By R. Christopher Haines, President and CEO
Your insurance company is everything you ever hoped it would be. You’ve got nice products to offer your policyholders. You offer a variety of coverage options that not many can compete with. You treat your producers fairly and pay good commissions. And most of all, you’re profitable. Everyone’s happy.
Your brand is strong in the market. This didn’t happen by accident. You’re very deliberate in how you manage the brand. You hire the best resources, internal and/or external, to manage your marketing. Every message that leaves your company is reviewed with a fine-tooth comb. Everything is planned, and nothing is left to chance.
You don’t stop there. Your employees understand they’re brand managers and how their customer service affects the brand. They’ve been lectured on how their actions in public and on social media may affect the company. Your image is pristine. Or at least you think it is.
The systems you use have issues. Have you ever stopped to consider how technology issues affect your brand? What do your customers and producers think if you have a system issue that causes their invoices to be wrong? What about a rating error that causes you to send out updated policy documents and a letter explaining the screw-up? What if your producers sell for multiple companies, and your portal is the most complicated to use? Will they still go to the trouble of using yours because they like you? Is your policyholder portal too difficult for anyone to use? Does it lack the functionality that your competition offers? Is your brand strong enough to outweigh these issues?
When you think your systems don’t need to be tested, maybe you’d better think about your brand. Can your image be everything you want it to be if your systems are riddled with issues? Or if IT challenges are keeping you from offering the kinds of things in your systems other companies do, what effect is this having? Maybe it’s time to view software testing and the quality of your technology as a part of your brand management strategy.
While it might be something you’ve never considered, system issues might be undermining everything you want your company to be. Don’t be naïve enough to think they can’t have an effect.
You never know: It might just destroy your brand.