As the phrase ‘Customer-centricity’ shows no signs of slowing down, I recently caught up with Richard Poole, Head of AustralianSuper account at TAL Life to see what this means for the Claims industry. He explained:
“We’ve taken on a very customer-centric view across our entire business. The customer is at the forefront of everything we do; our processes, our policies and our products and most importantly in all of the personal interactions with our customers, or our service.”
The 4 key streams to focus on:
- Build relationships with your customers
Knowing our clients well means we can understand what products they actually want and need. We then also have a better understanding of how can we satisfy that need while still being efficient and cost effective. It’s about looking for the win-win.
- Building a relationship is relatively straightforward when dealing with our direct customers, because we have a connection with them from day one. From the first contact we establish that relationship directly, and it stays all the way through the life of that customer. Hopefully, for their sake it won’t result in a claim, but if it does, they’ve got a consistent experience with us all the way through.
- With Retail customers (adviser-driven), the relationship is generally owned by a financial adviser. So we may not get involved with these customers until the time when a claim needs to be made. Our role here is to manage the process as quickly and simply as possible, supporting the client’s relationship with the advisor.
- It can be harder to build a relationship with our Group customers, because their insurance comes packaged with their superannuation. Similarly to Retail customers, our role generally comes into play when they need to make a claim on their policy. This is when we have the opportunity to build a relationship, by providing support through a difficult time.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve been working on those relationships to identify how we streamline that process and establish strong direct links to the customer.
Ideally, the customer will be able to make one phone call, or submit a claim through one channel, preferably with us, while we can keep all other interested parties informed in real-time.
- Clearer communications
The key issue around product is always going to come from the terms and conditions, and the wording of those products.
We’ve come a long way in the last few years to have more plain English in our products, with the days of fine print and ambiguous wording well gone. The key is to make it as easy as possible for the customer to understand exactly what they’re buying, and to help them understand under what circumstances they can make a claim on that policy. It’s also our responsibility to make sure the policy has very clear entry and eligibility rules, to ensure the validity of a claim is unambiguous for claims assessors.
Plain language cuts down on confusion and miscommunication between the customer and ourselves. Everybody knows exactly what’s expected of them, and there shouldn’t be any surprises.
- Provide a seamless experience
Wherever possible, our processes are agnostic to the channel. We try to build in as much automation into those processes as we can while retaining the flexibility to ensure we’re managing exceptions and preserving the customer experience.
Standardise as much as you can, keep your claims process system updated and keep refining it. We’re currently on Year One of a three-year project to build our new claims system into the business. It’s bringing in another level of automation, including being able to segment claims into the appropriate areas of complexity.
- Add value
The next step in modern claims processing is to begin to add value to the customer to assist their return to wellness. The way we’re doing that now is by really focusing on the customer and their needs very early on. It’s that move from reactive to proactive, and being there right from the start of the journey.