Whether you’re an organization whose business is handling claims for others or one that administers its own claims, claimants are your customers. Viewing claimants through this lens will help focus your efforts on strengthening relationships and delivering better support. You also have the opportunity to go a step further and establish your reputation as truly customer-first. How? Through a straightforward branding exercise.
Before dismissing branding as something far removed from the claims world and better left to marketing and advertising executives, consider that every customer interaction further establishes an organization’s brand. Your reputation for customer service — however good or bad — is out there. You can continue with the status quo, or you can take control and push the narrative.
“Think about it,” says the Insurance Thought Leadership article 3.5 Ways to Deliver Happiness in Claims. “The claimant is going through your process during a time of grief, hardship and huge loss. Your process should not add to the stress. Your process should be easy. It should work to deliver a little happiness for them during this time. You want your beneficiaries to tell stories to their friends, family or other loved ones about how seamless your process was.”
By taking a few simple steps and leveraging an integrated RMIS, you can brand your organization as customer-first, with a reputation that naturally follows.
Establish a value proposition
To ensure a positive, service-forward reputation with your customers (claimants), start by establishing an internal statement that describes exactly what that means to your organization or department. Maybe you want to highlight how quickly you process claims. Or perhaps you want to focus on the personal relationships you form with all customers. Firm up in 1-2 sentences what your team brings to the table. Claims managers are in a special position to help people during a difficult time, which adds an ethical component to the work you do. Consider how that factors into your mission, as well.
Once you’ve established a value proposition, how do you bring the vision to life? A few more steps is all it takes.
Know your audience
A major part of establishing your brand is understanding your audience. As a claims organization or department, knowing your customers on an intimate level humanizes the process and delivers insight into best practices. “Customer understanding is the cornerstone of customer-centricity,” says the article 3 Must-Dos to Achieve Customer-Centricity. “To achieve that understanding, customer service leaders must do three things:
- Listen — surveys and other listening posts
- Characterize — develop customer personas to better understand who the customer is
- Empathize — walk in the customers’ shoes to understand their experiences.”
In order to listen and learn from your customers, you need time, a rare commodity in claims management. You’re likely already arriving early and working late to keep up with your claims workload and communicate with all the necessary parties — all while trying to avoid the inevitable interruptions that pop up throughout the day. This is where a RMIS comes in. In a RMIS, the details matter states, “With simple but sophisticated technology able to automate some of the more burdensome daily tasks, employees can gain more than a dozen hours a week for higher priority tasks.” This can include facetime with customers.
One-on-one time helps you better understand customers and better respond to their specific needs, which in turn makes them feel valued. According to an article in CIO Applications, you “must know how to sense the customer’s mood, handle surprises and adapt accordingly to provide solutions.” This positive feedback loop helps solidify your reputation as an ally.
Another way to gather more insight into your customers is through data collection and analysis. A RMIS not only simplifies the import of data, but also features integrated analytics tools that allow you to observe trends and note specific claims features, such as level of severity. When you see an outlier on a scatter chart, for example, you can use that knowledge to be mindful of that particular customer’s unusual or unusually challenging circumstances. The more context you have, the better equipped you are to make important decisions, and the more your customers will feel seen and heard.
Develop concrete solutions to customer challenges
Saying you’re “customer-centric” means little if you don’t take actionable steps to address the challenges your customers (claimants) face. A RMIS offers functionalities that solve typical customer complaints, helping your organization provide first-rate service without adding work to your plate.
Today’s culture values instant gratification. Especially during upsetting times, consumers expect things to happen smoothly and painlessly. This means speedy processing; receiving regular updates on how the process is going (think automated emails from Amazon when a purchase has shipped or been delivered); and not having to repeat themselves or fill out the same information in multiple places. The article To improve customer service, stop asking customers to repeat themselves illustrates this last issue well:
“While starting from square one every time you talk to someone [in your personal life] would be ridiculous, that’s exactly how most companies interact with their customers,” says Warren Levitan, co-founder and CEO of Smooch, an omnichannel conversation platform. “It’s frustrating for the customer; it’s inefficient for the business; it’s a waste of time for everybody.”
The Amazons of the world continue to set a high bar for every customer-facing business. A RMIS with built-in automation can help you live up to this high standard and address all three of these customer issues without taking up your valuable time. Through integrated email functionality, configurable business rules, and convenient dashboards, a RMIS can:
- Ensure processes continue to move along efficiently and reliably
- Send updates to customers during the claims process (“Your claim has been submitted,” “Your claim is being processed,” etc.), removing the burden of tracking
- Fire off tasks and updates to the appropriate people internally, keeping everyone up to date on a particular claims status and avoiding having to ask the customer unnecessary questions
In addition, Origami’s free Claimant app allows customers to view their status on demand from anywhere, giving them a sense of control in the midst of a trying time.
A one-size-fits-all approach to the claims process doesn’t honor a customer’s unique situation. The failure to acknowledge specific needs can lead to a customer feeling like a cog in a machine. A RMIS with a flexible design is a scalable and manageable solution for keeping the human element alive. As we stated in Improving claims administration, a RMIS with a flexible design “allows you to make the platform your own. Accommodate client-specific requests, make system adjustments, and adopt new functionality as your client base expands and your business continues to evolve.”
Origami Compliance client Company Nurse took advantage of this platform flexibility to better serve their clients: “[Company Nurse’s] partnership with Origami Compliance began with the handling of a small number of forms and expanded to ‘include a virtually unlimited number of standard and custom forms.’ This led to a system with a highly flexible core. As a result, Company Nurse was able ‘to easily adapt to each client’s unique requirements.’”
Analyze and refine brand identity
Establishing your brand should be more than a one-off project. “To remain competitive,” states the article 5 Steps to Building a Strong Brand Identity When the Game is Constantly Changing, “companies must routinely analyze and refine their brand to ensure it’s delivering on the promises of what the company stands for.”
The right RMIS tools make this possible by freeing up time and empowering you to think of yourself as more than just a member of the claims team. You’re also a brand ambassador now, and can take note of how your department or organization is living up the promises of its value proposition.
Reporting and analytics
You may already be familiar with the audit process to ensure you’re meeting industry best practices. Now you can use similar tools to conduct periodic self-assessments that examine if your service aligns with your goals. If claims processing is taking longer than it should, for example, you can analyze where exactly this is happening and how to fix it.
Reporting tools can also reveal “good problems”: when the level of service is meeting or exceeding the level stated in your value proposition. Maybe you discover that almost every customer is receiving a follow-up phone call asking if they need anything else. This indicates you’re meeting your communication benchmark. If reporting reveals certain aspects go above and beyond your current value proposition, it may be time for an update.
Outcomes-based claims auditing can take things a step further. Looking at factors outside the immediate claims process (such as internal hiring processes or new-employee onboarding) provides deeper insight into root causes and subsequent solutions. You’ll be one step ahead of any potential roadblocks that could compromise your high level of customer service.
Bonus: You’ll be happier, too!
Establishing and maintaining your brand reputation is not only beneficial, but also highly doable when partnering with the right RMIS. Simplified processes cut down on administrative burdens and liberate you to do more high-level strategizing, including customer engagement. And reporting tools preemptively reveal areas for improvement, saving headaches down the road. The result: smoother claims management and more satisfied customers. What could be better than that?
Speak to an Origami service team member to learn more about how an integrated RMIS can improve your organization’s or department’s brand.