There is a great deal of focus on speed and simplicity in the claim process due in part to the findings of both the Property and Auto Claim studies conducted by J.D. Power. The most progressive claim operations are starting to fully embrace the idea that creating a simplified process that can settle a claim quickly will drive better customer experience. What is not yet fully understood, however, is that speed and simplicity aren’t quite enough.
Speed and simplicity are critical, but I would add one additional component, transparency, as the third leg of the customer experience stool. Transparency occurs when the carrier is providing an open environment that is proactive, highly accurate, and clearly communicated to their customers. Basically, the customer:
- Knows what is happening and why,
- Understands what the next steps are and isn’t left wondering what they need to do, and
- Receives information in real time.
The results of the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Auto Claim Satisfaction Study, showed that when the carrier reviewed coverage, explained what was going to happen next, and explained the claim process during the first notice of loss intake, satisfaction increased more than three-fold. When the claim exchange is simplified, the process moves along quickly, and there is transparency in the transaction that makes the customer feel more comfortable. When the customer feels more comfortable, they report feeling greater satisfaction and trust with the claim across the board.
The challenge for every carrier going forward is how speed, simplicity, and transparency are achieved in a highly digital environment. As carriers drive for more direct contact with their customers through primarily digital channels, they may gain speed and even simplify the routine, but generating transparency is much more difficult. If the carrier can’t achieve all three tenets during a claim the experience isn’t going to be very good for the customer. In fact, it might be downright awful.
Unlike a customer paying a premium bill or changing a vehicle through a digital portal, a claim requires more than simplicity and speed. Customers need to be reassured about their loss; they need to be able to discuss what happened and to understand that what they lost will be replaced and, in the end, they want someone to guide them through the process, especially when they report the claim. Empathy is critical to a successful claim experience, and certainly human contact can achieve a much higher level of empathy than a digital experience, but the push toward a fully digital experience doesn’t have to be void of empathy.
The need for a personal interaction doesn’t preclude the use of technology. In fact, technology can do a great deal to enhance the experience, but it can’t simply replace it, at least for the near future. The development of AI to better assign incoming claims, the use of telematics and in-vehicle video for claim investigation and reporting, and the tracking and texting technology to proactively keep the customer informed of what is happening can all drive a better claim experience and claim outcome for both the customer and the carrier. That sense of empathy is not only someone that projects a sense of caring but also a process that is kept simple, moves along quickly, and is transparent.