Keeping Customers First through COVID-19 and Beyond
| Connections Editor | Jun 15 2021
Trevor Bunker, who currently serves as Chief Customer Officer for Applied Systems, joined the Applied team in 2020 and leads its customer experience organization, including the strategic direction for services, support and customer success programs. With more than 20 years of customer service leadership experience at companies like RealPage and CA Technologies, his onboarding to Applied could not have come at a better time ... amid the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about how customer success is evolving at Applied, the Connections team sat down with Trevor for insight on the ways his team refined and adopted support in 2020, and what that means for the future.
Connections: As a new member of the executive team (having joined in 2020), share a bit about your background in insurance and what led you to your role with Applied Systems.
Trevor Bunker (TB): I am thrilled to be at Applied Systems and, as someone new to the insurance industry, I couldn’t think of a better place to be today. What attracted me to Applied Systems is also what gets me excited every day — the opportunity to drive transformation and modernization. Whenever I see an industry going through transition such as we are with digitization, new business models and healthy influx of capital, I know incredible change and innovation is underway.
Connections: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about Applied customers since joining the team? How has that informed how you’ve begun to adjust the customer experience?
TB: Since joining Applied, I’ve learned that there is a huge variety of customers — from small to large, from single line of business to multi — all with varying levels of knowledge and comfort with technology. This wide variety has led us to create a culture of flexibility in how we support our customers. We understand that technology is not one-size-fits-all. It is quite the opposite, as each business has its own goals and challenges. Our goal is to enable our customers to find and use the technology that will differentiate their business and create success now and into the future.
Also, as someone new to the industry, I didn’t truly appreciate how essential our products and services are to our customers — we are the backbone of their business and take that responsibility very seriously.
Connections: COVID-19 had a huge impact on customer support in 2020. How did you refine and adapt support to meet the unique needs of the past year?
TB: Agreed, the pandemic changed the way we, as a whole, think about work as we learned to balance home and work life in the same space. This new reality shifted what we considered normal business hours, now allowing people to have the flexibility to work whenever they can.
For the past few years, Applied has been the only software provider to offer what we call Follow-the-Sun support, meaning we offer 24/7 customer support with Applied experts. This shift in our customers’ business hours and their need for additional assistance encouraged us to go further by extending our Office Hours and increasing our weekend staff. We can now accommodate even more requests with faster call waiting times, chat response times, call-handling times and time to closure.
Connections: We’re curious. What’s the most common customer need your team sees come up time and time again?
TB: As agents evaluate the future of work and what it might look like for them, Applied is working with them to create a strategy that works for them.
Should agents decide to remain fully remote, there are many choices in technologies that can make their daily workflows even easier than when in the office. And, whether they are Applied products or via integrations with third-party applications, we are here to help. Some of these technologies and digital capabilities include:
- Accepting payments through mobile apps and portals,
- Mobilizing with virtual laptops,
- Using electronic signatures,
- Digitizing data collection, and more.
Connections: On a similar note, what are some of the most commonly used customer services that Applied offers? Are there any that our readers might not be aware of that could have a big impact on their day-to-day interactions with your team?
TB: One of the most common — and free — services our customers use is the Applied Community. The Applied Community enables agents to seek product advice, search for updates to known bugs and knowledge articles, and provides the preferred option to log support cases online.
For a deeper dive into our products, customers can go to Applied University for training on their various products and can even get certified on different areas of the technology. This is one of the most impactful resources we provide because it allows agents and brokers to take learning and optimization of the products into their own hands. Applied University offers live training, on-demand training and office hours so that agents and brokers can learn whenever and however they want.
Where we often see the most impact is from users working with and learning from other users in the Applied Client Network — truly peers helping peers. ACN connects our users to thousands of professionals from around the world to share ideas, best practices and continually work to further their craft. We are so fortunate to have such as an active and engaged customer base. It is their engagement that makes our work successful.
For more interviews with Applied Systems executives, click here.
Tags: Commentary , Applied Systems , customer service , COVID-19 , Trevor Bunker