As we strive to exceed customers’ expectations, occasional problems are inevitable. A real opportunity resides in how we handle these scenarios. Our actions can make the difference between losing business and earning longtime loyalty.
Complaints come to us in a variety of ways. A policyholder may vent to a contact center operator. A broker may send a strongly worded email to an underwriter or business development manager. We’ve even seen policyholders contact the AIG Board of Directors to voice displeasure. Regardless of how an issue presents itself, the first person to receive it has the power to transform the entire experience for the better. This responsibility lies with all of us, even if customer service is not part of your formal job description.
So if you receive a complaint, what should you do?
1) Approach all situations with kindness.
Complaints don’t necessarily mean we’ve done something wrong, but everyone wants their frustrations recognized and their voices heard. Letting too much time pass before acknowledging a complaint or responding without empathy can exacerbate the issue. Show people that we care about their well-being and will make every reasonable effort to please them. It matters!
2) Communicate through resolution.
Transparency can often diffuse a contentious situation. For example, recently a broker expressed frustration about the way we had invoiced a new customer. We quickly assembled a meeting with Operations, Billing and Underwriting to investigate the matter and determine how best to resolve it. After several conversations and status updates spanning a 24-hour period, the issue was resolved to the broker’s satisfaction. We also sent an apology letter to the policyholder to reinforce how much we value their business.
3) Anticipate potential concerns.
Much like PCG’s overall approach to risk management, it’s better to prevent negative situations than recover from them. If you suspect something in your day-to-day work could lead to dissatisfaction, talk to your manager and/or Carlo Crudele about ways to address concerns up front rather than waiting to see if problems arise.