Many insurers recognize the need for consistent customer communications. Since insurers have a variety of customer-facing employees and business partners that interact with policyholders, it is vital that the insurer’s brand is well represented and that the communications are accurate and effective. The focus on the customer experience is shining a new light on customer documents and communications since they are important contributors to the overall customer experience.
There are four ways that insurers can promote good and consistent customer communications for all of their customer-facing resources:
Insurers have recently been establishing senior executives with overall responsibility for the customer. Alternately, some have put together cross- functional teams whose charter it is to view the company from the customer’s perspective. These executives and teams should review the customer communications that the company and its representatives have had with customers over time, and assess how these communications can be accomplished more efficiently and have a more positive impact on the customer experience. Doing audits or reviews on a regular basis (quarterly or semi-annually) will provide a snapshot of the documents, correspondence, and other communications that an average customer would see or be a part of. Standards should be established and guidelines put in place for what software to use.
Common software platform:
It is not uncommon for an insurer to have multiple software systems for generating documents. Insurers may use basic MS word, legacy composition tools, or manual approaches to create content for communications. One of the most important steps an insurer can take to ensure a consistent process among front-line personnel is to provide a single common software platform for the creation of customer communications. Migrating to a single platform makes is easier to enforce standards, manage templates and content, and train users.
Template design and management:
Designing and managing templates for letters, statements, and other documents are key elements needed to support customer-facing resources as they communicate with policyholders and members. A modern system that provides sophisticated authorizations and workflows allows subject-matter experts in each area of the business to create standard, approved content. This may include logo placement and branding elements managed by marketing, text blocks managed by legal and compliance individuals, e-signatures created and maintained by departmental areas, or rules to trigger specific coverages or claims language managed by the appropriate individuals. The ability to create, change, and manage these communications components is required to ensure brand consistency, compliance, and effective communications.
Training and usability:
It is important to put the right tools, processes, and content in place to enable the creation of customer communications. But the final and crucial step is to train customer-facing employees to leverage these new capabilities. Having a customer communications platform that is designed for business users makes this step easier and much more likely to succeed. Making them aware of the standard templates and the available content to take advantage of also improves the chances that they will really get the most out of the system – and helps to enhance the consistency and accuracy of communications.
Mark Breading, SMA Partner