When real people give genuine care
(The Philippine Star) - June 28, 2018 - 5:07pm

There is technology and we will definitely see it advance more in the foreseeable future. And then there’s personal touch which will remain to be in-demand far into the future.

This is the reason why for organizations across industries, there is an ongoing balancing act between employing the efficiency of technology and the calming presence of the human touch.

Nothing comes closest to this experience as that in the customer service realm wherein robots, for most part of the business world, have taken over.

At Insular Life, however, an organization that prides itself as a leader in customer service and strong in digital technology among local life insurers, there are areas that are just too precious to be left to machines.

“I hope Insular Life will not change this,” said Reynaldo Ubanos, a client from Ilocos Sur.

When Rey called up Insular Life to inquire about the policy details of his mother, he had already prepared himself to talk to a computer that pretends to be human.

“After calling the customer service number, immediately I got somebody to answer my call,” he said. Rey explained that he’s so used to dealing with robots whenever he calls a hotline and that this sometimes make him drop the call.

The human touch

Most organizations will probably find using Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVRS) as a panacea in customer service. Besides, these talking programs are efficient, cost less to manage, and do not complain.

They also do not complement nor do they understand the human emotions.

“We did away with our IVRS because we did not have a lot of calls serviced through that channel. We found that more of our clients would like to get in touch with us through online, mainly the Customer Portal in our website. So, we’ve improved our portal adding more functions, and very easy DIY services. At the same time we maintained people in the phone lines as there are still a lot of people who like to talk directly to a person at the other line. And so, we satisfy both types of customers,” said Insular Life Executive Chairman Nina D. Aguas.

It is necessary for an insurance company to be in touch with its clients because, most of the time, the calls are sensitive and would require both the understanding of complex requirements and empathy – an ability that machines do not have.

“In my more than 10 years as a client, Insular Life has never failed to provide me with exceptional service. Regardless of the nature of my requests or inquiries, I have always been treated like a VIP,” said Dei-Ivy Labad, a policyholder from Cebu.

Dei said the personal touch, the genuine concern from the people who handle her account, from the service officers to the customer reps, all have “given me the best possible help.”

“Thank you for the genuine care I have consistently experienced since day one with you,” she said.

Across the ocean

For many years Julito Hidalgo has resided abroad where he established his livelihood – and family – in the land of opportunity in southern California. Just like many Filipinos before him, Julito has imagined the American dream and actually found himself living it.

But no matter the material affluence he might have achieved in today’s land of milk and honey, there will always be a tug in his heart calling him to come back to his homeland until he settles some unfinished business.

But he kept delaying it because he anticipates a hard time with his mother’s insurer.

“My mother, Julita, had a small life insurance policy with Insular Life. My other siblings had already filed their claim years ago. In my case, I live in Los Angeles California and it was a tedious and arduous process to file my claim. Thus, I procrastinated until I had a chance to visit Manila,” said Julito.

It surprised him that Insular Life attended thoroughly to his case with dispatch, throwing away his earlier prejudice that his claim will take forever.

“I just wanted to give kudos to these people who made my experience with Insular Life a pleasant and delightful one. These people expeditiously assisted me in processing my claim. They are truly great ambassadors of your company,” Rey said.

Pleasant attitude

Perhaps what really sets Insular Life apart is that its people are product experts with a pleasant disposition to handle all forms of customer concerns.

Ask Maria Celeste Rodil, a policyholder, and she will tell you that getting reacquainted with her policy details turned out to be an enjoyable experience.

“The customer rep who attended to me understood where I am coming from; he knew that he had to review the available information with me. It was evident that he is knowledgeable and a clear communicator,” she added.

Maria further added that her customer rep encouraged questions, making her feel that she deserved all the attention.

The same can be said with the experience of Jennifer Abierras.

In Insular’s feedback portal, she praised Insular Life’s Automated Underwriting System (AUS) and the people who assisted her in the AUS.

The AUS is Insular’s most advanced, award-winning digital portal and a game changer in the industry.

However, despite the company investing substantial financial resources on its technological infrastructure, it always does so in parallel with employee and advisor training.

“With the AUS my application (for insurance policy) took a few clicks to get approved. It brought me closer to the life I want. I can simply track and check my policies online. I am proud that I am a part of the Insular Life family. Being a part of this company gives me a feeling of security, and I trust that my investment is in good hands,” she said.

Reinvesting profits

It is said that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. This is the case for Tony Palenzuela who swears by the good fortune he’s found both in his personal life and in his investments.

A retired captain of international gas tankers, Tony is a savvy investor who took time to study and invest the stock market. Ultimately, he opted to re-allocate a substantial part of his portfolio for his retirement fund thru Insular Life in 2003.

“I am thankful to my agent because without her I would not have invested in Insular Life. (This investment) nag-i-income, tapos later meron pa siyang dividends, bibigyan kang 100,000, 200,000,” Tony explained.

Insular Life a viable option for Tony because he wanted to ensure that his final expenses will be taken care of to spare his family from possible hardships. That his portfolio made handsome returns, plus huge cash dividends throughout its policy years made this decision even better.

“I am re-investing the proceeds from my matured policy to one of your funds, in Wealth Builder,” he told his Insular Life customer rep just moments after cashing in his policy which he bought 15 years ago.

“I lived part of my life in the United States, and I know how it is with our kababayans. Wherever we may be in the world, we should take care of our retirement – there are many expenses, such as medical expenses waiting in old age. I am happy I have Insular Life.”

Inlife for good

Insular Life’s business is to do what is good because it answers to a higher purpose.

It is for this reason that in 2017, the organization reechoed this ethos through a new tagline: Inlife for Good. Inlife is the blending of Insular and Life, and the tagline Inlife for good affirms the Company’s purpose for its policyholders, its other stakeholders, and the country.

But even before Inlife verbalized its core belief in a new corporate handle, Inlife has always been a paragon of customer service with a heart – its people truly care.

Clients describe their experience as “smooth”, “knowledgeable,” the best ever”, in the same breath as “thank you,” “do not change”, “it was a pleasure,” and “attentive.”

When we see people helping others or when somebody felt reassured by the soothing presence of genuine help, it’s called a “wow” experience.

And this starts by simply picking up the phone and talking to our customer service – anywhere you may be in the world.

“Big corporations think chatbots are the biggest invention ever. Big mistake,” said Ms. Aguas. “We have our people and they are ready to take your call.”

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with