The Insurance Sector has made significant strides on Customer Management in the last decade, but is still behind other sectors, specifically in customer management skills, customer development planning, and the use of customer data. Insurers and brokers working in corporate/major risks will acknowledge that they have some way to go to meet the expectations of their major global clients on coordinated customer management across a global relationship. The reasons for the insurance market being in catch up mode on customer management are varied, but 2 key factors are:
- Product orientation, due in significant part to results being presented, and staff appraised, by line of business (‘silos’).
- Limitations of systems and data platforms to offer ‘one view of the customer’.
Some insurers and brokers have been more oriented to Customer Management, others more to products and business lines, but most reasonably diversified market players do Customer Management for key clients in one way or another.
Significantly, clients give similar weight to Customer Management as to the longer established key functions - Underwriting; Claims; Risk Engineering; Operations/Service Delivery.
‘In our company our client facing people speak for the group and have access to data on our global relationship with key clients – we would find it odd that they wouldn’t – so we don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the same from our brokers and insurers’. Risk Manager of FTSE 100 company
Customer Management done well is a demanding and multi-skilled role.
Professionals with experience in other disciplines can be moved into CM roles, but they are likely to need training and guidance in the more broadly based business and customer interaction skills required.
Clients appreciate regular but relevant dialogue, information and insight, not just around renewal dates – CMs who take trouble to keep them in the picture.
‘Why do I only hear from my insurer and broker when the renewal review comes up?’. For global clients, the scope of the CM role should (where possible) operate across the global relationship – insurers and brokers offer ‘global programmes’, so are expected to engage with the customer globally. Clients appreciate a global perspective and are looking for coordinated capacity delivered where the deal is transacted, rather than piecemeal.
On service, transparency, clarity, and management of clients’ expectations are key - ‘No surprises’; clear service standards; follow through on promises. Client facing people shouldn’t be tempted to commit to something the company can’t deliver, or feel they have to say yes to everything the customer asks for – good CRM is a 2-way street.
For more information on our consultancy and coaching services in Client Management and Client Engagement, contact our Consultancy Team.
Jonathan Harradine, Director
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