Smart insurance firms know that it’s absolutely imperative to provide a uniformly positive customer experience during the claims process. This is the primary reason why so many companies have dedicated additional resources toward improving their claims systems in recent years.
Without a customer-friendly claims process, insurers cede a powerful competitive advantage to their rivals. To help minimize the odds of that occurring and help shed light on the mindset of a policyholder, below we’ve outlined a step-by-step overview of the auto claims process from the perspective of a customer who has just been involved in a collision.
How a customer experiences an auto insurance claim
One differentiator between an auto collision claim and other varieties of claims is the customer’s state of mind. Auto collisions are unexpected, high-stress events that can leave policyholders in a state of confusion and anxiety or outright trauma. In order to assuage fears, insurers should immediately ensure that their customers are safe and cared for during the initial conversation. Phone representatives should also gently but firmly assume control of the process from the very beginning. In the aftermath of a collision, customers are preoccupied and unsettled, and they deeply appreciate guidance and direction.
Customer experience at the adjustment stage is equally important. It’s critical that adjusters do their best to accommodate both the schedule and preferences of the insured party. Dealing with an auto insurance claim is often a significant inconvenience for policyholders. Given the stress policyholders are under, seemingly small issues can quickly spiral into more serious concerns. One example: A customer may drive a seven-seat SUV, yet her policy may only offer enough rental coverage to pay for a compact car.
Although this might not seem like grounds for a major complaint, it’s important to consider the stress the insured party may be under. Insurers should work to resolve such situations to the client’s satisfaction. Even the most solicitous, seamless claims process can be derailed by something that begins as a relatively minor objection and is then exacerbated by the accumulated stresses of the initial incident and the claims cycle.
Even though stress and anxiety on the part of the policyholder may diminish as the claims process moves along, it’s still imperative to pay careful attention to how customers are responding during the management and resolution stage. Often the documentation requirements and other process issues can cause customers to feel overwhelmed. Insurers that make an effort to find out whether customers are feeling this way can offer assistance as needed, ensuring the customer remains satisfied through every step of the claims process.
The ability for the insurer to set expectations to ease the customer’s anxiety is critical. Insurance companies should be able to articulate how their claims process works, what each step is and the time it will take to resolve the claim. Ultimately, customers want this process to happen as easily as possible. Anything that removes the burden from the customer mitigates the risk that he or she will look elsewhere.
Improving the claims process often requires a multifront strategy that includes system modernization, implementation of user-friendly technology and a smart, customer-centered approach to customer interactions. Today’s clients expect insurers to provide integrated services and a seamless experience across every channel.
Insurers that meet those expectations by making great customer service a core strategic objective will carve out a decided advantage in the areas of customer acquisition and retention.
Elizabeth Mertz | Director of Client Services
Liz’s areas of expertise include strategic planning, account development, campaign analysis, campaign management, and franchise marketing. In addition to leading high-volume accounts at Catalyst, she’s held management positions at Vertis and Draft Worldwide.