I’m going through an insurance claim at the moment….and it’s painful.

I’m a very enthusiastic, but very amateur photographer – and, on a recent long haul flight my “go to” lens (16 – 300 for any photographers reading this) was dropped and damaged beyond repair. Until I am able to navigate my way to the other side of this insurance claim, I am seriously limited in my photography endeavours! And so far, my experience with my insurer hasn’t been going great. Maybe my claim will be accepted, maybe it won’t. Either way, I seriously doubt I’ll end up a becoming a ‘promoter’ of this insurance company, and the reason is all in the company’s inability to meet my needs.

First, let me list the things this insurer has done that are frustrating to me:

1. Taken more than 4 business days to acknowledge my claim being logged via their convenient and straightforward web form.

2. Emailed me to ask for more information, but not responded when I asked for clarification of the specific information they needed

3. When I called the company to talk to a real person about this – they said I would need to talk to my assigned claims assessor – but she was unavailable and would call me back…that was 2 days ago….I have heard nothing.

This has got me thinking about customer ‘needs’ versus customer ‘wants’. Obviously, I ‘want’ my claim to be accepted and my lens replaced at no extra cost to me. This may or may not be possible under the terms of my agreement with the insurer – I get that, and I’m prepared to be disappointed. What I ‘need’ is much simpler. I need the insurer to respond quickly to me so that I can sort out a new lens and get back to my photography. I need their communications to be clear, their processes to be simple, and their handling of my claim to be transparent. If I don’t get what I ‘want’, I can live with that. But if the insurer fails to meet my needs, I’ll be mad. I’ll lose faith and trust in the brand. I’ll feel like changing insurers, and if I am asked how likely I am to recommend the company to others, the answer will be a resounding NOT VERY!

This is something we hear time and time again in the feedback we receive. Customers clearly articulating their appreciation for the basics: communication, simplicity, transparency, empathy. Do customers who have had a disappointing outcome regularly give ratings of ten out of ten? Maybe not, but look beyond the ratings, to the comments, and you’ll find that if the customer’s needs were met, the customer remains loyal. I was disappointed with the outcome but the process was straightforward. Or, the staff member I dealt with was great, even if she couldn’t give me the answer I wanted. The good news for businesses is, this stuff is not magic. It’s actually pretty simple. Work hard at always understanding what your customers need from you. And be single minded about delivering on that. That’s the way to drive loyalty and build trust.