Insurance is Essential; How to Essentially Work from Home
One of the biggest challenges that insurance companies (Brokers, Carriers, MGA’s, Claims Support, etc.) have been struggling with over the last few weeks has been finding ways to communicate effectively, professionally and in a timely manner with both internal teams and customers. With insurance being an essential service, the ability to engage with all stakeholders is critical.
Based on our own experience at Goose Digital over the last few weeks and what we have heard from our insurance customers and partners, we have pulled together some guidelines which we hope you will find helpful.
Get Your Team Up and Running
In order to service your customers, your team needs to be operational in their new ‘business as usual’ environment. Succeeding with this is a combination of leadership and technology. People love their work for many reasons, a good part because of the people with whom they work. Working from home can feel isolating to many who are new to it, and when coupled with the social and physical distancing during COVID-19, even some WFH veterans are struggling. And leadership sets the tone. Finding ways to bring your company culture outside the physical office, setting up team virtual gatherings and increasing 1:1 touch bases go a long way to reassure your employees and keep them motivated and happy. Some great ideas we have seen:
- Morning check ins (company wide or by team)
- Virtual afternoon coffee breaks
- Beer/cocktail hours
- Team lunches
- Theme days – hats, costumes, bring your pet to work to let off a little steam
- 1:1 video meetings
To make any of this happen, though, you need the right collaboration tools. There are many on the market and potentially several that can work for you. How to choose? Keep in mind a few things when selecting the right ones for your company:
- What main problem are you trying to solve? Ie, inter office messaging, project collaboration, file sharing
- What tools do your clients or partners use?
- What is your ability to onboard new technology and get user adoption?
- What is the level of technical sophistication of your team
- Firewalls, passwords or other security concerns for highly confidential data
Our teams use a combination of Google hangouts, email, Slack, Zoom and GoToMeeting, depending on the nature of the meeting and attendees, but there are many others.
Security Tip: Some insurance companies have been really challenged with securely accessing office resources through their home or offsite desktops. Companies such as Concero are able to provide cloud desktops and corporate application hosting services enabling the secure access that is needed; many of these companies are also providing great deals now, so you have an opportunity to try them out. Talk to partners (like Goose!), clients, friends and get their feedback to help make your decision easier.
Be Available to Your Customers – When and How They Need You
Being able to communicate with your policyholders and respond to their questions and concerns has never been more important. The rapidly changing situation may mean that you don’t have all the answers available but being able to connect and provide guidance goes a long way in providing reassurance today and retention for tomorrow. And the best way to accomplish this is to use the different channels you have in place.
Email is the most effective way to get a message in front of your policyholders but we know inboxes are getting crowded:
- Consider prioritizing critical messages around payments, policy coverage or items that require immediate action.
- Segment your emails to ensure the content is truly relevant to the individual.
- Personalize the sender; messages coming from an assigned producer or CSR increase the likeliness of the email being opened and the content read.
- Use text style emails, available with best of breed marketing automation platforms which in many cases are more appropriate for the types of communications you are sending during this period.
Leverage your website as your customers are likely visiting to find out answers:
- Create a COVID-19 resource landing page with articles and links to trusted sources
- Create a banner on your home page to direct them to your COVID-19 landing page
- Post any critical messages on your home page such as payment processes
- Ensure messages flowing in from your ‘Contact Us’ option are being monitored and addressed
- Make sure your contact details are updated to reflect changes to where your team is working and easy to find.
Don’t forget your phone system:
- Adjust your greeting and on hold messages to reflect any changes in operation, contact or response time
- Link office number extensions directly to phones your team are using at home
Use your chatbot:
- Make sure your messaging and question and answers are updated to reflect any changes
- Consider adding video meeting tools such as Zoom, Google meet or FaceTime as an option to connect with customers. As with your internal teams, having a face to face (but socially distant) conversation can provide a personal and reassuring.
Most importantly, don’t forget your company values and the essential value you bring to your clients. Digital tools give you the ability to continue to deliver the advice and guidance that insurers can so uniquely provide, no matter from where it is delivered.