It’s important not to underestimate the necessity of a well-established, exceptional service for selling insurance policies. However, there is also a clear need for a claims service with the same high quality standards to match. FNOL (First Notification Of Loss) represents a window of opportunity to improve customer satisfaction during the claims process. Currently, just 64% of customers report feeling more at ease after the first stage of reporting a claim so there is clearly some room for improvement where the claims process is concerned.
Stress management and customer perception
Recent research identified that customers link management of stress surrounding making a claim to their perception of the entire process of making that claim. The FNOL is often a difficult time for the person making the claim. It doesn’t matter whether the claim is large or small it is still frequently emotionally upsetting and can be a situation in which the insured feels incredibly vulnerable. A recent JD Power Property Claims Satisfaction Study found that there were two key factors that could determine how customers felt about the entire claims process:
1. The way that the customer is dealt with during the claim process
2. How at ease the customer felt after submitting the claim
Improving the process of FNOL
There are a number of different influences that can determine how a customer feels after they have made a claim. These include:
- Understanding. Whether a clear and concise summary of the claims process was given to the customer
- Realism. Did the insurer company provide a realistic timeline that made sense to the customer?
- Making time. Was the insured rushed through the process or was time taken to ensure that all the questions they asked were full answered?
- Going forward. Whether a clear series of next steps was provided so that the customer knew exactly what needed to happen after the call
The importance of empathy
Empathy has relevance to claim not just in the way that customers are dealt with but also in terms of the way that the process is structured to enable them to move forward with a claim. For example, the more a customer is able to achieve during an initial call, the more satisfied they are likely to feel with the claims process as a whole. This more empathetic approach could be, for example, expanding an existing FNOL process to include offering details on coverage and deductibles or coordinating an estimate. Doing this can boost loyalty and a more considered approach is incredibly effective - satisfaction rates are up to three times higher where that first initial call provides the opportunity to understand the claim process, establish a robust timeline and set out the next steps involved.
The events that usually lead up to a claim tend to be unnerving and unpredictable. No one can foresee a natural disaster, fire or break in and so customers are often making contact immediately after experiencing a very difficult situation. That requires a response that not only demonstrates compassion and empathy but which also puts forward a solution that can be adapted as the claim evolves. A rigid approach, avoiding questions – or asking too many – as well as a lack of empathy can all damage potential customer satisfaction and loyalty.
An effective approach to selling policies goes hand in hand with a robust and empathetic quality claims procedure. Together, the two can significantly improve the service that customers receive – and the level of satisfaction they experience as a result.