7 Rules for Scaling Policyholder Satisfaction
It’s impossible to talk about policyholder satisfaction without acknowledging how much the game has changed in the past 15 years.
With the youngest Millennials in their mid-twenties and the oldest nearing their forties, we all know that it takes more than a logo to hold onto your customers. That’s as true in insurance as anywhere else. According to Accenture, “54% of U.S. consumers switched providers in the past year.” Talk about churn.
While older generations may stick with a brand out of sheer loyalty, Millennials and Gen Z consumers – are motivated by experience and value. When experience and value don’t deliver, they’re out.
The “loyal customer” has given way to an idea both more difficult and more promising. Now we have the catalyst customer. Catalyst customers are brand ambassadors who will spread the word, for better or for worse, based on their experiences. Make them happy, and you’ve got grassroots marketing reps. Make them mad, and your negative reputation will precede you.
That in mind, when it comes to scaling your customer interactions in a way that enhances satisfaction, retention, and your bottom line, what’s an insurer to do? Well, we have some tips for you.
- Respect their time. Forrester said 73 percent of customers “say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.” You should be using digital tools that streamline the interaction, delivering a fast, consistent experience. (Think mobile app, digital communication and online, recurring payment options.)
- Help prospects shop. For example, the first interaction in the insurer/customer relationship is about gathering info. As Chirag Kulkami at Entrepreneur said, due to “the sheer number of products available to them,” Millennial customers do “research before buying,” with 57 percent comparing prices in store before making a purchase. (Think online quoting and Direct-to-Consumer buying options.)
- Support self-serve. Furthermore, “Millennials and Gen Z consumers want … self-service,” said Jay Baer at Entrepreneur. In fact, over 80 percent of today’s customers are happy to use “digital and remote contact channels (including web chat, email, mobile apps, video or phone) in place of interacting with insurers via agents or brokers,” according to Ey Global. So make sure your communication channels are self-serve friendly. (Think mobile app and empowering website.)
- Personalize your communication. If there’s one thing that’s true about younger customers, it’s that they can’t be generalized. “Grouping an entire generation of people into one marketing demographic likely won’t give you the results you seek,” said Kulkami. Targeted communication is a good idea, in other words, and it can be circumstantial. James Brown at Property Casualty 360 gave an example: got customers in a hurricane zone? Offer those customers seasonal preparedness tips that are relevant for their location. (Think print/mail/digital communication automation.)
- Stand by to help. While targeting and streamlining may be a no-brainer – it improves customer experience and company efficiencies at the same time – this is not a “fix it and forget it” recipe. Beyond streamlined, personalized self-service, which can be automated, human responsiveness is important: “when frequently asked questions pages and troubleshooting chatbots fall short, you need to be ready to fix issues quickly and completely,” Baer said. (Think IVR and/or a 24 hour call center to accept First Notices of Loss and deploy service. Also consider push-pay instant claim payment options.)
- Be social when things go wrong. Which brings us to our next point. Younger customers don’t just raise issues via traditional channels. If you’re not monitoring social channels for complaints, a manageable fire could quickly become a conflagration. Baer said, “If you market on a platform, you also need to handle customer service on that platform.” So treat these touchpoints as an extension of your helpdesk, and designate specific departments and team members to review and answer issues there. (Think chatbot.)
- Embrace transformation. Digital transformation isn’t easy, but according to Ey research, the benefits are clear and include cost reduction, customer experience enhancement, speed to market, sales productivity, underwriting efficiency, claims efficiency.
Ready to get started? Silvervine’s suite of products can help. Ask us about our print/mail automation platform, our payments platform and our all-new mobile app for policyholders. Also be sure to download our Mobile Revolution White Paper and our Direct-to-Consumer Insurance Blueprint.