A book I read said a while back, “Good to Great”. How you go from being a good company to excelling in everything you do One of the major differences is customer service: it’s easy to spot a company with great customer service and where it’s mediocre Is or even after it. With social media helping to make / break a reputation, loss of reputation can come at the speed of light.
This loss of reputation can result from many aspects –
wrong handling of a claim during a catastrophe, time to service, mistakes made as a part of billing … the list is long here. This can easily lead to a DEFCON 1 type of brand crisis. Carriers are in the process of recognizing the value of great customer service.
Now, I called out issues that could cause a loss of reputation, however, a carrier’s reputation could be enhanced by a stronger strategy around customer service. There are many stories you may not have heard, where carriers would go the extra mile to ensure policy holders’ interest and then complete due diligence at the first end. It can also land you on unstable ground with how much is enough without exposing you to volatile financial and regulatory risks.
Talking about the regulator, the insurance business has become very transparent and concise –
products, coverage, limits, prices, etc. are the same across the board and it is incurred by the use of web-based aggregators to obtain quotes for individual lines has been done.
It is a game based on prices and customer service. Customer service here is timely arrival / departure, baggage handling, automatic handling of delayed / missed flights etc. In fact, an airline in the US is starting to get away with it and is starting to add as well as improve customer service. Some moderate prices rise with the expectation that customers will be willing to pay a little extra to behave better. The industry is watching and this could be another change in this industry.
You see where I am going with this
Carriers compete on prices until margins are thin; However, following a similarly regulated industry, customer service can vary to ensure that customers remain engaged and loyal. In general, most industries view pundit insurance as a minimal touch, low engagement, seamless vertical, where advertising is profitable as opposed to the service offered.
AM Best and JD Powers are one of the best ways for market leaders and lagards to explore premium growth and expense ratios. In some quick data analysis, we noticed that leaders had a DWP increase of 6–8% while Laggards were in the 3% range. In addition, the average expense ratio for leaders was in the 22–24% range and the competition was above the 2–4% mark. The data becomes very interesting as Cynouble is involved with many of these projects at various stages and some recommendations that we have made in the past and the current project have a positive impact on development and expenses.
Changing the tracks a bit, there was a good discussion happening with our internal leadership team about the customer experience and a program we did a few years ago called “Return on Digital” (ZenROD). We go in and talk to customers about how their digital presence can strengthen and we also need to eat our dogfood. A prime example is an internal app we created named ZenVerse – here the entire organization can send notes to our CEO with a vase or brick-stone and he responds to them. Talking to the team in the trenches, they like this direct conversation with the chief executive. In surveys, this and other initiatives have increased the satisfaction of our own colleagues. We eat our dogfood.
One of the things that senior leaders need is a model of exemplary and essential vision within the organization. This is not free coffee or ice cream; It is good and powerful, but what is required is the institutionalization of customer satisfaction from the ground up. These can be incentives to be collegial with customers, knowing the details of all their policies (personal, agricultural, commercial etc.) before engaging with them and ensuring their needs are met before ensuring the transaction (as next Noted in the bullet) However, what is important is that brand promise across all channels is even more important.
Key Performance Indicators
Customer-centric process improvements will often improve operational efficiencies, but considering the need for institutional investment, the articulation of cost-benefit analysis will help guide decision-making. Most carriers use either the top-down or bottom-up approach to make decisions and both have drawbacks.