It’s rare that a customer wants to meet their insurance agent to personally thank them. But my friend’s mom Margaret is highly anticipating such a meeting. As she puts it, her insurance agent is one of the most thoughtful, understanding people she’s encountered. Margaret first spoke to her agent when a recent wind storm left my parents’ cottage without a roof, and she was distressed. This kind woman showed natural empathy and patiently guided her through what sounds like the perfect claims process. Now, Margaret calls her “just to say hello”, and to subtly glean clues on what she might like as a Christmas present. So what was it that won my friend’s mom’s heart over and turned a difficult situation into an enthusiastic relationship?
A smooth and seamless journey
One reason for her positive experience was because of how it was executed. When she found out the roof was gone, Margaret was a plane ride away. First off, her agent ensured that she knew what to do with every aspect of the claims process and how to get in touch if she had any questions. Her agent then called back the next day to suggest using her mobile to submit the paperwork. She convinced Margaret to try video conferencing so she could show her how to download the insurer’s app and check her claim using her mobile. This was very novel approach for her, but Margaret appreciated checking updates from the comfort of her sofa.
Each interaction took place through a different avenue —a phone call, an app, an online portal and a video chat. For each of interaction, the touchpoints were well-integrated and seamlessly came together so that Margaret had a series of consistent experience.
Shift your ethos from product-centric to customer-centric
My friend’s mom never felt like this agent was trying to sell her something. Instead, she felt like she had a mentor and an empathic advisor when she needed it most. From helping her navigate the website to patiently explaining how to download the insurer’s app, the agent made the path of communication easy and convenient. Each conversation provided some kind of value relevant to Margaret’s situation, and the agent made sure to meet my friend’s mom at her level. When Margaret was having issues with sending claim photos, the agent used a video conference chat to show her how to use her iPhone camera to take the phone and send it via text.
Make every interaction a positive moment of truth
My friend’s mom hadn’t called her insurance company since she bought house insurance years ago. This seems to be a common experience. In a recent Bain & Company study of German-speaking markets, more than half of the people interviewed interacted with their insurers on average less than once a year. Insurers have so few interactions with their customers that each one needs to be treated like a critical moment of truth. A “moment of truth” can be defined as an interaction that positively or negatively changes the customer’s perception of their insurer. To be able to deliver such moments, insurers can use digital tools and processes to have the flexibility to interact with customers wherever and whenever the need arises. More customer touchpoints build up more regular customer interactions. And more regular interactions lead to greater customer loyalty, but only if these interactions are positive. With each thoughtful, well-received interaction, insurers can strengthen a customer relationship, and ultimately wallet-share. Margaret’s appreciation for her agent indicates that it’s the quality of communication that determines whether a typical interaction or inquiry is elevated into a positive moment of truth.
Reach out for an uninsurable-related reason
When her agent was called away to work from a hurricane zone, she dropped Margaret a line to see how she was feeling and if she was comfortable interacting with her colleague who was covering the file in her absence. That gesture spoke volumes to Margaret. Throughout the whole process, the agent listened deeply to find ways that would make things easier for my friend’s mom. It was more than just meeting her needs in the moment. Together they are building an authentic relationship for the long haul.