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Six Rules for Delivering a Superior Customer Service

By Graham Newman, Product Marketing Manager

In a previous blog, I looked at the top 5 claims challenges for Life, Accident and Health Insurers. In this one I shall take a closer look at the first challenge: how to deliver a superior customer service that meets rapidly changing consumer demands.

The ‘Claim’ is the ‘Product’ that the policy-holder or group customer actually bought. So the delivery of excellent service when dealing with a claim is critical to brand value, reputation and market share. During a disability claim, the claimant is in some form of distress; their work life and health disrupted. The quality of assistance they get during the claims process is critical to the way they view the insurer.

Customer expectations have never been higher and their expectations for improved service are set by their personal experiences with customer-centric businesses that provide immediacy, transparency, personalisation and communication.

What is excellence in customer service?
It may be very glib to talk about ‘excellence’ in customer service without actually committing yourself to being clear on precisely what this means. Simply put, excellent customer service is giving your customers what they want and need, not what is merely convenient for you to give them. It has also come to include going beyond customers’ current expectations by including service that surprises and delights them. In detail, this entails not only aspirations, but a number of specific activities:

1. Know your customer
2. Keep them informed
3. Serve them quickly
4. Provide them with access
5. Build trust
6. Give advice and guidance

1. Know your customer
Of all types of insurance claims, life and health claims are the most personal. By knowing your customer and demonstrating sensitivity in dealing with diagnosis, treatments, recovery periods, managing independence and return to work, an insurer can add real value to its customers.

2. Keep them informed
Communication is the basis of a sound relationship with your customer. By keeping your claimant or HR department informed at all stages of the decision process you alleviate stress and enable them to plan for their future.

3. Serve them quickly
Your claimant is in need and so your responses should be fast, timely and professional at all times. You must have immediate access to the answers they need.

4. Provide them with access
With consumer expectations at an all-time high you have to be accessible to your claimant at every stage, and give them the choice of how they wish to interact with you.

5. Build trust
Trust is vital and will come through transparency. The claimant or HR administrator needs to know where the process is, what decisions you have made and why you have made them.

6. Give advice and guidance
The further you can go beyond merely providing compensation, the greater your value will be in the eyes of the customer. By giving expert advice and support and providing service beyond just the contractual obligations, you can aid in recovery and make a real difference to the claimant’s experience.

By providing these services, the claims operation becomes a competitive differentiator providing real competitive advantage. It brings with it:

o Stronger reputation
o Enhanced brand value
o Customer advocates
o Fewer complaints

In a high quality service environment, both sides win – customers get better levels of service and insurers get higher retention rates and better conversions.

The FINEOS Claims system is aligned with each these imperatives and will help you provide a superior customer service. Learn more here.