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Creating a customer-centric culture is crucial to remaining competitive and growing businesses. In this article, we consider the steps you can take to place the customer at the heart of your claims culture and enhance customer experience.
Introducing technologies which allow for instant purchasing, speedy issue resolution and gives customers control of their time has changed the face of insurance. Customer expectations continue to grow. For claims, enhancing customer satisfaction has meant a wholesale rethink on how to deliver what the customer wants.
A bias towards cost reduction and being heavily process-driven has left little room for the innovation needed to improve the customer experience. However, claims leaders have realised a cultural shift is required. Creating a customer-centric culture is crucial to remaining competitive and growing businesses.
The role of leadership in transforming the claims culture
To compete in a market being transformed by technological change, leaders must foster a culture of innovation. This may look like an environment which allows for fast decision making and a willingness to embrace new ways of working. Additionally, insurers must identify their customers’ needs and develop products and services based on them rather than business-driven development.
As a claims leader, it is imperative to create a strategy with the customer at its core, which also aligns with overall business goals and objectives. Then, clearly communicate your vision and its purpose with your staff and the wider business.
TIP: Your employees must understand what you’re trying to achieve and believe it is possible to achieve it.
Your board may consider making a senior leader responsible for driving cultural change. However, the management team as a whole must exhibit behaviours which support the change and take responsibility to communicate the vision throughout the process.
TIP: Putting in place a change management programme is likely to increase the chance of the successful implementation of new technologies and reinforce cultural change.
If you're trying to introduce change in your organisation, you're going to come up against resistance. And while acceptance isn't going to happen overnight, it is possible to change some behaviours in a relatively short time. Don't expect people to change their beliefs and behaviours all at once. Start with the key factors which will make the most impact and engage your staff with them. It's much easier for people to understand and take on board small changes than have to deal with a total change of approach.
For example, if you have an overall objective of reducing claims handling times, start with streamlining back end processes using automation. Then stagger the introduction of claims management software, digital first notification of loss and automated claims settlement.
You’ll have to make some changes to internal processes and structure to reinforce the change you’re trying to create. For example, your rewards system will need to recognise and reward improvements in customer satisfaction. You may have to re-evaluate your organisational structure and make sure the customer is represented throughout the department.
TIP: By creating a customer experience committee or making someone responsible for driving customer satisfaction will ensure the customer is always placed at the heart of the business. It’ll help keep the customer at the centre of why you’re making changes.
Promoting a culture of innovation is a valuable way of encouraging your staff to embrace change. Put mechanisms in place to allow your team to work together on projects and move away from silo working. Creativity and innovation will escalate when people bounce ideas off each other in a non-judgemental environment. Integrate your IT department with the rest of claims to improve communication and understanding between technical capabilities and customer and business needs.
TIP: Put in place a mechanism to reward staff for innovative ideas which have a positive effect on the business.
Considering the digital journey from a customer point of view is critical
To truly change your culture and enhance customer satisfaction, you need to know precisely what your customers experience when they make a claim. Map out the customer journey, identify touchpoints and obstacles that they may run into. For example, is it difficult to contact your claims handlers by phone? Get into the customer mindset and understand what pleases or frustrates them during their interactions with you. Continually look to make changes to improve their experience.
You also need to know what they expect to experience. There is no point in investing in technology that doesn’t improve your customer journey. Solicit feedback from your customers to make sure you are providing what they want. For example, you may be using social media as a primary communication channel when your customers prefer email or chat contact.
Establishing a claims culture which enhances customer experience is crucial to ensuring your organisation differentiates itself in a competitive market. Claims is the service you are offering your customers; it’s where the value of paying insurance premiums is realised and where loyalty is built. Therefore, providing your customers with an enhanced digital experience needs to be a core component of your overall strategy.
Why don’t you join us at TIN Digital Claims 2020 to find out how technology and data can help deliver strategic value in claims?