customers – either one of elation or of frustration. The claims journey needs to carry through the product features and the protection the customer sought when purchasing. In gadget claims for example the whole purpose of the product is to provide a quick and effective way to repair or replace the item. Reflecting this in the claims process means the customer probably doesn’t need or want to talk to someone about the claim. A simple online tool that allows them to report it immediately and automatic notifications for reassurance that claim is progressing aligns the claims process to the product features.