Survey Data Is Your Secret Weapon - Insurance Thought Leadership

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September 26, 2021

Survey Data Is Your Secret Weapon

Summary:

The pandemic is changing customer expectations, and carriers and agencies need data to map out a strategy to meet evolving needs.

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Insurance company demand for survey data has increased dramatically. It’s easy to understand why. Carriers and agencies know the pandemic and its social and economic fallout have changed customer habits and altered the marketplace. They want to understand how those changes will affect them, and they need data to map out a strategy to meet evolving customer expectations. That’s smart business. 

Insurers use surveys like net promoter scores (NPS) and customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) to gain insight into how customers view their company and the services they provide. But it’s important to keep in mind that it’s a continuing project because customer attitudes change in response to events and evolve over time, especially when market shifts are occurring as rapidly as they are now.   

NPS surveys ask customers to rate the likelihood of recommending your company or service to a friend, and, when you monitor NPS trends over time, you can get early warning if trouble is brewing or stay informed when customer perceptions remain steady or improve. This business intelligence can help you respond to trends quickly so you can keep customers on board.  

Carriers and agencies use CSAT surveys to gauge satisfaction on a range of products, services and processes. Customer satisfaction is always important, but more companies than ever are interested in collecting customer satisfaction data now because of what a recent McKinsey report calls a “loyalty shakeup” that has up to 30% to 40% of customers looking to switch brands.  

Gathering Survey Data Beyond the Basics 

Customer attitudes toward the carrier or agency are important, but it makes sense for insurance agencies to survey policyholder attitudes toward claims adjusters, too. Contact with an adjuster is the moment of truth for customers, who rely on their insurer for support under challenging circumstances. They expect to be contacted quickly and to receive information and compensation rapidly, too.   

Leading carriers are already conducting surveys on adjusters to stay in touch with what’s happening in the field. A customer survey following an interaction with a claims adjuster can also give agencies important insight into how customers perceive the relationship and the service they received. That can give agency leaders more data for making decisions on carriers and adjuster relationships.  

Gauging employee sentiment is also critical now because staff turnover is sky high. “The Great Resignation” cuts across industries — millions of workers are quitting their jobs and searching for work that gives them more purpose, time, flexibility or money. The current labor shortage makes it harder for insurers to replace departing employees, so it’s better to keep current talent onboard when possible. 

These are all excellent reasons to expand survey activities beyond gathering basic intelligence on customer attitudes toward the carrier or agency and products and services. With more insight on customer encounters with adjusters, agencies can improve service quality. With more information on employee satisfaction, carriers and agencies can ensure service quality  

See also: Collective Response to Data Resiliency

Getting the Right Data — And Following Up 

Surveys can improve insurer operations on a number of fronts, but, first, it’s critical to get the right data. That means creating surveys that elicit higher response rates by wording them in a way that encourages customer engagement. It also requires sending surveys across different channels to meet customers where they are, whether via automated calls, texts or emails.  

It’s also important to have the right processes and workflows in place and analytics and tools that can deliver actionable data in real time. To take decisive action, insurers need reports that are relevant to the industry and easy to interpret. These capabilities enable the insurer to collect feedback — and act on it quickly. 

At the end of the day, what the agency or carrier does with the insights the survey data reveals is what matters the most. Companies that survey customers and employees signal that they care, just by asking for feedback. Companies that follow up on the insights customers and employees provide with action and improvements earn loyalty. That’s how to stay competitive in an evolving economy.  

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About the Author

Tara Kelly is founder, president and CEO of Splice Software. She has a passion for enabling clients to engage in a meaningful, data-driven dialog with their customers.

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