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3 Ways State Farm® Is Using Real-Time Customer Feedback to Drive Satisfaction

Real-Time Customer Feedback

Gathering real-time customer feedback via surveys has helped State Farm® to quickly fix pain points and elevate the customer experience.

Customer expectations are continuously evolving. That’s become all the more true, and it’s clear that this is a trend that’s not going away anytime soon. Amid an environment full of unknowns and constant change, one thing that’s certain is there’s never been a greater urgency for brands across industries to address these evolving customer needs — in the moment.

A pioneer in customer-centricity, insurance leader State Farm® joined thousands of industry professionals at the world’s largest InsurTech event in October, ITC Global 2020, to share how they’re using real-time feedback to enhance customer experience and, ultimately, grow their business.

Over the years, State Farm has used various tactics to gather feedback from customers to enhance their experiences. But in recent years, the brand has recognized the need to speed access to insights — to uncover opportunities faster.

“We recognized there was a gap in terms of our pace of getting this feedback, then synthesizing it, and using it in a manner that’s helpful to us,” said Fawad Ahmad, State Farm Senior Vice President & Chief Digital Officer.

That’s why, starting in 2019 the brand adopted a new strategy: gathering real-time customer feedback via surveys.

In 2020 alone, the company deployed 3.7 million surveys via email and received over 600,000 responses, about a 16% response rate, which is higher than their previous approach. Not only that, they’ve rolled out bilingual surveys to reach a growing Spanish-speaking customer base and democratized access to key customer data to a team of over 6,500 State Farm associates.

Here are three powerful use cases State Farm shared for adopting real-time customer feedback.

Real-time customer feedback use case #1: Product improvements

It’s an all too familiar scenario. You’re trying to complete a form, make a payment, or get to the next step in a process online — and you get stuck. For whatever reason, the website or app just isn’t working.

That was the case for one State Farm customer, who shared feedback about the issue. And that feedback empowered the product team to fix the problem to improve the experience for other customers immediately, thanks to a real-time feedback loop State Farm has set up so that the right team members can act on the voice of the customer in the moment.

Real-time customer feedback use case #2: Customer service coaching and motivation

While in the past team members had to spend time listening to old phone calls to uncover customer insights, today State Farm employees can get instant access to a full day’s worth of feedback in minutes. That means rather than waiting until the end of the month to share dated customer outcomes, now managers can share feedback on a day-to-day basis.

To help coach customer service team members in the moment…

Such as with this real customer comment:

  • “The conversation was not very personable. It was not clear on what my expectations should be for the process, and how to use the app to submit my claim wasn’t super helpful.” 

…and to help team members feel appreciated and recognized.

Such as with these real customer comments:

  • “Everything was explained really clearly and all of the information was helpful. I was even helped out with all of the steps I needed to do. It was simple on my end. The tone of voice was friendly and made me feel less intimidated with having to talk to them over the phone.”
  • “My State Farm representative was put in my life to help me get back on track. I don’t think our paths will ever cross again but I thank her for being there for a stranger.”

Countless messages are filled with gratitude, something the company uses to reinforce its slogan — Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there® — with employees.

Real-time customer feedback use case #3: Innovations in pricing and payment options

In addition to solving individual customer pain points, State Farm is always looking to address macro trends. At the start of the pandemic, the brand paid close attention to customer feedback via surveys, conducted direct interviews with customers, and monitored social media comments. They recognized something new unfolding: People were driving less and wondering why their rates were the same.

“This helped us get micro and macro feedback to react quickly to help customers,” said Jon Farney, Senior Vice President, Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer for State Farm.

In response to customers driving less and claims experience reflecting that change in behavior, the company rolled out the Good Neighbor Relief Program to return value to customers and:

  • Paid approximately $2 billion in dividends back to customers for a period of time when they were driving less
  • Reduced the company’s rates by an average of about 11% countrywide, amounting to $2.2 billion in savings for customers (in addition to the $2 billion in dividends the company paid)
  • Offered new flexible payment options for customers experiencing financial hardship

Customer experience matters

“Customers don’t just measure their experience at State Farm against State Farm or against other insurers,” said Farney. “Their expectations continue to grow because of all the different types of interaction they have in so many different parts of their lives.”

That’s why State Farm is investing time, energy, and resources to be able to better serve its customers, he added.

Interested in learning more about how your company can benefit from a digital customer experience strategy? Download Medallia’s eBook “Stay Ahead of Tomorrow: The Executive’s Guide to Life After Digital Transformation” to learn how engaging in the moment can drive your business forward.