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Main obstacle to better customer service: Lack of communication

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More than 80 percent of insurance claims professionals say that monitoring, evaluating and improving interactions with customers is the top claims initiative geared toward improving customer interactions, according to a new report.

Trillium Software discloses this finding in its “2013 Claims Survey: Analysis of Results.” Completed in the fourth quarter of 2013, the survey polled nearly 50 insurance claims professionals, including executives, managers and adjusters.

A majority of survey respondents also cite reducing claims cycles times as a top initiative designed to improve customer satisfaction.

“Insurers know that shortening cycle time can have a range of positive outcomes, including reduced costs or a happier policyholder when the claim is closed,” the report states. “[T]he quality of customer communication, the coverage, liability investigations and the viewing of claimed damages are crucial.

“Truly understanding how a claims department is performing depends on an insurer’s ability to fully measure whether or not best practices and protocols are being followed and where they are lacking.”

The report adds that 66 percent of respondents identify a lack of communication about the claims process as a chief obstacle to better serving the needs of customers. Fewer than half of the respondents cite other factors, including disagreement on claims decisions (50 percent) and lack of a returned phone call (over 40 percent).

More than 50 percent of survey respondents believe they can reduce costs by improving staff performance with training. The survey also identifies “improving customer service” as a cost-saving measure.

“[C]ustomers are expensive to attract and are, by most accounts, not profitable until they have been on the books for multiple years,” the report states. “By improving customer service levels across the department, you can increase retention rates and focus your efforts on attracting new business and not just replacing customers.”

Nearly 65 percent of respondents, the survey adds, have improved their customers’ experience through information-sharing. When coverage is “closed aligned to the insured,” the report notes, guiding customers through the claims process is eased.

See also:

USAA and State Farm top customer service rankings

The 6 Ds of customer service

Top 3 life insurers for consumer loyalty [infographic]


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