As someone who sells directly into the insurance industry, attends a lot of industry trade shows, and spends a lot of time researching and staying on top of what’s coming next for the insurance business, I was thinking how seldom we, as businesses, take a step back and reflect on just being an insurance customer.
Like most, I have insurance for my car, house, and even a business policy for my side DJ company. Also, like most, I don’t interact with the insurance companies I do business with very often; I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid needing to file a claim since having a fender bender in my mid-twenties. Usually I interact with my insurance company at the time of a policy renewal or some other type of billing event.
Reflecting back on these personal experiences with insurance companies, the most glaring area for improvement where my insurance company could have a better relationship with me, would be during welcome & onboarding. I believe this is a critical point where you (the insurance company) sets the foundation for all future dealings with your new business partner – your customer.
We’ve all heard the expression, “you never get a second chance at a first impression” and this is certainly the case in regards to the first impression given to a new policyholder who has decided to give you their business.
So, how does an insurance company start off right by leaving the best impression possible on a customer? Well, the first step is to know you customer. If your customers are like me, then target solutions to address new policy holders. If your customers feel the most pain in their dealings with you during the claims process, however, then you need to solve that step in their journey with you.
Regardless of where you reach customers who need an improved experience, you will want to make sure you keep in mind, these 3 customer-centric steps:
- Thank them EMPHATICALLY. You know how much choice people have when it comes to buying insurance. Even with all the other companies out there, they decided to put their money and trust in YOU. Don’t fall short in thanking the customer for this trust over every available channel. If they gave you an email address, email them. Phone number? Give them a call. A mobile number and permission for SMS? Shoot them a text. No one, ever, changed carriers because they were over-thanked for their business.
- Gather channel preference early and often. We all know how the people we care about us most prefer to be communicated with. Mom loves a call, and the teenaged daughter only responds to text, etc. By the same token, if someone needs to be communicated with, there is no excuse not to understand your customers’ channel preference as well. Ask for channel preference at the time of the policy and on the registration page of your online portal or mobile app. so that your customers know you care and understand them.
- Clearly outline your available channels. Even if the customer does not choose to take advantage of the new communication channels that are available for them to interact on, it’s important that they know these channels are available. The more frequently and clearly these channels are presented, the better.
Effective onboarding and claims processing are foundational steps in providing a positive customer experience. By making insureds feel valued and understood - while learning how they prefer to be communicated with, insurers can set the stage for an exceptional customer experience that keeps customer connected with your brand – and less likely to leave.