In a recent interview with Charlotte Clark, Operations Manager for Alexander & Schmidt, Loss Control Forum (LCF) asks Charlotte for her thoughts on communicating with her insurance carrier partners:
LCF: Charlotte, what are the biggest challenges in providing excellence in communications with your insurance company business partners?
Charlotte: First, we have a variety of customers, and each has preferred method of communications and specific content they want included. Some people want a lot of detail, others just want the bottom line of the status. Second, if we add a new Workflow Administrator to our team, we have them get to know the customer—the company and their people—thoroughly and quickly. Our people know when to contact the customer, and when not to do so.
LCF: What tools do you have at your disposal to help you and your staff to meet these challenges?
Charlotte: Certainly phone and email communications are important. All of our customer information is well documented. Our new A&S Risk Assessment Management Program (RAMP) system, which we recently deployed, is proving very helpful in increasing our efficiencies. In a recent audit of 2,300 surveys in the pipeline, 98% of the surveys coming up to due date had statuses updated in the system. Our customers are able to go into the RAMP system and see the status of their requests. Loss Control Managers and Administrators can see all of their requests easily. Individual Underwriters checking the status of their reports can go in and see when the visit has been scheduled, completed, if the report is in QA review, and when the report has been sent. They can also request to have a copy of the report emailed to them. Customers can also view the comments on what has been happening with their request (e.g. problems contacting customer, insured is on vacation, agent involved to schedule appointment).
LCF: What do you feel makes Alexander & Schmidt stand out from other Loss Control companies?
Charlotte: We always provide a prompt response, usually the same day, always within 24 hours of inquiry. We give the customer information when they need it. We understand that the due date is when the customer must have the report. We do hear of other Loss Control providers who hold the work for 30 days, then tell their carrier customers they did not get it done, and need another 30 days.
LCF: In Price Pritchard’s book, Business as Unusual, he mentions often-cited statistics about how “studies show that it costs five times as much to develop a new customer as it costs to keep an existing one.” How does your department help the company to retain business?
Charlotte: We make customer satisfaction the top priority. We form close relationships with our customers. We maintain a professional stance but we also get to know our customers. Not only do we have direct customer contact, we also support the other work groups that do as well. Also important are the 400 highly experienced Loss Control Field Representatives that provide our risk assessments, risk improvement consulting, safety training, and other risk control services.