Customer Service Communication Done Right: A USAA Salute!

Heaven knows I've commented enough about poor communication: salespeople who talk more than they listen, healthcare professionals who treat patients like their equipment, and speakers who sound like robots rather than people.

So I'm thrilled to commend those professionals who exceed expectations for excellent communication in delivering customer service. My hat's off to the USAA support team during a recent insurance claim process at my parents' home. From the first interaction to the last, it was as if they were following a customer service communication checklist.

Act 1: I report the claim. The agent on the phone documents it quickly and efficiently, and promises an adjuster would be assigned and would call within 24-48 hours.

Act 2: The assigned adjuster calls within 24 hours to report the day and time (within a half-hour!) that he would arrive to inspect the property. To ensure safety, the adjuster describes the model and color of the truck he'd be driving, and states that he'll be wearing a uniform and name badge upon arrival. Then he overviews the entire process of his inspection, the paperwork process, and approximate date we can expect a settlement check.

Act 3: The adjuster shows up on time--in the manner he describes. He knocks, steps back away from the door to wait for a response, and greets my parents pleasantly, explaining again what he plans to do at their home that morning. After the inspection, he sits down with my elderly father and goes through the entire process and clearly tells him the results of his findings, patiently explains the settlement process, and states the next step toward settlement.

Act 4: The assigned desk agent calls within the timeframe stated by the adjuster (24 hours). A summary of the adjuster's finding is posted online.

Act 5: I call after hours to ask two questions that the summary settlement online does not address. The online agent gives a tentative answer, but says he will confirm and call back within 24 hours with complete answers.

Act 6: The agent DOES call back with complete answers--confirming the information he had given the previous evening.

Act 7: A settlement check is issued promptly 6 days after the adjuster inspected the property.

Act 8: We get the roof repaired and send proof of repairs and the receipt to USAA.

Act 9: Within 12 hours, we receive a call (recorded) confirming that the receipt and proof of repairs indeed came from us, that we are satisfied with the repairs, and that the second half of the settlement being held for depreciation would be released immediately and mailed to my dad.

Act 10: Request for feedback (thumbs up or thumbs down icons) have appeared online each step of the way to make sure all communication between us as customer and the insurance team ran smoothly.

Now that's a real performance! To paraphrase an old Dial soap commercial ("We use Dial soap, don't you wish everybody did?"): Don't you wish every customer service department operated and communicated in a similar customer-focused manner?