Challenges: Reducing Phone Time and Text-Enabling Wayne Insurance’s Entire Claims Department
Wayne Insurance is a property and casualty insurer based out of Worcester, Ohio. They've been in operation since 1910, but they’re growing rapidly with 75 employees.
James Suppes is the Claims Vice President at Wayne Insurance. He got his start as a claims rep at Progressive Insurance some 30 years ago. Given his experience, Wayne brought James in to update and revamp their Claims Department’s processes and procedures.
Specifically, the Wayne Insurance Claims Department needed to improve its customer service communication.
“One of our challenges was customer service. We were getting complaints from clients about communication. They’d say ‘I don't know what's going on, I can't reach my adjuster, etc.’ Those were the big problems I tackled when I first got to Wayne.” - James Suppes, Claims Vice President - Wayne Insurance
Each of the 20+ claims adjusters had their own way of engaging with clients on the phone and over email. Before James, Wayne had no set process or system for communicating with clients.
This created poor customer experiences and resulted in challenges like:
James knew there were better channels and ways to streamline and synchronize all of Wayne’s client communication. Specifically, he knew that SMS text messaging has advantages over email and voice.
“When someone calls us, we have to stop what we're doing, handle that call, or the call goes to voicemail. But with texting, you don't actually have to talk to someone. Our people can get what they need without the interruptions of a phone call. That was one of our big challenges. We were getting a lot of phone calls from people asking, ‘What's the status of my claim? What's this? What's my deductible?’”
But, Wayne’s original SMS provider (Textaim) had limitations.
- Textaim didn’t offer SMS inboxes for individual claims reps.
- Wayne couldn’t send texts longer than 160 characters.
- They couldn’t send and receive images from clients.
So James started Googling. He searched for SMS customer service software and found MessageDesk.
“We needed a lot of the modernization of Claims Department processes and procedures, and that's where MessageDesk came in. It gave us functionality that we didn't previously have.”
He met with Ben, one of MessageDesk’s solutions engineers. Ben advised James on how to set up multiple MessageDesk SMS inboxes for each of their Claims Department reps.
“We used to try and call clients. They didn’t have our number saved in their phone so our calls were going straight to voicemail. But with MessageDesk, we simply text them and say, ‘This is so-and-so from Wayne Insurance.’ And our clients go, ‘Oh, that's Wayne. I can text them back at my convenience regarding my claim.’ That’s how our clients want to communicate.”
“Sometimes our clients are traveling. They’re in the car, and they can't write down something, so you ask them, if can they text it to you. They can also text us photos. If they have damage to their car or their home, they can take a few quick photos and text them to us. Before MessageDesk, they’d have to email us. Now, it's instant. Literally, claims adjusters can text clients, they can text back to us, and the adjuster knows what they’re looking at. They even get an additional email alert from MessageDesk prompting them to check text message inbox.”
“Our claims adjusters also like MessageDesk’s pre-saved text message templates. Some of our adjusters also have MessageDesk configured to send automatic out-of-office text messages when an insured sends them a message.”
Once all of Wayne’s 21 claims adjusters were up and running with MessageDesk they started seeing immediate results.
“MessageDesk really sped up the whole communication process for Wayne. It enhanced our communication and saved our people time. Texting gave us another channel besides phone calls or emails. Not everyone checks their emails on a day-to-day basis. But they check their phones and they check their texts on a minute-by-minute basis.”
Specifically, Wayne reduced their daily call volume in a big way.
“The average number of daily phone calls our reps were getting was probably 20 to 25. Now it's around 10 to 12. MessageDesk cut our call volume in half––it wasn't so much the length of the calls as much as the frequency of the calls.”
“We started saving time after we implemented MessageDesk. Especially for our inside auto adjusters who take a lot of phone calls. They're dealing with a lot of different people: auto body shops, rental car companies, and insureds. Texting back and forth with MessageDesk saves them an enormous amount of time––they love it. I don't think they'd do their job without MessageDesk. If we took away texting or MessageDesk it would really slow them down.”
James also noted other secondary benefits that came from implementing MessageDesk. This included transparency and having a record of conversations.
“Now we have documentation of what was said back and forth with the texting. So if an insured, says, ‘You told me this’, I can tell them exactly what was said and have a record of it.”
Wayne Insurance is looking to expand their operations to Indiana next year and they’ll be taking MessageDesk with them.
We asked James if he had any recommendations or advice for other insurance agencies, agents, or claims reps. He had this to say:
“If you don't have a business texting service, like MessageDesk your customers will notice. Being able to text is almost an expectation; you should have it… independent insurance agents who have their own offices don't have a good way to text. They have call centers and people answering phones. They need to be able to text back and forth with their customers, and I know they're having a difficult time doing that. MessageDesk can solve their problems.”