increasing-customer-satisfaction-in-claimsA recent article posted on Insurance Networking defines increasing customer satisfaction being a top concern for Property and Casualty Insurance Executives, followed by promoting growth, and reducing costs. Referencing a 2014 study conducted by Genpact, the article quotes that the insurance organizations are seeking to advance “insurance operations through advanced operating models”.

At a high level, the findings make sense. Today’s insurance operations can be segmented into two sections – scalable, repeatable and cost efficient business processes and non-scalable, highly inefficient, manual, case-by-case executed activities that force organizations incur higher costs and hold the organization hostage in a cycle of continuous improvement. Customer satisfaction obviously is taken for a spin with a very wide range of performance improvement activities and initiatives. However, there are very basic rules that exist in being able to maintain a high level of satisfaction with the customer and these rules have not changed.

Customer satisfaction is based on several very basic principles. Following these principles ensures high quality of service that every customer deserves even when the actual service quality is slightly diminished with new technology upgrades, process improvements, and organizational changes.

The rules are simple:
  1. Set proper customer expectations up front
  2. Follow up on the customer’s promise to fit the expectations
  3. Inform customer of any changes that may affect customer’s current experience

Once the organizational commitment to rules above is made, the key is opening up the channels of communication with the customer to keep them informed of the initiatives, continuously soliciting customer’s thoughts and feedback.

Reduced Costs and Customer Satisfaction Tradeoffs

There is a strong perceived mantra that improving customer satisfaction generally involves increased spending. So the number one question is whether tangible customer satisfaction goals can be attained without increasing the spending and resources.

Every organization is different and struggles with its own internal challenges, however there are usually many opportunities in being able to tackle improvement of both, the ROI and the customer’s experience. Generally, this is one of the areas that can be tackled with technology.

Improving customer communications with better CRM and rolling out tools to support multi-channel customer touch points is one of the areas where technology can help achieve both, the reduction of costs and improvement of customer satisfaction. However, this is only a part of the large customer satisfaction piece in claims.

Insurance is very different from other industries in the way that customers pay for service they are not utilizing until the claim occurs. Occurrence of the claim is the first time when the insurance organization will be evaluated for the quality of the service it delivers and whether it is able to keep its promise. This is the crucial point that has been culminating from the very customer acquisition. The new customer acquired with strong marketing, media, and ad campaigns can be classified as responding to existing customer’s presenting a very favorable Net Promoter Score. However, the moment this customer engages the organization to handle a claim, the actual experience may be drastically different.

Claim Handling is a Critical Part of Customer Experience

The bigger challenge is how to improve customer satisfaction within the claims process? From the customer’s point of view, easy claim handling process, accurate settlement of the claim, and claim resolution time are the most important ways customers evaluate the insurance company for keeping the promise. Fortunately there are also many technologies available to ensure better claims handling.

Real-time visual communication for handling claims remotely without dispatching adjusters make claim handling easy and convenient for small and medium size claims. This technology ensures an accurate collection of claim evidence, leading to accurate settlements and higher customer satisfaction. It also helps streamline supplemental claims, speeding up restoration process without a need to dispatch adjuster resources in the field.

Lastly, catastrophe response, the most expensive of the claim handling activities can also be improved with real-time visual communications to effectively triage and handle small and medium size claims surrounding the catastrophe areas. Comparing with current unscalable manual catastrophe response process, remote visual technology can help provide effective means to handle non-critical small and medium size claims with high level of customer satisfaction using remote resources from unaffected areas, while focusing field adjusters to target large and total loss claims in the field to provide superior service to the policyholders most affected by the major event.

The Opportunities

As you can see, there are lots of opportunities to improve customer satisfaction. Looking from the high level, it is important to estimate the size of the effort, the impact of the effort, and the time to value. With vast options out there, there are low hanging fruits that can be selected to meet and exceed customer satisfaction improvement targets and reduction of cost targets at a short amount of time.

Evaluating and prioritizing many of the opportunities will be the key in not only for goals in customer satisfaction and reduction of costs, but also in terms of growth opportunities as the benefits produced by customer satisfaction initiatives can be realized with marketing of the improved performance metrics.