Nationwide’s Focus on the Customer
As consumers seek simplicity, Nationwide is delivering new solutions.
At a time when consumers are looking for faster, simpler and more personal experiences with businesses, Nationwide is continuing to expand capabilities and introduce new solutions and technology that cater to the needs customers value most.
“Despite going through a year like no other, our ever-evolving response to meet customers’ needs has never been greater, and it’s creating permanent and meaningful changes in how we’re doing business,” said Nationwide Chief Customer Officer Amy Shore. “The interactions our customers have with us should be effortless, personal and reassuring. We also want our members and partners to feel at ease when they interact with us, and that their time is respected.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic drove a shift to online interactions between consumers and businesses, Shore said Nationwide focused in 2020 on accelerating effortless experiences for its customers, creating more personalization and providing services that reassure customers that they are protected.
“Our approach has to start with an even better understanding of customer needs,” Shore said.
A notable example related to their desire to save time, Shore said, can be found in the process of purchasing multiple types of insurance policies, such as auto, home and life through Nationwide Express, a digital tool for agents and online members. In the past, this process would take 30-40 minutes to quote and bind. In 2020, the company streamlined the process by eliminating overly detailed or unnecessary questions, resulting in a quote/bind process cut down to 10 minutes. Combined with other recent enhancements to the tool, these changes are proving to be a boon for both members and Nationwide’s independent agent network.
“We are listening to customers and they are telling us they want us to be easy to do business with and they want to be able to take care of some types of transactions themselves rather than having to call,” Shore said. “They want to work with us in their preferred way, which often means more digital.”
Responding to customer desires for more self-service, Nationwide implemented in 2020 the CARES Act Virtual Assistant. The CARES Act is a federal economic stimulus law that enables people to take loans or distributions from their retirement accounts without penalty in order to cover unanticipated pandemic costs. The CARES Act Virtual Assistant helps members accessing Nationwide retirement solutions quickly find answers around the CARES Act. It also enables participants using the Nationwide My Retirement mobile app to view and self-manage loans or distributions they take from their retirement accounts.
Protection was on the minds of everyone in 2020 and continues into 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shore said.
Nationwide’s ongoing focus on member protection led to improved processes for beneficiaries of Nationwide Financial products so that death benefits are now paid out faster. Additionally, Shore said the company continued its vigilant stance on fraud prevention in 2020, which was especially important as the nexus of need and increased government pandemic and unemployment payments fueled an increase in fraud attempts from bad actors.
In an effort to provide its commercial members with as much protection as possible, Nationwide published resource articles on ways for businesses to prepare for and mitigate coronavirus-related issues. Topics range from the importance of documentation and journaling business operation changes during the pandemic to setting up restaurant delivery operations and even safely bringing employees back to facilities.
For Nationwide agricultural members, the company developed educational insurance resources that address COVID-19 and financial risk management. Topics focused on contingency planning, liability concerns, succession issues and accounts of how farmers have found strategies to navigate through the pandemic.
“Nationwide is dedicated to protecting people, businesses and futures with extraordinary care,” Shore said. “That starts with anticipating their needs, helping them think through how they can be prepared and being there if or when something happens.”