How to capture the customer voice to generate new services

Our members tell us what we are good at and where we need to get better. We use feedback from customer satisfaction surveys and industry measurements such as J.D. Power. This information is pure gold because you can dissect it to discover where you need to improve, says David Bano, chief claims officer at Nationwide. It’s like a math equation where you remove pieces to make customer interactions quicker and more convenient.

It’s important to listen to positive and negative feedback equally.

“We use constructive feedback to drive improvement. We use positive feedback to reinforce what we are doing right. Our claims team has almost 8,000 employees, and they are committed to helping people,” he says. “Customer service and innovation go beyond an insurance contract. It’s about solving people’s problems.”

Smart Business spoke with Bano about how to use customer satisfaction to improve overall business.

How do you ensure that feedback gets shared with other relevant departments?

The same team devoted to listening to the voice of customers needs the ability to make process improvements. They can collaborate across the company to create a dynamic service delivery model. Every time you get a new set of information, it should be shared across the team and internalized. You also can look at what other companies are doing and learn from them.

Technology and customer expectations are changing quickly. It’s critical to continue to evolve to serve your customers. Sharing the feedback you receive helps the entire company grow and learn.

Once information is collected, what are the best ways to innovate products or services?

Customer satisfaction should be part of the innovation program to re-engineer your products or services. The most valuable ideas solve multiple problems. Will an activity improve your customer satisfaction, reduce costs or help improve employee engagement? If it hits two of the three, it’s a good idea. If it hits all three, it’s a great idea.

Look for bigger things that solve a large-scale problem. In the insurance industry, that could be hurricane planning or reducing texting while driving. Again, look outside your industry to help drive the right investments into research and testing. It’s also important to work across different functional areas of the company.

It’s hard to focus on tactical problems and also think five to 10 years in the future. One way to address this is to split a team, so one group solves today’s problems and the other group is pointed toward the future. Those strategic thinkers can be the disrupters you need. Think about Amazon, it calls the artillery on itself on a regular basis. It’s an organization that keeps re-inventing itself.

Do certain tools or training make this process easier?

You want to combine strategic thinking with good technology choices that remove redundant work. But it’s important to make sure the technology actually solves the problem. For example, insurance companies are using photo estimating, where a driver takes a photo of his or her damaged car. The problem is it doesn’t see the damage underneath. A better solution that gets to the end of the problem is hail-estimating booths. The machine fires hundreds of lasers at a car to get a completely accurate estimate of the damage.

In any industry, prevention is important. In the insurance industry, insurance companies would like to help avoid incidents that might give rise to claims. Once again, this is where technology is key. For instance, a sensor could detect a water leak if it was placed 1 inch above the basement floor, giving a person the chance to do something before it becomes a serious problem.

You have to look into the future and think about what products or services will be needed to not only solve problems, but also prevent them from occurring in the first place. For instance, as transportation needs change, it may be better to have insurance that follows a person, not the vehicle, because maybe they don’t want a car, they only want a ride.

Technology is changing the landscape, but it’s important to incorporate the customer voice to ensure all your products and services provide the best experience. At Nationwide, we call that being “On Your Side.”

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