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The Lynchpin of Profitable Claims Operations
By Dara Banga
When you think about the components of a profitable claims operation, customer service may not be at the top of your list. Yes, it’s probably on your list, but it may be prioritized behind a few other objectives, like speed, volume, automation and fact-based investigation.
Today, I’m raising the question: How important is customer service to claims operations? Personally, I feel it’s the lynchpin. In other words, it’s the one vital piece that prevents the wheel from sliding off the axle – particularly when business is hopping.
When I refer to customer service, I’m not just talking about service to the insurers who pay our fees. I’m also talking about service to the policyholders whose claims we adjust. And, I’m talking about how we interact with the members and communities we serve.
Great service goes beyond a series of activities – it’s about caring more and creating positive feelings. In September 2013, The American Express Service Study discovered that receiving great customer service triggered the same cerebral reactions as feeling loved. Sixty-three percent of those tested experienced an increased heart rate when they thought about receiving great customer service.
As adjusters, we typically get called in during times of crisis, when hearts are already racing and not in a good way. Is it possible that we in the claims industry can make a positive difference for those with whom we interact before the claim outcome? By delivering a higher level of care and professionalism, can we help our insured’s feel respected, heard and valued early in the process?
With these ideals in mind, below are a few customer service trends that might make it into the claims realm in 2015:
• 24/7 response. While we in the claims industry are used to being on call, customers in all industries have evolved to expect instant service – even when there is no emergency. Waiting until normal business hours is no longer the norm.
• Web-cam and video interaction. Why wait until you arrive on scene to meet the policyholder? Reach out via mobile app, Skype or Video Chat to connect and establish expectations as soon as the claim is received. Encourage insureds to use smartphones or a claims app to send adjusters real-time videos of losses. With more insight upfront, carriers and adjusters can assess and deploy resources faster, minimizing costly and inconvenient delays.
• Customer support via video. Companies are increasingly using videos to teach and serve consumers. In our industry, what if there was a video tutorial for each common claim type that could be texted to policyholders’ cell phones to quickly orient them to claims dos and don’ts?
• Communication in the insured’s preferred medium. If insureds contact you via text, respond via text. If they contact you via Twitter, that’s where you should reply. Let the insured’s communication preference set the venue for your interactions.
• Increased focus on customer experience. According to Forrester’s Customer Index, customer-centric companies gained 43 percent in performance, while companies that neglected the customer experience decreased their performance by 33.9 percent.
• Community involvement. Born between 1980 and 2000, the millennial market is just as large as the boomer market. By 2020, one out of three adults will be millennials. These are our future claims customers. One thing to know about millennials is that they care a lot about social responsibility and choose to do business with companies that support important causes. How are we in the claims adjusting industry making a difference?
While these trends are important from the perspective of making us think and innovate, they are by no means a substitute for personal connection. I firmly believe that active listening; professionalism; empathy; and being true to one’s word will remain the cornerstones of great service in 2015 and beyond.
At DSB Claims, our goal is to hold on to our tried and proven service elements while always searching for ways to enhance and improve. For several years now, we have been the only Canadian adjusting firm to measure insured satisfaction on every closed claim, and we’re proud to have earned a 99.09% insured satisfaction rating.
Furthermore, every claim assigned to DSB is backed by a 100% Claims Satisfaction Guarantee. If you are not fully satisfied with our services, we won’t charge you.
Ready to discover the DSB difference? Check out testimonials from some of our insureds, and then contact us to refer your first claim. You’ll be glad you did!
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