On February 25, J.D. Power issued a news release with the following lead (excerpted):

For the first time in five years, customer satisfaction among homeowners filing a property claim has slipped, largely driven by declines in satisfaction with the total settlement and service interactions.

Bad news across the industry, right?

Not necessarily. This dark cloud has a silver lining — against the backdrop of the industry’s five-point decline, satisfaction with Safeco’s property claims increased by 10%. That means we outperformed the industry by 15 percentage points. This remarkable achievement is the direct result of your patience and partnership over the past several years.

Two years ago we launched multiple initiatives aligned to address the following specific, customer interactions:

  • I felt reassured from my very first contact
  • You were available and returned my call quickly
  • Things unfolded just as you said they would
  • I understood my claim payment and felt fairly treated
  • The whole process was fast and you made it easy for me

These initiatives are consistent with the J.D. Power study criteria, and five of the six show marked improvement. With this playbook to guide our decisions and action toward delivering peace of mind, it’s no coincidence that our numbers are up. We’re currently experiencing an all-time high in Safeco customer satisfaction scores, the result of having enabled claims professionals whose training and goals are focused on improving the customer experience.

Even more encouraging than study findings and customer satisfaction measurements is the feedback we’re getting from policyholders. I can tell you that we’re currently getting more “happy-gram” emails from customers in one week than we used to get in an entire quarter.

Here’s an excerpt from a recent favorite, after Safeco’s Nick Buller handled a claim resulting from a grease fire in Denver:

Nick is a person that not only demonstrates your company’s values but far exceeds them. He sets the bar very high in his professionalism and how he delivers what is better than exceptional customer service. He quickly put our fears and concerns to rest. His communication was respectful…He kept us informed every step of the way through the process, and his “I got this handled” attitude put any anxiety we had to rest.

The note goes on to explain that, because of the degree to which Nick exceeded expectations and embodied Safeco’s mission and values — which the policyholder actually looked up on our web site prior to writing the letter — the happy customer is contacting his independent agent to move his other home and auto policies to Safeco.

Of course there is still a lot of work to do. Being an industry leader is a good start, but we won’t stop until we are the industry leader. With your continued partnership and our team of claims professionals dedicated to delivering peace of mind, I have no doubt we’ll get there.

 

Toby Rollins is senior vice president for property and catastrophe claims