We’ve all been disappointed at different times in our lives — it’s what we do with that disappointment that shows what type of person or business we are. If we are the source of the disappointment, how do
we rectify the situation? Do we make excuses, find a solution or just ignore the
situation and hope it will go away?
Customers are usually unhappy because someone delivered less than they
promised, less than the customer expected, or less than what was required of the
situation. Technology has significantly impacted customers’ expectations. They
expect to be able to communicate through multiple channels — via a smartphone
app, computer, email, text or even over the phone. They want their information
24/7 and they want the work done faster than ever before.
For insurers this means adapting to and using new technology to meet or
hopefully exceed their customers’ expectations. Failure to do so will probably
result in the customer going elsewhere for service.
This applies to everything from simple auto claims to complex environmental
or workers’ comp claims. Communication is one of the most important aspects
of customer service — keeping the insured abreast of what is happening
with a claim, providing information to expedite the recovery, advising of any
complications or delays, and communicating via the insured’s preferred channel.
Addressing a customer’s disappointment provides a company with an
opportunity to shine. Sometimes it’s something as simple as a phone call to see
why the individual is dissatisfied. Other times it may involve thinking outside of
the proverbial box to solve the problem. But in a world where customer service
frequently takes a back seat, and accurate and honest communication can
be hard to find, making an effort to effectively solve a problem can mean the
difference between keeping a customer or losing him to the competition.
Occasionally I hear from readers who take issue with something we’ve run
in the magazine or online. If they’ve included a phone number in the email,
I’m extremely likely to just pick up the phone and call them. Not to defend our
position on a story, but because I genuinely want to hear what they have to say.
(Yes, they are usually very surprised to hear from me.) What is the problem?
Did we take something out of context? Did we miss something? We want to
get it right every time, but if we miss the mark, listening to our customers is the
best way to improve. We value our readers and want to make sure they aren’t
To make sure we’re covering what you want to read, we’ll be doing a reader
survey later on this month. If you get the survey, please take the time to
respond. If you don’t get one, but have some things to share, drop me a line at
Patricia L. Harman, Editor-in-Chief