In April, a global network of telescopes/telescope arrays called the Event Horizon Telescope zoomed on the galaxy M87 to create this first-ever picture of a black hole. Further analysis of the image revealed neither the whereabouts nor status of your RMIS support ticket.
When changing business requirements call for adjustments to your risk management information system (RMIS), how does your service team respond? For too many risk managers, the process looks something like this:
- Submit a support ticket.
- Send a follow-up email.
- Call and leave a message.
- Send a follow-up email (cc’ing additional RMIS provider staffers in hopes of escalation).
Trapped in this RMIS service ticket black hole, even the most basic of changes can mean weeks of waiting. Beyond testing one’s patience, delays can negatively impact risk management objectives. If you’re reading this while waiting for a response from your service team, consider switching to technology and an approach to RMIS support that puts you in control by putting your needs first.
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Taking the time to evaluate your RMIS technology can play a part in ensuring your long-term risk management objectives are met. Equally important is an honest assessment of whether the RMIS support you’re receiving is meeting your expectations.
With apologies to the relationship health quizzes available in magazines on display in supermarket checkout lines, your responses to the following questions may indicate that the relationship between you and your RMIS service team is in trouble.
#1 Has there been significant employee turnover?
For years, the users of prominent RMIS platforms have been forced to deal with service issues that stem, in part, from the departure of experienced RMIS support personnel. Rather than reaching a point of stabilization, M&A activity over the past year has been followed by rounds of layoffs, as well as account reassignment for the service team members who remain.
This turnover can leave you at a net deficit, as constant changes mean more work for you and your risk management team. As the article A Stranger is Calling: The impact of RMIS service team turnover points out, “a revolving door of service team personnel who need to be brought up to speed on the unique aspects of a RMIS and the risk management program it was put into place to support compounds the problem” of RMIS technology that may already be struggling to keep pace.
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Automation is great, except when it isn’t. Examples of the dark side include endless button pressing in automated phone trees that often conclude by yelling the word “operator” into the phone, and receiving form letters or emails containing incorrect, basic information. It’s no wonder the Aspect Customer Experience Index states that “nearly a third of consumers would rather clean a toilet than talk to customer service.”
Yet automation, when done well, remains a central tactic TPAs can deploy to gain competitive advantages in efficiency, accuracy, and resource allocation. When mismanaged, however, it can lead to impersonal service and damaged client relationships. The key to successful automation is to take advantage of technology’s benefits without losing the “human-centric” element. Kristin Smaby explores this concept in Being human is good business.
“In an era when companies see online support as a way to shield themselves from ‘costly’ interactions with their customers, it’s time to consider an entirely different approach: building human-centric customer service through great people and clever technology. So, get to know your customers. Humanize them. Humanize yourself. It’s worth it.”
In this three-part series we’ll examine how strategically balancing the human/automation mix can deliver a competitive advantage through:
- Improving customer service
- Enhancing employee retention/recruitment
- Boosting performance KPIs
Addressing these three initiatives from a human-centric perspective allows your organization to meet the personalized service expectations your clients demand, while gaining the productivity boosts smart automation delivers.
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Deciding to implement a RMIS system or make a RMIS switch comes with a range of emotions. There’s the excitement of knowing something better is on the horizon. There’s the nervous energy that comes with major change. There may even be dread over the daunting task ahead. After all, you know your current RMIS—warts and all—and a new one takes some time to get used to. But the payoff from getting a new system that’s adaptable to your organization’s specific needs can’t be overstated.
Don’t let the fear of implementation stop you from making a change that will reap benefits for years to come. With a straightforward plan in place that plays to your organization’s strengths, you can slay the implementation dragon—and even enjoy yourself along the way. Such was the case for non-profit professional association New Mexico Counties (NMC), which teamed up with Origami Risk to complete a highly successful implementation.
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A Risk & Insurance article recently stated that the souls of employees everywhere are saying, “Treat me like a human.” This applies to your claimants, as well. You’ve likely already considered many of the ways you can provide them better service, but you may have yet to tap into one of the keys to humanizing the claims process: automation.
