For many businesses, customer service sets the leaders apart from the laggards. Recent research by Accenture revealed that companies that see customer service as a value center rather than a cost center achieve 3.5 times more revenue growth than those that uphold a more traditional view of customer service.
If you’re still not convinced, here are a few more reasons why customer service matters:
- 80% of customers say experience is equally as important as a company’s products or services.
- 72% of customers will share a good experience with others; 62% will share a bad one.
- 90% of customers want an immediate response when they ask a customer service question.
Insurers should take customer service even more seriously than other industries in the financial services sector. That’s because, unlike their banking counterparts, their customers’ interactions with them don’t happen daily; they’re more occasional (such as for claims or renewals.)
In fairness, most insurers have been trying to better understand and engage with their customers for many years. They continue to invest in process improvements and digitization to create more relevant products and better experiences.
However, despite these efforts, it seems that there’s still much work to be done.
Factors Affecting the Customer Experience
Recent research reveals that overall customer satisfaction with insurers’ digital offerings declined this year. So, where are insurers going wrong?
Lack of Personalization
One way that many insurers fall down on customer service is by forgetting that their policyholders are people! Nobody wants to be treated like a number. Nearly half of customers expect their insurers to use their data to offer them more personalized services.
Over-reliance on Digital Channels
Too often, insurance companies’ efforts to manage expenses by pushing customers to use digital communication channels are counterproductive. Consider the following statistics:
- 62% of insurance buyers say talking with an agent on the phone is the most influential factor in their purchasing decisions.
- The phone call is the preferred channel for insurance customers to convert.
A Lack of Empathy and the Human Touch
A little empathy goes a long way, especially when people are contacting their insurers after a traumatic theft or loss. Your customer service agents can be your best (or worst) brand ambassadors! A good percentage of your policyholders are likely more interested in how they’re treated as individuals than they are about price.
The Art of Mastering Insurance Customer Service
Here are some strategies to consider for improving your customer experience:
Educate People about Their Contact Options
It’s vital that your customers know how to get help quickly if an issue arises, so be sure to inform them of which communication avenues you offer. For many, email, chat, or text will be acceptable for routine matters, but they’ll prefer to speak to someone directly if their issue is critical.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
The typical points of contact between insurers and their customers are initial consultations and claims-related interactions. However, continuing open lines of communication with your customers throughout the year will put you in a position to offer more individualized experiences that enhance customer retention.
Policyholders are often unaware of the new products their insurers are offering. Being proactive about sharing details of your latest products and services that might be a good fit for them adds a personalized feel to the relationship.
Focus on Clarity and Transparency
A common issue affecting customer service is that people don’t fully understand what they purchased in their policy. Too often, that’s because the language used in policy paperwork can be difficult to comprehend for someone unfamiliar with insurance terms. Use plain language wherever possible and educate customers regarding commonly misunderstood areas within their products and services. This can prevent future complaints and help you build trust with your customers.
Speak to Your Agents
If you believe your customer service levels could improve, why not involve your customer service agents? After all, they’re the ones who have direct daily contact with your customers, so they might have a better point of view or new ideas on how to enhance this area of your business.
Power Your Customer Service with Covenir
You’re working hard to build your brand and reputation by providing uniquely positive, proactive customer service. At Covenir, we understand that it’s critical to protect that investment.
Covenir makes your business our business. Our customer service teams transparently uphold your brand promise and seamlessly deliver the outstanding experience your policyholders expect.
Collaborate with us today.