In just six weeks we’re going to be entering the final quarter of 2017. Crazy, isn’t it? This year, avoid the fourth quarter rush before “silly season” kicks off by putting plans in place to optimise your workflow and communicate annual increases to your clients – leaving you with more time in the fourth quarter to plan for 2018.
Snail Mail just doesn’t move fast enough
Annual increases in premiums can sneak up on you. Even though the original contract or policy document are required to detail any annual escalations, from a compliance point of view, we are required to communicate and notify our clients of any change to their premium and confirm the new amount within a reasonable time frame. In the past, the preferred method of communication was printed letters mailed to the clients’ postal address, sometimes with a secondary electronic follow-up mail.
Unfortunately this process is flawed for a few reasons. The first being that there is no control within the SA Postal Service’s process to confirm that the client received the letter, and the second is that we don’t receive any confirmation from the client that they have received or read the notice.
Sending these letters is costly, and it’s actually done more to ensure that we remain compliant with industry rules and regulations so that we can “tick the relevant box”. It doesn’t necessarily add value to our clients or improve our service to them. We asked ourselves: “What if we manage this process more cost effectively and efficiently, where we create an opportunity for clients to communicate back to us so that we can deal with their queries and concerns immediately?” Taking a proactive approach not only improves client relations and retention, but it also creates an opportunity to schedule annual reviews and update the client’s cover.
Speed up the process with AVM
Our solution is to utilise AVM (Automated Voice Messaging) to communicate any annual premium increases. You can read more about the benefits of AVM in our previous article. In summary, this is a cost-effective way to communicate with your customers within a short period of time through an interactive voice message. The message provides personalised information relevant to each client, monitors and directs the responses received, and then prompts the relevant internal action to deal with their response.
The messages are professionally recorded (preferably by the broker themselves as they have a personal relationship with the client) and based on our experience, should achieve a contact ratio of at least 80%. Depending on the responses and requests for call backs or assistance, one could potentially contact thousands of clients within a few hours. This process is fully compliant as it records exactly which clients listened to the message and how long they interacted.
For those who were not contactable via this method would still require a physical letter of notice. When you weight up the savings in direct costs (AVM can decrease costs by 10-30% depending on the duration of the call and interaction), using AVM just makes sense. Additionally, you will see an overall improvement in turnaround time and a decrease in labour costs required to prepare all those letters.
Put the process in your customers’ hands
Your customers will feel that you have given them an opportunity to respond and a platform to communicate should they wish to do so. Giving them this feeling of control will enhance your existing relationship, while an impersonal letter certainly won’t win you any brownie points.
The entire process is automated and hassle-free for the client, broker, and underwriter – leaving more time to concentrate on finishing up all your final quarter obligations before the holidays start.