The word is everywhere, as pervasive as the technology it’s infiltrating. Automation can bring to mind processes that are cold, robotic, and removed. So, considering software with automation functionalities may raise some hesitations. Will automation put distance between us and our clients? Will processes become mechanical and impersonal? How will this affect our service reputation and brand?
As the article Automation and AI: Miracle Tool or Hostile Takeover points out, automation “is neither the one answer nor a dangerous technology to be shunned. It’s another tool available to your organization, and every tool must be used effectively and for the right problem.”
Automation, when done properly, can bring more heart and soul into the work you do. Many manual processes consist of time-sucking drudgery. They leave you vulnerable to error and service headaches. They can become ingrained within your organization, forcing you to treat every claim or client the exact same way, despite variables, because deviating requires even more work. By using automation strategically, you’ll be able to deliver service to your claimants that’s more personal than ever. With a risk management information system (RMIS) that includes built-in automation, you can make humanizing the claims process a reality.
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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.”
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In what is already a competitive landscape, 2018 saw a record number (626) of mergers and acquisitions among insurance brokers. According to Business Insurance reporting, more than half of these deals involved P&C brokers and agents.
At the same time, Earnst & Young’s US and Americas non-life insurance outlook 2019 points out that a “gradual shift toward direct sales can be seen in personal and small commercial lines.” While the report holds that the proliferation of D2C channels that reduce dependency on brokers is unlikely to have a significant impact on large commercial lines in the near future, the trend can and should be taken as a sign of things to come.
“One of the biggest keys to success in this environment is differentiating your agency from others that offer similar services,” writes Mike Lover in the PropertyCasualty 360° article Want to make your customer service truly stand out? Answer these questions.
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How many members of your current RMIS vendor’s service team have come and gone over the course of your relationship? What about the number of service team leads who have guided support efforts on behalf of you and the other users of your RMIS software?
When you dial into a meeting and get introduced to yet another service team replacement, your RMIS provider is under-delivering.
Many business-to-business software providers place far too much emphasis on “software” and not enough on “service.” In terms of features and functionalities, the results of such an approach may be impressive. But the imbalance comes with a cost. Subpar support is always detrimental to client success.
The importance of consistent, knowledgeable RMIS technology support is difficult to overstate. Given the increasingly complex risks every business faces and the ever-expanding role risk managers play within their organizations, a platform implemented five or more years ago may struggle to keep pace with an organization’s changing needs. A revolving door of service team personnel who need to be brought up to speed on the unique aspects of a RMIS and the risk management program it was put into place to support compounds the problem.
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When choosing a risk management information system (RMIS) or making a RMIS switch, the process of assessing systems sometimes feels like comparing apples to apples. As important as the big functionalities are, organizations would do well to look at the more granular details—details that, however simple they may seem, address their organization’s very specific needs, while also saving time and preventing mental fatigue.
As a Risk Management Monitor article says, “An effective relationship starts with knowing the specific requirements of your enterprise and setting relevant priorities” and then checking how closely your RMIS provider can match them.
Why the little things matter
The workforce today puts in longer hours, more days a week than ever before. But employees aren’t spending all of that time tackling more projects and setting more goals, as one might expect. The 2018 survey Companies Are Overlooking a Primary Area for Growth and Efficiency: Their Managers found that 36% of company managers spend 3 to 4 hours per day on administrative tasks. An employee who spends an hour manually entering data or emailing colleagues about upcoming tasks is using time that could be better spent on more valuable activities like interacting with clients and improving product offerings.
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Is the sky falling? Or is it clearing? Will the new owners be a breath of fresh air? Or will they turn the business upside down? As a risk manager, you’ll likely hear all sorts of messages from peers, providers, and competitors. Following the acquisition of your risk management information system (RMIS) provider, the only message that matters is this: You have options.
It’s easy to feel as if your hands are tied as you seek answers to questions about what a new, combined company means for you and the users of your current RMIS. Asking questions and voicing any concerns regarding the answers you receive is the surest way to proceed prior to extending your contract.
Perhaps the biggest question—and in some cases, the one that is the most difficult to get an answer to—is whether or not you’ll be forced to migrate to the RMIS of the acquiring vendor.
While migration sometimes means you’ll be gaining access to functionality not available in your current system, the reality is that the move may not be as simple, or as straightforward, as promised.
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