Standards for insurance customer service today are being set not by businesses within the sector but by big global names, such as Amazon and Apple. Customers don’t differentiate between the experience they might have with a large retailer and that with an insurance sector enterprise – the same expectations exist across the board. That’s why a customer focused approach is now so important for businesses in the insurance industry and why it’s so key to keep the customer at the heart of strategy.
What kind of expectations have been set?
As technology and data continue to drive an increase in customer service standards in sectors such as retail this is creating higher expectations in every industry. Today, customers expect personalisation and faster response times from the insurance businesses that they interact with as much as from a big social media network or global retailer. For many organisations within insurance this means a significant rethink is required, not just when it comes to existing service standards but also with respect to business model innovation too. Without evolution, there is the risk that customers could simply go elsewhere.
How to put customers at the centre of an insurance business
Customer-centric service delivery can be developed by first looking at the ways in which the business is already interacting with customers and focusing on three key areas for improvement.
Increasing the speed of response and improving interaction
Typically, waiting time absorbs 95% of insurance application processes so there is considerable room for improvement. Although meeting the needs of customers in real time is likely to be somewhat unrealistic, it’s still very necessary to identify ways in which the speed of interaction can be increased. Putting customers at the centre of an insurance business means minimising turnaround times so that they are being measured in hours as opposed to days.
Reducing error rates and improving quality
As a result of the quality standards that have been defined by many businesses outside of the industry, customers have very high expectations in this respect today. Most are unlikely to be satisfied with anything less than 95% error free processing. As most insurers today fall somewhere between 70 – 80% that’s a significant shortfall that needs to be considerably improved if customer needs are genuinely being prioritised and expectations met.
Being more open about the process
When customers have a good understanding of the process they are involved in they tend to walk away feeling more satisfied. An opaque and confusing approach to explaining the claims process can be damaging where customer satisfaction is concerned. Putting the customer at the heart of the business means significantly improving transparency so that consumers understand where they are in the process and what the next steps are likely to be – as well as the overall timelines.
It’s essential for the insurance sector to start putting customers more firmly at the heart of the business – these are just some of the simplest ways to do it.