Wayne Toms, CEO, GhostDraft South Africa.
The importance of customer experience has been acknowledged for some time. However, there is a growing realisation in customer service industries, especially ones that are knowledge intensive like insurance, that our most important long-term differentiator is on the payroll – our people.
Yet companies are facing significant challenges to find, keep and use the best people. Employee value proposition comes out of this – creating a motivation for people to stay and deliver the best work.
Why employee experience is important.
- Firstly, this is a consequence of the increasing shortage of skills – people who have expertise and experience in the insurance industry and its processes. This is being experienced acutely in South Africa, but in our interactions with American insurance carriers, we find that they are also currently experiencing such a shortage
- Insurance has been slow to grow a new generation of industry experts – traditionally this has not been seen as a front-runner in appealing to new job market entrants, and while this is changing, insurers are having to learn how to enhance their value proposition to the skills that they do find
- We also know that the profile of new recruits has changed. Generation Z and millennials are less likely to look for a job for life and prefer an employer who can offer them something of value – and this goes beyond just salary – an ability to be effective, to make a difference, and to be stimulated by the work they do. Of course, they are more likely to seek a hybrid WFH (working from home) arrangement and are completely fluent in working online and with tech. Many companies are catching up on their ability to meet this value proposition
Employee experience has a role to play in the above as it is employee experience is everything an employee encounters at a company, from their initial job search to their last day of work and beyond. And as a major part of the daily work environment which employees encounter, technology tools and systems have a significant role to play.
The link between employee experience and customer experience?
We all know the refrain – Happy staff means happy customers. This has become ever more relevant in insurance with the rise of customer service as a crucial factor in how customers select their insurance products. Research shows that one out of every eight customers will leave their provider if they are not satisfied with the communications experience.
This is particularly true for the young, the wealthy, and the technologically sophisticated. This means they want an efficient and smooth journey in their interaction, which will not happen by accident. We need to design how those interactions will occur – and an insurers staff are key in building these interaction points and then handling the ad-hoc interactions when required.
Tech is an important part of the employee value proposition
Recent research by Aspire, the global communications technology analysts, shows that the number one source of job frustration identified by employees is overwhelmingly outdated software tools to enable their jobs.
This is a surprising stat, but it makes sense if we consider the factors which drive an employee’s sense of value at work. Put simply, employees are happy in their work environment if they have the following:
- A high work interest factor
- Work, knowledge, and capabilities.
- A sense of reward
- A sense of being able to collaborate seamlessly and effectively with their co-workers
Of course, there are many non-technology measures that can impact these factors, but these are all factors that have a direct relationship to the tech which employees use daily.
Digital enablement doesn’t have to wait.
Today’s business communications need to be more than just clear, relevant and actionable. They also need to talk to a new generation of digitally enabled customers.
GhostDraft delivers modern, cloud-based customer communication and digital experience solutions that power insurers to quickly transform communications into engaging experiences.
Customer communications technology provides an engaging employee experience
As organisations increasingly rely on empowered business teams to use their discretion in managing customer communication, the tech needs to meet certain requirements:
- Firstly, the tech needs to give business users and customer-facing personnel the tools they need to compose, change, distribute, and track communications while working remotely. As we have seen, this is a crucial factor in improving both customer experience and employee satisfaction. the tech needs to be accessible to business users. The tools need to be easy to access – often it is as simple as their browsers, they need to be usable in language that we can easily understand and provide them with access to all the data they need to interact with the customer with a button press.
- Secondly, the tech must automate simple business activities which require little or no intense user judgement to be applied, but often end up swamping many employees in their business day and make for a less attractive job satisfaction. For example, inserting a new claims rule into a set of policy documents is a relatively simple activity, but because it must be done right, is a painstaking process which could be automated.
- Thirdly, the turbulence of the last two years shows us that these solutions should also be flexible, allowing organizations to quickly adapt to a rapidly evolving market. The tech should be easy to refine and change and innovate. Customers’ needs vary, and business opportunities change quickly. Employees need to be able to make changes to the interaction patterns with customers and groups of customers in a way that does not take many weeks or months to process a simple change. At the same time, the system needs to protect core business logic, especially since there are strict compliance and actuarial requirements which must be met
- Fourth, since manual processes are slow and prone to creating confusion, customer communications technology should incorporate input from every stakeholder in an agile way while also leveraging automation to standardize and expedite transactions. This will save time, helping employees efficiently address the demands on their time while maximizing the potential of every customer touchpoint.
- Lastly, the tech must enable a direct line to customers to manage those interactions – not only improves the customer’s experience, but enables the employee to get an immediate sense that they have been able to meet the customer’s requirements, and enjoy the sense of satisfaction that comes with that
When an employee moves on
When employees familiar with the processes and technologies that govern customer communications management move elsewhere and there is no unified system or perpetual framework to manage communications, the resulting attrition and the loss of experience and institutional knowledge that follows will inevitably erode customer satisfaction.
They may even be the very ones who developed these now outdated systems and software or they may be the only ones with any understanding of the customer journey. Once this institutional knowledge is lost, it will take time (and expense) for new or reassigned employees to learn the old processes or find and develop new ones, worsening both employee experience and customer experience.
Customer experience cannot happen without employee experience. In addition to retaining employees, organisations need to look for ways to empower and enable them to provide a sustainable employee value proposition. The tech they use has a significant role to play
GhostDraft enables insurers to engage with their customers through our leading suite of document creation, automation, and distribution tools, which are fully integrated into leading policy administration systems. While our traditional focus has been on large and midsize American insurance carriers, we are increasingly seeing an appetite for our solutions in the South African insurance industry. GhostDraft has been rated by Aspire, the global consulting firm specializing in the Customer Communications Management (CCM) industry, on their Leaderboard in the top right quadrant for the insurance industry.