With so much focus on digital transformation and tech tools, you might assume that the insurance customer experience is improving. Recent studies suggest otherwise. Policyholders are frustrated with unnecessary delays and poor communication. If you thought your insurance company’s plans were progressing well, this should be a wakeup call.
Digital Channels Overtake Calls – But Satisfaction Is Down
The J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Property Claims Satisfaction Study says that email has overtaken phone calls as the most frequently used communication method for the first time. The number of policyholders using mobile apps also increased by 19 percentage points.
Despite these advancements, claim satisfaction has fallen to a five-year low. Claims are taking too long to resolve, and claimants are frustrated when they submit photos and then find out they still have to deal with the hassle of an in-person inspection.
Technology is improving, but satisfaction isn’t. Cleary, something is missing.
Communication Is Vital
Previous studies have found the communication is an essential element of claims satisfaction. Of the qualities that McKinsey & Company identified as driving customer satisfaction, many can be linked to communication: employee courtesy; ease of communicating with the insurer; employee knowledge and professionalism; and transparency and ease of the process.
Claimants are going through an upsetting experience. They may not know what needs to happen next, and they’re often worried about the outcomes. They’re counting on their insurer to guide them through the process.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always what happens. According to a survey from Publicis Sapient, claimants are unhappy with payouts that are delayed, smaller than expected or denied, but they’re also frustrated with a lack of information about the claims progress and an inability to reach claims staff.
Of course, claimants are always going to be unhappy if they don’t get the claims outcome that they were hoping for. This is perhaps to be expected – although good communication could help set reasonable expectations.
It’s more troubling, however, that consumers are frustrated with a lack of information and the inability to reach claims staff. These issues are entirely avoidable.
Put Yourself in the Policyholder’s Shoes
Imagine your car has been stolen. You have comprehensive coverage, so it should be covered, but you need a car to get to work, and you’re worried that there will be problems. You call your insurer to report the loss, but you hang up more confused than ever. You call back later to get more information, but you can’t reach anyone. You feel like you’re getting the runaround, and you begin to wonder why you’ve been paying premiums all these years if this is the sort of service you can expect. When you finally get a payout, it’s lower than you expected, and you don’t know why. You call to ask, but once again, you can’t reach anyone.
Do you think you’re going to stay loyal to this insurance company? Probably not. Customer churn tends to increase after a claim, and it’s sometimes pretty easy to see why.
Customers pay premiums in case they ever experience a claim. When that claim happens, they want to get the service they’ve paid for.
It Starts with the FNOL
Good communication can boost claimant satisfaction, and it starts with the first notice of loss.
Policyholders shouldn’t have to worry about being put on hold forever or transferred from person to person without ever reaching anyone who can actually help. They should be able to reach knowledgeable call center representatives at any time, day or night, weekend or weekday.