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7th Annual Claims Education Conference MAY 8-11, 2012

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Claims Education Magazine SPRING 2012!

Check out the new SPRING 2012 Claims Education Magazine Issue!

Click Here to go to claimseducationmagazine.com

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Check out the articles in this issue:

Training Talk

Feature Story
Ambassadors in the Field

Feature Story
Conference Comes Full Circle

News Brief

Blended Learning

Different Platforms

Not too long ago the topic of blended learning came up as a topic that should be discussed in this blog. Specifically the topics of what platforms to consider to get the point across and how to measure effectiveness of the platforms. At a SITE (Society of Insurance Trainers and Educators) Conference that I attended and spoke at this year I covered the topic of blended learning. Covered in the talk were the advantages of blended learning, the different tools and strategies that can be used, along with how to manage the different tools and many other ideas To see all of the ideas take a look at the handout on the International Insurance Institute website. Let me know what you think. What are some way that you incorporate blended learning into your work? What platforms do you use? Do you find that some platforms are better than others? Anything you have to say about blended learning we would love to hear.

What Qualitites Do You Need to Have Good Customer Satisfaction?

Recently a chart explaining the difference between customer advocacy factors and customer satisfaction factors from the Peppers and Rogers Group landed in my e-mail. Upon inspection of the chart, I found that there was some very valuable information worth sharing that every customer service professional needs to know.

The chart explains that in order to have great customer satisfaction there are some factors that have to be provided by the customer service professional. These factors are being competent, be exceptional at handling issues, knowledgeable, and be available for the customer whenever they need them.

To tie this back to the world of claims, first and foremost claims professionals have to be knowledgeable in their field before they are able to provide good service to anyone. Continuing education classes and keeping up with relevant insurance news are just some ways to stay educated and provide better information in turn. After that, claims professionals need to know how to be empathetic and patient with their customers in order to handle the issues in the best way possible. Listening is the key when it comes to understanding followed then by reacting to the situation. The other important factor to keep in mind is that while working in any customer service field, especially in claims, you need to be available for your clients at any time they need you. No, this does not mean that you always need to have your phone next to you to take calls but it does mean that you need to get back to every client in a reasonable amount of time. Show your customer that you do have time for them and that you are going to help them in the best and most efficient way possible.

The chart also shows what factors are most needed to gain customer advocacy. Click on the chart to enlarge and tell me what you think.

Social Media and Insurance Meet

Not too long ago I realized that social media was not just something for kids to keep in touch with each other or for young start-up businesses to first reach their target audience with and something worth being involved in. Social media is now something that has to be done in every business in order to stay relevant and ahead of the competition. This goes for the claims industry as well.

Jump On Board

An article recently published by Karen Furtado in Property Casualty 360 said that 80% of insurers are monitoring social media and strategically planning around them. Insurers are using social media to not only keep in touch with their contacts but to also learn from them, grow their business, and also protect their business. We, as an industry, should know that the customer is what makes our business. If they feel that they are not getting the treatment and service that they expect then they now have the power to express their dissatisfaction to others in the span of a couple of minutes through using social media. By being a part of social media we can monitor the bad and the good opinions and make changes to better suit our customers.

Social Media Meets Customer Service

With that being said, we have to remember that our business is about customer service. Customer service should take place in the field as well as in our social media components. Take a look at the article Karen Furtado wrote and see if you agree.

People Always Ask Me

As President of International Insurance Institute, I receive requests (at least 3 times a year) from companies in the U.S. to help them set up claims handling operations outside of the U.S. (usually in India).

Even Kids are Outsourcing

The goal of these companies is to handle claims for the U.S. customers but lower the expense dramatically by using inexpensive labor.

If you think about it, anything that can be handled by internet and telephone these days can be handled anywhere in the world, so I understand the lure to set up such operations in order to reduce a companies largest expense which is typically personnel. Sure, they will start with the easy stuff like glass loss, but they’re going to work their way up to the harder stuff.

Whenever I receive these calls, I always decline (I’m not interested in helping move jobs out of the United States, thank you very much!). But you know what, If I don’t do it somebody else will. And from what I understand this is already happening.

The push towards customer service in the claims industry is not only the concern of the companies themselves, but should also be the concern of the employees within them. The ability to deliver truly outstanding customer service has a direct connection to job security. Once someone outside of the U.S. can deliver customer service “almost” as good as we can, we can kiss our jobs goodbye since the cost of that labor is 1/4 the cost of our labor.

All of us in the claims industry need to be completely focused on customer experience and be much, much better than our low cost competition.

These are just my thoughts on the subject but I would love to know yours. Do you agree, disagree? Looking forward to hearing your your thoughts.

A Modern Shift in Claims

The claims industry has come a long way in a short amount of time. With the introduction of new technologies in not only claims but all industries, customers are expecting more from the companies that they do business with. In the article “Claims Focus Shifts from Financial to Service Concerns: Conning” by Nathan Golia, it is noted that the claims industry has previously had 2 main focuses: reducing loss adjustment expenses and reducing indemnity costs. Now, however, customers are looking to have better customer service because in other industries there is an immediacy that provides the sense of control to the customer resulting in good customer service.

Providing good customer service is essential in any business especially in the claims industry. My book, Attitude, Ability, and the 80/20 Rule, has some of the same ideas that Golia talks about in the article. Customer service needs to be a focus in the claims industry in order to compete with other industries that are constantly changing. Most people, especially the claims industry, are in the business of customer service and having an attitude that reflects that through performance is key. After all, I believe performance is 80% attitude and 20% ability.

What do you think?

2 New Books Released

“Gaining Cooperation for the Workers’ Comp Professional” and “Attitude, Ability and the 80/20 Rule” have been released! Go to http://www.insuranceinstitute.com/shoppingcart.html to learn more about the books and to purchase.

Negotiation Maxim: Only Prove Yourself Right

In a recent article entitled “Gaining Cooperation,” I mention that one of the key negotiation maxims is that “You never have to prove anyone wrong; you only have to prove yourself right.” (Just Google “Carl Van Gaining Cooperation”)

Many people have asked me if claims professionals tend to fall into this trap. I would have to say that often they do. In fact, in our Negotiation Skills for Claims Professionals class, this comes up quite regularly. Most people want to be understood. If claims people take the time to let customers know they understand their point of view, they will find customers more willing to listen to their point of view. No one likes to be proven wrong. So, I always advise to acknowledge the other person’s point of view, and get back to discussing the facts.

 

Would love to hear your thoughts.

New Book Releases

In addition to my 2 current books, “The 8 Characteristics of the Awesome Adjuster” and “Gaining Cooperation,” I have 2 new books coming out soon. The books are “Gaining Cooperation for Workers’ Comp Professionals: 3 Easy Steps to Getting Injured Workers to Do What You Want Them to Do” and “Attitude, Ability and the 80/20 Rule: The Making of Exceptional Performers.” You can order the books at http://www.insuranceinstitute.com/shoppingcart.html or buy on Amazon.com. I’ll keep you updated on the exact release dates when they get closer.

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