Customer service - standing out from the crowd

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Paul Shires looks at the role customer service plays in helping providers to stand out from the crowd.

As Benjamin Franklin once said: “Well done is better than well said’ – and, when it comes to choosing a health insurance provider, this statement certainly rings true. 

Handing over a client to an insurer can be a leap of faith and no matter how good their marketing literature is or how high their commission rates are, if the service isn’t up to scratch then everything else is arguably a lost cause. 

Customers’ standards are higher than ever and with the media frequented by headlines about company wrongdoings, businesses are finding themselves increasingly held to account - especially with a shift towards online communication and social media now providing a direct and very public way for customers to air their views – positive and negative.

At a time when all providers are striving to stay a step ahead of the nation’s changing healthcare needs, having high customer service levels could make the difference between clinching a deal, or losing out to a competitor.

When it comes to ensuring intermediaries are satisfied with the level of service provided, there are two areas providers must keep check on. 

Firstly, the customer service their client receives. Intermediaries are placing their trust in the hands of an insurer when they recommend that provider. In turn, the client is outing their trust in their broker. 

Intermediaries build their reputation on finding the right products for their clients. By taking responsibility for putting forward the right company and product, it goes without saying that they need assurance on the customer service their client will receive. 

Whether it’s educating employees on how to use and get the most out of their policy, working with the business’s management team to help them address issues within the company such as sickness absence, or just providing a friendly voice at the end of the phone, the little things make a big difference and handing over a client to a provider can be a make or break scenario. 

Secondly, it’s the service the brokers receive themselves. With busy portfolios and competing products fighting for their attention, intermediaries want simple, accessible information to hand. 

In a client meeting, they must be able to demonstrate knowledge of the products and services available – either visually or on paper - and it’s the provider’s job to ensure brokers have the tools they need to do this effectively and in turn, to sell. 

But how can providers do it? With speculation and debate around the future of healthcare provision, the role insurers have to play is more important than ever. 

However, the one point most providers firmly agree on is that health cover will become an increasingly essential part of company strategy, as business owners recognise the link between good health and wellbeing and productivity. 

 

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