Personalized Customer Service Increases Policyholder Satisfaction - Even When You're Being Sold to

A couple weeks ago I had to call up my insurance carrier because I purchased a second car and needed to have them underwrite the vehicle.  Sadly, I dreaded calling my carrier because my assigned agent is no longer at the firm, forcing me to call the general 800 number. 

All that was going through my mind is that the CSR is not going to know me and most likely will treat me like any other Tom, Dick or Harry (sorry if your name is one of these three).  But to my surprise, the CSR that was located outside of Pittsburgh (I reside in Boston), and provided an impeccable customer experience.  What impressed me the most were two things: First, she didn’t ask me useless vehicle information questions.  Herb Chambers (the car dealer) contacted the carrier (most likely a Boston office), and this lady in Pittsburgh quickly brought up the VIN #, model, make, etc. to underwrite and quote my new car.  Secondly, after creating a new policy, she thanked me for trusting them to be the carrier for my home, catastrophe and, most importantly, my prized possession; my 2012 Harley Davidson Road Glide Custom. 

She not only had a complete view of who I was as an existing policyholder, but also was alerted to inform me that my Harley was not covered under my catastrophe insurance and politely asked if I minded if she could go ahead and include the new car and the motorcycle under that policy.  Of course I said yes.  Typically I hate being cross-selled to, but when it’s in the right context it doesn’t feel like you been sold to; it feels like you are being catered to with personalized high-quality service.  The net net: I am amazed that some lady, on the other side of an 800 number, in Pennsylvania, understood, anticipated and predicted my needs. 

That is how you increase policyholder satisfaction.

In a world where customers increasingly regard insurance products as commodities, delivering a tailored, efficient purchase experience is crucial to both acquiring and retaining customers. In the insurance industry, customer advocacy — the perception that the carrier does what is best for its policyholders and not just the bottom line — remains the best predictor of customer loyalty and retention. Because the process of buying a policy is often the customer’s first interaction with a carrier, it is a defining moment and significantly influences their perception of the carrier’s brand, service levels and value.

New business acquisition can be complex due to multiple product lines, extensive regulations and the need for large amounts of verifiable information from systems of record and third-party systems. The complexity of the process is compounded by organization around product lines, resulting in product- focused acquisition interactions vs. customer-centric dialogues.  This is why predictive modeling is becoming such a hot topic in Insurance.  Insurance customers need a glass ball to differentiate on service.  In fact, Deloitte comments in their 2013 Property and Casualty Insurance Industry Outlook, “Predictive modeling and advanced analytics are also becoming more prominent on insurers’ radar, as a prolonged period of low interest rates and subsequent anemic returns highlight a critical mandate for increased underwriting excellence.  Predictive modelling capabilities and advanced analytics could be instrumental in a carrier’s quest to differentiate themselves through enhanced customer experience with better policy administration, targeted marketing, pricing, claims servicing, and fraud control.”

If you are interested in learning more about combining analytics with underwriting I invite you to listen to a recent webinar presented by my colleague Tom Harrington titled, “Supercharging Profitable Growth: Using Analytics to Drive Underwriting Automation”.  Click here to listen.