Billing that surpasses expectation: 5 things you need to be doing
Published on August 1, 2017
Most property and casualty insurance executives with whom I have spoken say that insurance must be sold every YEAR. I think insurance is sold every DAY, because it’s every day that a customer is likely to interface with your company – make a phone call, open an email or an envelope, or manage their account online. Every day, a customer can be given a reason to stay loyal or to look for coverage elsewhere. It’s important to recognize that every day presents an opportunity to deliver an incredible customer experience or, conversely, a lackluster performance.
Are you doing the best you can for your customer?
Billing is the most common touchpoint that a carrier has with its customer. Therefore, a keen focus on the billing experience should be critical to all insurance carriers and MGAs. To be certain, everyone talks about how important billing is but not every insurance carrier walks the walk.
What actions should a carrier be taking to ensure that their billing promotes the greatest customer experience possible? What resources are dedicated to ensuring that EVERY SINGLE interaction is perfect?
These are important questions that no one can afford to leave unanswered. They’re also not questions that can be answered in a few sentences. Consider the following 5 actions as a calculated jumpstart to get you thinking critically about the state of your billing performance and how it effects your company.
The 3 big impact investments are software, services and people — They're intrinsically linked, require thoughtful development, and are critical components for a seamless customer journey.
INVEST: Have you invested intelligently in your servicing expertise and capabilities? Your investments could include software, services, or people, but most of the time it’s some combination of all three. As you begin the investment process make it a point to understand where each of the categories can add efficiency and differentiation to your business. Also, as I will say many times further on in this article, make your decisions customer-focused.
Software must serve the customer – make sure the customer can understand your interface easily and get things done without having to ask many questions…it’s got to be intuitive! Your servicing platform must serve the customer – don’t let the process drive the build out…administrative processes must be subordinate to the goal of serving the customer. Finally, your people must serve the customer – make sure your team is made up of subject matter experts with quick recall for the most commonly asked questions.
Oh, and on the subject of software and services…competition for your dollars has never been (and probably will never be) less intense than it is today. You don’t have to spend years and millions of dollars to create a better customer experience - anyone who tells you otherwise is probably trying to sell you millions of dollars of software and services!
ANALYZE: Your product and service metrics have an important story to tell! Big data is being used by global companies across every industry to understand and predict customer behavior. Use the team and software in which you have invested to analyze your data so that you have a good understanding of how your customers react to your products and services. Data should help you make well-informed decisions about your business.
Are you currently reacting to the story that your data is telling? Is your focus on the execution of data-driven business decisions? Anything else is merely guesswork.
MANAGE: The results of your servicing and your analytics need to be managed. You can’t simply buy expensive software and pay people a lot of money and expect better; better doesn’t come automatically or easily. Software alone won’t increase your revenue–neither will hiring people. Skilled management is what generates better results. Expert management should yield action to ensure that important changes, which come from an assessment of your customers’ needs, permeate throughout the entire organization. What steps are you taking to improve your billing offering? Are you using your findings to ensure that every customer interaction is SPECTACULAR?
You should continually Measure, Report, Predict, and Improve; this ensures the best customer experience!
ASK: Your customers know what they want. Ask them about what they’re missing. Send surveys. Call them. If you distribute your products through a retail agency network then ask your agents what they want. Make sure you understand what they don’t like about your offering. Agents are vocal and helpful resources that will give you a thorough understanding of what your service is lacking.
EDUCATE: Educate, educate, educate! Every person in your billing center has an opportunity to satisfy a customer every day–they can do this with professional, timely and accurate responses. Even the superstars who have been with your company for years will undoubtedly forget some guidelines or procedures and are therefore at risk of delivering a less than exceptional customer experience. Ongoing education is crucial for success and it’s not just for licensed professionals anymore!
This is the first of several articles which will dig more deeply into each of these items and explore how to ensure a great customer experience with a great billing option. Until then, keeping looking for ways to not just reach, but connect with your customers.