Putting communication at the heart of the claims journey
Nobody enjoys making an insurance claim.
It can often mean lots of paperwork, stressful phone calls and, sometimes, a long period of uncertainty.
While most claims can be resolved quickly and easily, the reality is that some can take months or even years to resolve.
When you consider the number of different stars that need to align for things to run smoothly, it is perhaps unsurprising that achieving a consistently high quality of customer service can be challenging.
Poor communication is often at the heart of customer complaints, which can include difficulties reaching a representative, long wait times and delays in updates.
Caroline Findlay is managing director of Rapid Relocate, specialists in the claim management of alternative accommodation solutions, and she believes that putting communication front and centre of the process alleviates many of the stresses associated with making an insurance claim.
She said: “Making an insurance claim, no matter how large or small, can be stressful at the best of times but when that claim necessitates finding alternative accommodation, there is no doubt that this can certainly increase anxiety levels.
“When customers come to us, it is vital that we are able to provide them with the reassurance they are looking for – whether we are providing accommodation for a few nights or potentially a much longer period.
“The nature of our business means our customers can experience the acute stress of the moment as well as more chronic stress over the longer term. We must carefully manage their expectations at every stage and providing the necessary information when they need it is crucial.
“There can undoubtedly be challenges, particularly for those who are in need of mid-term accommodation in the self-catering market, so ensuring continuity in customer service is an important part of reassuring customers that they have a point of contact should a problem arise.”
For Caroline, good communication will mean different things to different customers – the more tech savvy will already be researching available accommodation at the same time as making a claim, whereas other customers will be looking for more hands-on support.
“It is a blended solution,” she said. “An email or text message will often be a sufficient way to keep customers up to date but ensuring that we have the right internal structures in place so that our handlers have the capacity to provide that personal touch, over the phone, at a time when it is most needed is a vital part of the service that we offer.
“We are seeing some really exciting innovations in technology, tools and automation that can make our processes more efficient and, in turn, that allows us to do more to ensure our customers are feeling connected and fully informed.”
Emma Bazard, strategic client lead for Restore Digital, which has developed the digital Pulse platform for the claims management industry, said that increased automation across the claims management journey can often lead to better communication outcomes for customers.
She said: “The secret of success for any business is getting the best out of your resources and this is no different for the claims management industry.
“Technology can help by providing the tools to deliver the best outcome for the customer in the most efficient way possible.
“Inefficiency is not just about the time it takes to carry out a certain process, but it is also about whether that person’s time is being used in the best way. Could those skills be utilised at a different point in the claims process?
Workflow automation can remove many of the manual steps in the claims journey, often optimising existing processes rather than creating something completely new.
By using innovative software, businesses can free-up claims handlers to focus on the more skilled elements of the process, as Emma explains:
“The reality is that as many as half the people who make a claim won’t want to talk, they will just want to get the process completed as quickly as possible and workflow automation can help to achieve that – claims can move through the system quickly and efficiently without any human intervention.
“In doing this, skilled handlers are then available to provide the hands-on service that other customers with more complex claims might need.
“It is well established that retaining existing customers is far easier than winning new ones so providing a seamless claims journey with communication at its heart makes great business sense.”