Claim analysts – can you relate to feeling like you have more than you can reasonably handle on your daily worklist? Maybe you’ve just had one of those days when you get hit with multiple calls and several emails pulling you in different directions?
I’m willing to bet this type of day is not unique, especially for those of us in the claims management field. What we should always feel certain about, no matter how crazy the day gets, is keeping the CUSTOMER at the top of our “to do” list.
Most of us begin each workday with certain goals in mind. Some days we accomplish everything on our list. Other days we leave without touching anything we had planned to do.
Here’s what I’ve learned over my years in claims management that helps me to prioritize my time and workload with the customer in mind:
1. Building relationships is a top priority.
Before we dive into workload, let’s talk about the customer relationship. It is so important to establish trust in this business. For example, most people have never seen a disability policy or tried to interpret one before experiencing a disabling event. Claimants depend on the claim analyst to help them through the claim process and better understand what to expect.
Confirming eligibility, certifying disability, obtaining updates, navigating the change in definition review, applying for Social Security Disability and understanding how other income benefits will impact their claim is what we do as claim analysts day in and day out. Communicating the process upfront and remembering what the claimant customer may not know is key to building trust and better claims management.
2. Pick up the telephone.
We all feel pressure to respond quickly, and email can be tempting as our first course of action. However, it’s been proven that telephone calls generate better risk management results (read our prior blog about why it pays to pick up the phone).
Is someone expecting a return telephone call with an answer? Even if you don’t have one yet, be sure to follow up so they know you are still working on their question. Most people will understand a delay if they feel they haven’t been forgotten. A proactive callback with an update will prevent an urgent call interruption.
3. Focus on customer needs before all else.
Once the phone calls are addressed, determine if any other customer issues need to be handled. Look for any urgent tasks. These are the tasks that require your immediate attention such as phone calls (you’ve already completed these!), meetings (is that meeting really important?), tasks with tight deadlines (is your boss expecting something from you?), and other issues that require you to take action quickly.
4. Prioritize for optimal flow.
Then you have the important tasks to address. These are steps that keep the claim work “flowing” and moving toward the claim outcome, such as returning to work or confirmation of total disability and everything in between.
There are situations where these tasks take time; we may want to put them aside and deal with those that provide a quick sense of accomplishment. Important tasks are not always urgent (they still need to be completed within a reasonable timeframe before they become urgent), so we may be more likely to postpone them in favor of what requires our immediate attention.
Earn Trust by Prioritizing the Customer
Balancing both urgent and important tasks every workday is important. No one wants to simply put fires out. The workload flow should encompass all tasks that keep your list moving.
Claimants are the ultimate customer in the claim process. At the end of the day, we want to build trust and effectively manage the claim to ensure the right outcome. Putting the customer at the top of our to-do list means focusing on what matters in the big picture – communication and trust.