If your customers were to write you an honest letter about what they were feeling and what their concerns were, what would you do?
In his monthly column for Insurance Nerds, Richmond-based employee engagement and internal brand communications expert Ben Baker shares his insights into how to communicate value effectively, so people want to listen and engage. In the end, it’s about creating influence through trust.
Dear Insurance Industry:
As someone who has been a partner in your success for decades, and has invested in our mutual success, I wanted to take a few minutes and write to you about some concerns.
I know that you are busy and may not have time to read this letter right now, but I hope that you will invest your time, to gain some insights about what is going on right now in the minds of your loyal customers.
We are concerned, strike that, really concerned about the lack of communication from you about what is happening now and how it is affecting us?
Yes, we get updates regularly about how you are cleaning your office and how people are coming back to the office slowly and that we need to be patient, but truthfully, that is the least of our concerns.
What we care about is how our world has changed, and if the money that we have invested in insurance over the years and decades would cover us for the scary things that are presenting themselves today.
We are all seeing the lawsuits starting to pile up about business disruption insurance, and the immediate response from the industry is that, of course, COVID-19 is not covered, because of one loophole or another. So, it has us thinking. . . what else did we assume we were covered for, and are not?
Are the policies that we have paid in full worth the money we paid for them?
Are we, our businesses, our families (and yes, employees are family too) covered, or are we living under a false sense of security?
For instance, an employee is out making a delivery and gets into a car accident that is not their fault, the person gets out of the car to exchange information and infects my employee with COVID-19, what happens next?
That employee could be critical to the success of our company and certainly to the success of their family. Are they covered for the time they have to take off, let alone the medical costs that could be incurred?
What if an employee is working from home and is self-isolating because they do not know if they are infected or not because they are still waiting for the test results? The UPS driver shows up, rings the doorbell, the employee does not think, opens the door, sneezes, and infects the driver. Is the company liable? Are we covered?
The problem is, as an industry, the lack of real information coming forward to explain, in plain and simple terms, how COVID-19 has affected our policies and what we should do to mitigate risks has been abysmal.
There needs to be more effective communication that speaks to the issues affecting policyholders in terms of the realities of today and how those changes affect lives, businesses, and livelihoods.
There needs to be better two-way communication. First, to seek out what questions people have and then provide answers in clear and concise language using mediums that people find helpful and relevant. Burying the information on page 237 on your website does not help.
What can you do today?
You can take reports like this and re-purpose them in meaningful ways. Translate them so that they speak to your audience and answer the questions that they have.
You can have an open forum webinar for your clients with lots of time for questions and answers. When you do answer, answer in plain language, not insurance speak and verify that the person asking the question understands the answer and that it helps.
You can create short videos that speak to specific questions clients have asked you and post them on your website.
You can create a podcast that enables you to talk directly to customers, vendors, strategic partners, and employees and solve problems using insights from multiple sources.
What you cannot do is keep doing what you have been doing, which is not communicating effectively and addressing the fears and concerns that those who have built this industry are voicing.
Now is the time to be listening to your clients and advising them as to how the changes are affecting them, their livelihoods, families, and lives. Now is the time to speak in plain language so that you are listened to, understood and valued.
The alternative is to keep doing what you are doing and when policies come up for renewal watch as your business moves over to those who have heeded this warning.
One who hopes that they never have to test whether their insurance truly covers them or not.
Ben Baker wants to help you engage, retain, and grow your most valuable asset…your employees. He provides workshops and consulting to enable staff to understand, codify, and communicate their value effectively internally and externally and Retain Employees Through Leadership. The author of Powerful Personal Brands: A Hands-On Guide to Understanding Yours and the host of the iHeart Radio syndicated YourLIVINGBrand.live show, he writes extensively on brand and communication strategy.
Ben’s complimentary online course, Know – Like – Trust: The Basis to Start Any Relationship, is now available. Click here to access the course.