In today’s totally connected world, consumers expect immediate answers
One of the most annoying customer service issues facing carriers today is the rather mundane issue of timing. When policies and other documents are sent to insureds, they’re also sent to the agents who represent them, but due to the vagaries of the postal service, insureds sometimes receive the paper before their agents.
If they then have a question about the document and call the agent for an answer, the embarrassed agent has to say, “I don’t know. I haven’t received my copy yet.”
Consumers expect better than that in today’s connected world.
Consider the history of customer/agent communication: One hundred years ago, if insureds had questions about their policies, they would send letters to the company and be satisfied if they got an answer in the mail within a week. Fifty years ago, they would call the carrier, pose their question and expect a call back that day.
Twenty years ago, they would expect their question to be answered while they were on the phone, although they’d understand if they had to be transferred or put on hold. Now, consumers expect the person who answers the phone to be able to access the information they need to answer the question.
How can carriers ensure that agents always have the relevant documents before their customers do? There are a couple of technology options that can deliver the goods on time.
Most carriers have a policy administration system that manages the information about customers and their coverage. These systems do a great job of keeping track of all the information about the policies, but they don’t always provide the kind of printed output the carrier requires. The carrier may want to alter the system’s output for any number of reasons:
o Print on both sides of the paper.
o Convert the output to something that can be run on a high-speed printer for large volumes.
o Add personalized marketing messages to their customer communications.
o Add charts or graphs to make statements easier to understand.
o Simply change the layout of the information.
The technology used to alter the output of policy administration and other back-office computer systems is called document composition software. It is a fairly new class of solutions that emerged from the confluence of several older, more established types of technology.
Document composition evolved from these by taking subsets of each of their functionalities and adding the ability to include specific information–unique to each document–on the fly.