HSA’s third Survey of Bill Review in Workers’ Comp and Auto is done – final editing is in process and we’ll have the report out shortly. There’s one key takeaway – it’s all about customer service.
We will dig into the details next week, but first a couple thoughts about “customer service.”
The core of customer service is this: the customer wants to feel valued, that they are important to the seller. There are two basic ways of achieving that – thru organizational policy and by individual employee actions.
I fly American Airlines a lot, and almost exclusively. I’ve long figured that it’s best to have some “status” with an airline because something bad will inevitably happen and when it does you need some stature to get any help at all. In general, that works out. But of late, the “value” of my loyalty has dropped considerably. While I’m still piling up the miles, American seems to have made the corporate decision that it is now “Too Big To Care.”
AA is the world’s largest airline, flies everywhere, and probably thinks it can do what it pleases and we’ll just have to deal with it.
Verizon has a similar Too Big to Care perspective. As the dominant wireless carrier, they are all about maximizing revenue from each customer, and in my experience give their service staff little leeway to fix problems or come up with creative solutions.
USAA has long had a reputation as the best personal lines insurer, but of late it’s customer focus seems to have been shoved aside in favor of snappy TV ads during football games. You have to put your dollars somewhere, and it’s cool to be an exec in a company your neighbors see on the tube.
These three organizations are surveying me all the time about service, about how smiley the flight attendants are, how fast they answered the phone, whether I was happy or not with the encounter with customer service.
These are questions intended to rate, reward, and penalize the folks on the phone, at the counter, at the airport. Instead, the should be asking customers what upset them about the service or how they change their policies to do better.
Because most times it’s not the person, it’s the policy.
For example – Dumb corporate edicts about closing flight doors 10 minutes before “departure” time may help on-time performance stats, but they piss off late arriving customers. The bigwigs are missing the point – who cares about on-time performance if you can’t get on the damn plane?
What these companies are missing is understanding that people care about how they are treated as individuals, which means these huge organizations have to give their service people the leeway, training, and flexibility to solve the customer’s problem.
And this isn’t apologizing and offering to rebook on another flight sometime in the next couple of days in seats by the rear restroom. It is keeping the plane’s doors open, or giving a credit when a customer misreads a confusing policy or doesn’t exactly comply with a process designed to make the seller’s workflow easier.
So, what does this all have to do with bill review?
These three companies are all Too Big To Care.
With consolidation increasing in work comp, it’s possible some vendors may get Too Big To Care. In fact, it’s likely.
That opens up opportunities for others, for companies that understand what patients, providers, employers want and need, and give their front-line staff the ability to deliver on those wants and needs.
What does this mean for you?
Customer service starts with understanding that customers want to feel like you care. It’s a ton of work to figure this out, but the rewards are long, stable, and profitable customer relationships.