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Going the extra mile to help a client

His openness about his circumstances compelled us to put to use our culture of delivering with care

By Tshepiso Tibane, Universal Claims Consultant at Standard Insurance Limited 

Following the President’s announcement of lockdown Level 5 in March, little did I know that this would be the most difficult time in my career. Not because of the number of claims, but more because of the changes my life was about to undergo, both at a personal and professional level. Little did I know that this would propel me to go above and beyond to connect with a vehicle insurance client of mine who had contracted COVID-19.  

We normally can easily predict when our peak seasons will be, and plan ahead as a team. But COVID-19 has been a very unusual time and its toll can be seen on each and every person that I worked with – myself included. Along with roughly 3,000 colleagues, we usually work in a large open-plan call centre. But we needed to adjust our lives to working remotely, which sometimes led to meetings happening late in the day.

I had a five-month-old baby that I had to take out of day-care. My husband had to stay off work when lockdown started, which meant that everything was affected, including salaries.

As part of our work culture, we focus on delivering what matters most to our clients in a responsive and empathetic manner, including putting ourselves in the position of the client. This became even more of an imperative during this time.  

We were more aware of the importance of accessibility and our availability to our clients. Following through on our clients’ queries has been an important focus. 

Answering the call

I had a client whose claim had been long outstanding, and this was increasingly becoming a concern as I kept trying to reach him to no avail. One day, I decided to call him at seven o'clock at night. I dialled his number, and to my pleasant surprise, he finally answered.  

I learned that during our attempts to contact him, he unfortunately had been in ICU due to the coronavirus. His openness about his circumstances compelled us to put to use our culture of delivering with care. We kept in contact with him beyond dealing with the claim – we also extended our support to him and constantly checked in on his recovery. During this time, my continued communication with him became quite an eye-opening experience that would later give me a sense of appreciation for life and everything that I have. 

He would talk about how he was in recovery with others – in-between muffled coughs and moments that he took to breathe. He noted that the oldest person at the centre he was being treated in was 45 years old. This was a suprise to me as I thought this was a disease that was more prevalent in older people. 

He shared his symptoms and his recovery journey with me. This was so surreal, and more importantly, it helped to demystify COVID-19 misperceptions that had been prevalent at the time. 

We eventually got to the initial reason for my call: His vehicle insurance claim for the replacement of his windscreen, which had been pending since lockdown started. I told him that our service providers would call him when he was ready so that they could replace his windscreen.

When he confirmed that he was ready, we appointed the service provider and all was resolved in a matter of days. I still think about how rewarding this job is when we show up for clients and exceed their expectations. 

He is just one client. I imagine the stories he will share with his family and friends about how a Standard Bank lady checked in on him during a time he needed someone to talk to, and he was able to chat about his COVID-19 experience – that is priceless!