What if Your Customers Can’t Be Trusted?
post # 398 — July 5, 2007 — a Client Relations post
I was participating in a discussion with a group of executives, when an insurance company CEO pointed out that, according to their market research, about 30 percent of their customers acknowledged that they would “cheat” on an insurance claim. (He didn’t elaborate on the precise details: it wasn’t that kind of meeting.)
But assume his research is correct: what is the appropriate company response? In most cases, as we know, companies will then get very suspicious of ALL of their customer claims (they can’t know which 30 percent are untrustworthy) and you end up with bureaucracy and MUTUAL distrust, which quickly spirals down.
Insurance companies get a bad rap (Hurricane Katrina, Mike Moore’s new film – Sicko) for too often denying claims. But the fault is not just on one side, is it?
Put yourself in the shoes of being an insurance company exceutive. Is there a middle ground between over-trusting a customer base which will exploit your goodwill 30 percent of the time, and acting defensively all the time and coming across to everyone as non-responsive?
There’s clearly a difference bewteen what you wold do as an individual, on-on-one, when you can take it case-by-case. But what do you do if you’re a corporation, trying to work across the country or internationally with hundreds of thousands of customers. What policies do you put in place, and how do you train your front-line people?