Communicating with Customers in a Crisis: Be Helpful and Proactive
A crisis on the scale of the one we presently find ourselves in is always unique. Its sheer intensity has taken many of us by surprise. So it’s all the more important to communicate clearly and proactively, not just with your staff, but with your customers as well. If you merely react to the many calls and messages you’re receiving, you not only miss the opportunity to shape your own message and present a common front; you’ll also be overwhelmed by the large number of inquiries, many of which require similar responses.
Three things insurers can do right now to provide rapid support
Don’t wait for everyone to come to you. Contact your customers of your own accord. You can do this via central newsletters, using or building outbound teams at your call center, providing prominent information on your website, or by deploying your field salesforce. Anticipate frequently asked questions and let your customers know what they can expect from you at the present time and what contribution you intend to make to the wellbeing of your customers and the community in this crisis. The Harvard Business Review has put together a few tips to help you.
Even if you want to show goodwill you can’t always help your customers financially. In these cases offer alternatives. Maybe you can waive premium payments, postpone commencement of the contract, give customers access to services such as free legal advice that are usually only available to certain groups, or think about reducing premiums in areas (e.g. vehicle insurance) where there are currently fewer claims. Be creative!
As an insurer you bear particular responsibility in times of crisis, and hopefully you enjoy particular trust as well. Put together a «coronavirus package» for your customers, including things like reliable sources of information, social distancing tips, ideas to prevent loneliness and lockdown fatigue, basic legal information, etc. It doesn’t all have to be strictly insurance-related. Extraordinary circumstances justify extraordinary means, and customers will thank you for showing the willingness to help them.