How Corporate Culture Drives Customer Experience

May 31, 2024

Jennifer RoncaSenior VP of Operations, Unica Insurance

In the insurance industry, particularly during hard market cycles, the blend of a positive attitude and expert know-how distinguishes exceptional service from mediocre. It comes down to how we manage through the difficulties and create experiences that leave customers feeling heard and confident they’re dealing with professionals who care about their business. 

Certainly good processes, ease of doing business, valued products and adequate pricing all play a role. But without a positive attitude, the customer experience falls short. The expression attitude is everything is very applicable in our industry and should be demonstrated in every customer interaction.  

We’re both givers and receivers of service on a regular basis, expecting high standards that we’re hard pressed to fulfill at the checkout counter, the information desk or navigating the queue. In fact, it often feels that when we have a positive service experience it can seem like good luck, highlighting our tendency to overlook our accountability as service providers. If you have the courage to speak openly with friends and family about their service experiences when dealing with our industry, be it a claim, switching insurance carriers or securing coverage for their hard to place risk, it can reveal gaps between our perceived service quality and the reality of the experience.  

It takes courage to recognize these gaps. We’re often too busy to find the time to do so. But it’s important to pause and think of how our industry is doing from the perspective of insurance consumers. Are we outperforming other industries, or just keeping pace?  Employing methods like mystery shopping and Net Promoter Scores (NPS) can provide important and definitive insights. But if you want to make an immediate impact, start with your team.  

Insurance professionals are striving to excel while facing significant challenges like staffing shortages, system changes, shifting market appetites, personal and economic pressures. But I’ve always believed that people get up in the morning aspiring to have a successful and fulfilling day. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to nurture this optimism and build on the momentum.  

We can begin with patience, authenticity, positivity, kindness and understanding, and always put people first. It starts with leadership teams, filters through organizations and moves into the customer experience. When leaders take the time to engage with the frontline, sharing plans, strategies and goals, it instills a sense of value and appreciation. This engagement strengthens team confidence and provides inspiration for a supportive and extraordinary customer service environment.  

Exceptional service doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s not the outcome of a timed call and it certainly won’t be cultivated in a negative corporate culture. It comes from within, from our intrinsic motivation, and it manifests as an energy strong enough to influence and build a positive attitude and environment across the organization. With the right tools, that energy will create the magic of a great customer service experience.  

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