In an era of e-mail, text messages and social media, instant communication is an integral part of modern life. As such, quick and efficient communication is important for every business. Long gone are the days when customers are willing to wait long periods for a response to questions or concerns. Rather, there is an appetite for instant answers and swift resolutions. Customers are also used to having information at their fingertips, desiring only focused, relevant details. To avoid potential damage to your business reputation, taking a close look at your client communication is vital.
When Clients Contact You…
A mere 16% of people would rate their insurance companies as “excellent” when it comes to being contactable. 32 % consider their providers “good”; leaving a worrying 52% who feel that their insurance company is not as easy to contact as it should be.[i] In the event of a crisis, policyholders need to get in touch with their insurers quickly and efficiently. 73% of customers indicate that they would be likely to look for another provider if they did not receive consistent good service across all aspects of their experience. [ii] It is clear that if policyholders don’t receive the service they expect then they will leave and they may also damage the reputation of the company as they go. With social media and online reviews allowing instantly visible complaints, the possibility for reputation damage after poor service is all too real. On the other hand, insurance companies that respond well to attempts to contact them are likely to benefit from excellent client retention as well as positive reviews from their customers.
There are a number of ways that insurance companies can offer customers an efficient means of contact. These include:
· Responding to e-mails without delay.
· Having multiple people working in call centres, so that clients do not have long waits before speaking to a customer service advisor.
· Where an automated service directs customers to the right department the process should be clear and simple.
· Online advisors offering an instant messaging service can be a good alternative method of client contact.
Aim for swift resolutions
Once a client has established communication with your company, the quicker their problem can be resolved, the better. Reports suggest that 62% of customers complain that it takes more than two tries to get an issue fixed with their insurer. [iii] Develop a smooth claims process and complaints procedure so that customers do not have to contact you repeatedly to resolve a problem. Communicate with the client regularly to keep them up-to-date with proceedings.
Empathise in a crisis
As well as ensuring that protocols for swift and efficient communication are in place, it is also vital that the way your advisors communicate is appropriate to the circumstances. Many of the company interactions with clients will be under times of great stress for the customer. The customer will remember a friendly reassuring voice (and will also remember an uncaring, unsympathetic one). A specialist recruitment agency such as Aston Charles will be able to find job candidates with experience in the insurance industry as well as a customer service specialism, able to communicate well with clients in an hour of crisis.
When You Contact Your Clients…
Back to basics
Remember that your clients are not usually insurance professionals. Wading through pages of complex legal speak may result in under-insuring and missing key details, as well as causing frustration. Ensure that any communications include language that can be understood by the general public.
Contact clients with offers that will be relevant to them. No customers want to see huge piles of irrelevant junk mail. Data analysis tools are widely available that can help you to collate the information given by a customer and analyse it to see what the client may most need; is a child reaching the age of 17 and requiring car insurance? Do regular holidays mean that your client may benefit from a multi-holiday travel insurance? Do crime statistics for the area suggest that your client may need up-to-date information on home insurance? Contact that is timely and relevant will be appreciated by clients. Contact that is excessive and irrelevant will frustrate clients.
Remember Your Reputation is on the Line
Satisfied clients translate into client retention, multiple product purchases and a healthy reputation. It is of primary importance to ensure that clients can contact you quickly and easily in the case of an emergency, issue or complaint. In addition, make sure that your communication with them is relevant, helpful and understandable. In this way you will boost your reputation for service and reliability, benefiting your company name.
[i] Lucy Hook. 2018. Insurance industry "falling well short" when it comes to 'contactability' | Insurance Business . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/breaking-news/insurance-industry-falling-well-short-when-it-comes-to-contactability-92093.aspx. [Accessed 01 March 2018].
[ii] Lucy Hook. 2018. Insurance industry "falling well short" when it comes to 'contactability' | Insurance Business . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/breaking-news/insurance-industry-falling-well-short-when-it-comes-to-contactability-92093.aspx. [Accessed 01 March 2018].
[iii]Paul Lucas. 2017. Customer satisfaction in insurance: Good, but not good enough | Insurance Business . [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/breaking-news/customer-satisfaction-in-insurance-good-but-not-good-enough-59500.aspx. [Accessed 01 March 2018].