Back in 1969, Sedgwick was a relatively small regional insurance claims administrator; today it’s a global brand across 65 countries. But one thing hasn’t changed - its mission remains to support individuals and businesses get back on their feet after unexpected crises, from fire to flood and everything in-between - and tech plays a huge part.
As Christopher Carlton, Director, Sedgwick Repair Solutions, told the recent Salesforce Live event in London:
It's about customer experience. It's about clarity and the ability [to recover] for our customers, all of whom generally are in a position that they didn't choose to be in, whether they've had a fire or flood or damage to a building that they occupy or own. To us, it's about an evolving market, where [it's about] instant information, instant access to the next step - what's going to happen, when will it happen and who will be doing it? So, connectivity and communication is critical. The challenge for us, because we're one of many parties that are imposed in an insurance claim, we need to make sure that everyone's kept informed at the right time so that things move forward.
What this means is that data is critical to how Sedgwick operates, he said:
We work in an area where there's lots of technical detail, lots of pricing information. We are ultimately spending our time and money on their behalf to get customers back home or back in business, so having the ability to drill into data, to understand and get an insight into what we do and what others do, helps us focus and forge what we do in the future for our business. That's something that we've been through over the last 18-24 months as we brought in Salesforce. We looked at what information can we get out of it to help not just ourselves, but colleagues, clients, and the 70+ contractors that are on our network across the UK. It's about how can we use the data we gather to give them information to help them be more efficient and operate in a more structured way.
As Carlton noted, the firm has adopted Salesforce as a key tech provider to support its business objectives:
We started two years ago looking at replacing a legacy system that was 15, 20 years old, had not been updated for years. We went with Salesforce. Our core focus at the start of it was about making claims easy for everyone. That's what our internal mantra is. That's not just for colleagues - it's for clients and customers and also the contractors in our network. If you get the basics right and you make things simple, then you can deliver a better product because people can understand it. People can adapt to it and they can work with it and move forward.
The Salesforce platform has been in place since November last year and has, according to Carlton, won over a difficult user demographic:
If you come across builders and contractors, they are naturally skeptical, and they all said to us, 'This looks wonderful, but I don't think it will change what will happen to us'. The feedback we've had over the last six weeks, eight weeks when we did a survey with them, is that the system is delivering on operational benefits for them and efficiencies. For us, with clients and customers that are in need, my aim was to give our colleagues more time to do their job and to do it well.
It’s also led to cost savings and growth opportunities, he added:
What that's led to is natural efficiencies, which is a cost saving per se, but also growth, because we won some new business this year on the back of the platform that we have now. Clients can see the digitalization that we've got, the increased use of video, the flow of information, things that go hand-in-hand with having a simple system and a simple approach to how we do things to get the right outcome and service at the end for people. To me, it's got to be a mixture of both. We don't go in and spend money just for the sake of spending money, we want return from it, but that return isn't always financial. It's sometimes in colleagues experience of coming to work and the end customers user view. That then delivers the growth that we're looking for and the cost efficiencies that come alongside it.
As for future plans, there are some clear goals ahead, said Carlton:
Our priorities are about keeping the focus on helping people, our customizability and clarity for our clients as to what information is required to do the next step in their insurance claim, be it getting their property repaired, be it getting them back home. Aligned to that is integration. We work with over 50 major UK and global insurers, so it's about how can we integrate ourselves with them to make it easier for them to gather information and give them visibility as to what's going on across their portfolio of work, so that they can make informed decisions alongside us.
It's about making sure that we share the right information at the right time for people, without losing that core focus on how do we help customers, how do we get them back home or back in business and back in a position as quick as possible before they had a loss, and keep that continuity for them throughout the process.