At the 2018 CLM/Business Insurance Retail, Restaurant and Hospitality Conference a panel discusssed the importance of the customer experience in the claims process and how this can impact perceptions of your brand. The panel included:
- Tracy Carr – Senior Account Manager; Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc.
- Daniel Flores – Global Claims Coordinator; Whole Foods Market
- Lori Freedman – Claims and Risk Consultant; Wortham Insurance and Risk Managment
The focus of Whole Foods is quality standards for everything that they sell. They review the ingredients on all products that they sell to make sure they meet their standards in terms of what is and what is not in them. The brand experience is extremely important to Whole Foods. They also try to engage actively in the community and participate in a number of charitable endeavors on their community.
Their culture is also very important to them and they want all employees and customers to benefit from their culture. They also expect their injured employees and customers with claims to feel the culture as part of the claims experience.
One of the challenges Whole Foods faced was having a consistent approach with customer claims on the general liability side because so much was done on a store or regional level. They have now centralized these efforts so that the approach can be consistent. Their TPA has a dedicated team which further adds to this consistent approach. The TPA never loses sight of the fact that Whole Foods wants their customers to keep coming back so they want them to have a positive experience even with a claim.
Often times the customer claims are minor and they just want to vent and feel like someone cares about them. Most of their claims settle with a gift card. Using gift cards to resolve retail claims makes happy customers and also increases sales in the stores. It really creates a win-win situation for both the customer and the retailer.
On the workers’ compensation side, they try to treat their injured workers just like they would treat a customer with a claim. They have an information brochure they send out to injured workers which helps them understand the workers’ comp process and puts them at ease. They also have an email address at Whole Foods which injured team members can reach out to with any questions about their claim and they will get them answers. Having this contact person at the employer helps to keep the injured worker engaged with the company culture. They also try to go the extra mile for their injured team members and work closely with the TPA to ensure they receive the best possible care and that they work hard to maintain the relationship with the worker.
They started a telephonic nurse triage program and they are also working with telemedicine where possible to ensure their injured workers receive the appropriate care timely while also keeping an eye on costs and avoiding unnecessary emergency room visits.
Whole Foods tries to bring any injured worker back to the job as soon as possible and they have a strong focus on providing modified duty work when needed.
Their relationship with all their workers’ compensation vendors is extremely important to them. They work with all their vendors to be as efficient and effective as possible while also maintaining a focus on their company culture.