Want to keep your policyholders? Then you better keep them happy. There are almost no second chances. In today’s switching economy, you can’t count on loyalty.
In fact, according to the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, 52% of U.S. respondents say they have decided not to complete a business transaction or make a purchase because of poor customer service, while 17% are willing to spend more because of excellent customer service.
Furthermore, the study found that U.S. respondents tell an average of 15 people about their poor customer service experiences, so one bad incident could lead to many lost opportunities.
It’s obvious that insurers must work hard to keep their policyholders happy. What might be less obvious is exactly how to do this. Ultimately, it boils down to four C’s: control, convenience, consistency and continuity.
The best way to ensure your policyholders enjoy their experience with your company is to let them control the framework of that experience. Customers have different needs and preferences. Some prefer speaking with a live representative, while others conduct all their business online. Some set up their bills with autopay; others take a more hands-on approach to their monthly budgets. For those who opt in, you can send a regular newsletter, detailing potential policy additions, safety tips, and savings opportunities. The key is to provide an array of options, empowering your customers to choose what they want.
Personal data is another important consideration when it comes to control. According to PwC, 85% of consumers say they wish there were more companies they could trust with the data, and 83% want more control over their data. The EU and some states in the U.S. have legislated data privacy, but even in jurisdictions without a legal mandate, choice and transparency are essential for building trust in the customer relationship.
Technology has raised the bar for customer service. An enhanced customer experience begins with easily accessible, omnichannel communication capabilities. HubSpot found that 90% of consumers say an immediate response is important or very important when they have a customer service question, and 42% want to use live chat to handle customer service issues. Insurers should provide easy, fast, and efficient tools – across web, mobile, social, IVR, and phone - and let policyholders pick the channel they find most convenient.
Additionally, through digital self-service options (with an intuitive interface), you can make it easy for policyholders to find exactly what they’re looking for, control their personal preferences, and to contact you when they need help.
If a policyholder or agent has three interactions with a brand, two of which are fine and one of which is horrible, which one will he or she remember? The horrible one, of course.
You may offer a superb customer service experience through your agents and representatives, but it’s important to maintain equally high quality-standards across all customer channels. When a policyholder switches from mobile to laptop, they don’t want to have to figure out how to navigate new information each time. The brand, message, and overall experience should be consistent across platforms.
Consistency across payments is important, too. For example, if you accept digital premium payments, do you also pay claims digitally? Do your payment platforms also deliver a cohesive and consistent brand experience?
HubSpot found that 33% of consumers rank having to repeat themselves or their information to different support representatives as the most frustrating aspect of customer service.
We’ve all heard horror stories of customer service telephone tag. You tell your story, perhaps get some help (though the information may or may not conflict with other sources), and then without a solid solution, you're placed on hold for the next representative. Rinse, repeat.
Don’t give your customers the runaround. Make sure the various departments in your organization are coordinated, accessible, and aligned throughout the customer journey, minimizing the time and trouble for your policyholders (with minimal phone transfer).
Your organization’s performance will only be as strong as its people, processes, and metrics. Hire, train, and reward those who will always put your customers’ needs first and empower them with technology and tools so they can do their best work.
Tags: Customer Experience