How can you judge the quality of customer service?
Inspiring customer confidence can range from solutions that seem too mundane, yet necessary such as, ‘How quickly my calls are answered or returned’, to things like ‘Do they anticipate my needs and protect me from making mistakes? Do they have my back when things go wrong?’ We need to ensure that a sound corporate governance, immaculate risk processes, management framework, business ethics and values are set in to sustain momentum and most importantly, sustain customer confidence.
However which way you attribute it, it ultimately boils down to one point; ‘Have we ‘wowed’ customers at the moment of truth?’ For an example, in the business of life insurance, it is that moment where customers receive their claim.
The life insurance industry has specific elements that make customer service essential for the industry to bloom. An insurance product is intangible. A healthy customer who doesn’t go through any claims will never get the chance to find out how good the underlying coverage is. Therefore, potential or current customers rank service providers by what is available for them to judge—the quality of customer service.
Excellent customer service is key to client satisfaction and loyalty. Although the market is often saturated with product offerings that are similar in nature, service standards are unique to each provider – making it a point of difference among competing companies. Products, prices and promotions can be copied, but great customer service cannot be copied as it is in rooted to the culture of the organisation and its people. This makes it a key deciding factor, especially in an industry such as ours.
Softlogic Life continuously strives to enhance the service culture keeping in line with our commitment to always deliver above expectations. Our vision is to not only become the number one life insurance provider in the country but to become the benchmark of customer service in the entire service sphere.
Softlogic Life strongly believes that immediate financial support in emergencies is what’s vital to the customers. We are the first company in Sri Lanka to have introduced the one-day claims settlement process, having made a profound impact on the life insurance industry benchmarks. Thy have an internal performance indicator of settling above 85% of their claims within a day without compromising the quality of the process and value to the customer.
The Six Commandments of Customer Service in Life Insurance
We can put down the success of Softlogic Life to the ‘Six Commandments of Customer Service’ which we follow adamantly.
1. Empathy – the degree to which the company cares for and understands its customers. As Theodore Roosevelt correctly put it, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
2. Personalisation – the degree to which the experience can be customised to the needs of each customer.
3. Simplicity – the entire process of signing up, claiming and maintaining a life policy should be streamlined and simplified end to end.
4. Meeting expectations – keeping promises made to customers across all socio-economic and geographic segments from the outset. This is one of the main ways through which customer confidence is inspired.
5. Resolution speed – Ensuring that all inquiries, issues and requirements are resolved in the shortest amount of time.
6. Integrity – Placing customer wellness over and above company goals.
The company abides by these commandments, infusing them into their products, processes as well as their marketing campaigns. Customer service is at the heart of our business, and we believe it is a competency that is difficult to replicate even though products and marketing campaigns may be replicated.
Bringing a new wave of customer service through ‘WOW’
A solid example of this commitment is reflected in a recent initiative taken by Softlogic Life, where senior management makes personal visits to customers who are hospitalised for in-patient treatments establishing a sense of connection whilst reassuring them of support through their difficult periods. This initiative was taken as a part of the ‘WOW’ program.
‘Purple line,’ in which a customer care hotline number is dedicated to employees at Softlogic Life, enabling customers to take up any service gaps with those in charge; ensuring positive service at all times was also launched as a part of this program. We also enforce positive service through a special customer complaint committee, targeting complaint resolution received via phone, social media, online as well as those received personally.
Technology helps significantly in strengthening client relationships. Leveraging on the latest technological developments is also key to smoothing out customer relationships. While insight-driven marketing and self-service automation technologies help attract potential customers to business, customer data management and analytics solutions help keep customers on-board long after initial contact.
This also supports our sales force who are then armed with a buffer of knowledge before approaching a customer. Instead of shooting in the dark, they can now do so with a guaranteed degree of success – making it a pleasant experience for both agent and customer. One of our foremost digital achievements includes Tele underwriting and App-based underwriting—firsts in the Sri Lankan life insurance industry—where customers can obtain insurance policies through telephone calls as well as on mobile applications such as WhatsApp and Viber. All of these initiatives are parts of a massive unique project launched by Softlogic Life called ‘WOW’, aimed at providing clients with a ‘wow’ experience.
Customer support is currently standing at crossroads: One road leads to exciting automated technologies, and the other to ‘human touch’. Softlogic Life being one of the most innovative insurers in Sri Lanka, has been the first to incorporate many such technological enhancements which it benefits their customers.
We see a definite shift in customer attitude towards using advanced technology in the long term. However, in the short term, we will focus on customer convenience and protection, including wellness, fitness, as well as nutrition. The company will take proactive measures to keep our customers healthier – ranging from awareness programmes to medical screening.
Further, we will take serious note of every customer engagement and try to ensure the customer is delighted, every time. These engagements usually take place through our employees or field staff – and as a company, we are there to invest further to develop their capabilities to achieve maximum customer satisfaction.
Our effort to continuously polish and mould client servicing processes is a testament to the commitment we have to serve their customers. With an ultimate objective to continue to thrive as a superior customer service provider in the market, Softlogic Life is riding a new wave of customer engagement by setting new benchmarks for the rest of the industry.
(The writer is the Chief Corporate Services Officer at Softlogic Life)