How we interact in the digital age has become more important than ever. Technology platforms have undeniably increased efficiencies in placing business however the human element and connection is becoming a lost art form. How do we, as the participants watching the way we work evolve, step in to ensure that automation does not equate into agents and their insureds being left to deal with automated bots to service their needs, undermining the overall client experience?
Simple, keep your client at the center of how you create or improve processes and enhance your technology. We should be looking at our customer’s experience in the following touch points: Client Center Focus, Personal Connection, look at each interaction as a collaborative partnership instead of a transaction, Does the technology we use help or hurt the experience, and Adaptability.
Are you doing your best to provide the best experience possible for your clients? Do you build processes to make their life easier, or yours? When issues arise, is the priority resolution to the maximum satisfaction of the client – or the path of least resistance? If you answer no to any of these questions, it is time to reevaluate the why in what you are doing.
What did your last few interactions with clients look like? Are they all cold and transactional? Is the underlying tone, gimmie, gimmie, gimmie? Do you respond well to that approach and would you go the extra mile if you knew this is what lies on the other end of the line? I am sure not. We are a social bunch by nature, and it is natural to want to build a conversation that shows the care goes beyond the deal currently on the table. Know your clients, what they are looking for and need out of you. Whether it be pricing, response time or relationship, we should know what solution we are providing and why it is important to them.
Collaborate and build a relationship with your clients that is one you would want to be a part of, if you were them. Is it easier to work through an issue by picking up the phone instead of going back and forth via email? If you even must pause to think about this, pick up the phone. Our clients are our partners. Truly caring about solving a problem or making your client’s life easier is key to nurturing the relationships we have spent our careers developing. We have found that finding opportunities to compliment our partners only serves for good on all sides. Increased satisfaction in our current business together and even more new opportunities to explore in the future.
Does Our Technology Help or Hinder?
How our customers consume is important. If we create enhancements to how we work but we serve ourselves first, what message is that sending? We care about you less than we care about our business.
Due to the recent health climate around the globe, we all know firsthand what it was like to be thrust into a world where we could no longer separate our work and home lives. The work from home (WFH) environment has become normalized in the last year and with that, many challenges have surfaced. In many ways, technology helped the transition to WFH but the frustrations of not being a “tech” person or having to reset your password for the third time in a row can make anyone question how confident they are in their skills. In these moments, adhering to a strict internal process may be a final straw for someone.
Adapt. Email the document, request the pricing, and solve the problem at hand, then fix the root cause of the issue with the client to alleviate future frustrations. Do the technology platforms you provide make doing business with you easier? For who? If your client is spending more of their time to save yours then I can assure you that you are losing out on opportunities.
We also must be cognizant of whether automating processes allows for flexibility. Deadlines can pop up out of nowhere and if an automated process makes processing requests a ten-day lead-time, how do we accommodate our client when the need and urgency is very real. These should be top considerations when creating or improving our technology/service offerings to our clients and we can identify opportunities to enhance the overall customer service experience by simply asking yourself, what solutions do we bring to the table for our clients?
Similar to technology, our ability to adapt to industry and situational changes is key to keeping client satisfaction as high as possible. Knowing the market and how it impacts not only your business, but your client’s business, is key. We often find that many of our clients have specialized in a few niche markets and focus time and energy in getting that business on their books. What happens when those lines or industries become harder to place? Are you on the forefront of helping with that change and are you able to pivot quickly to accommodate? We are only as useful as the solutions we bring to our clients. “I don’t know” or “We can’t/won’t do that” is closing the door to your partner and their experience with you.
We cannot let increased efficiencies and process automation boost our bottom line and kill the customer experience. Each client touch is an opportunity to build something greater than a single bind. Care about the challenges your clients face and find opportunities to engage and bring solutions to those problems.
We are all experiencing the same treatment on different levels as technology around the world evolves. Empathize with this fact and consciously make choices to enhance each interaction. Engage in how you are serving your clients, what is working or not working, and how they are responding. Make the necessary tweaks when the personal connection is getting lost. Spend time creating an environment that is efficient and human, to the benefit for not only your clients but for yourself and your company as well.