If you do mitigation restoration, you will inevitably handle contents and help policyholders with their non-restorable items after a catastrophe. Some companies will not deal with contents or help the insured list non-restorable contents, while other restorers specialize in full service contents handling. How you handle the listing of non-restorable items can dramatically impact your customers’ experience and can differentiate you from competitors.
The Apex of Customer Service
When a restorer has been called to mitigate a loss, your customer has experienced a traumatic event and their lives have been interrupted by a loss. As a restorer, you have a great deal more training and knowledge than the customer, and know what can and cannot be saved. Why make your customer go through the emotional experience of sorting through their possessions on their own with limited personal protection equipment, if any at all? Why make your customer list these items when your company can do it for them?
This is a revenue opportunity for you and something you can do with little effort that maximizes your impact to the customer. Let me show you how to list non-restorable items the right way.
Identify Sentimental Items
Before you tell the customer what contents you are writing off, ask them if there are any sentimental items that are important to them. These sentimental items are the key to a successful claim. If you identify and handle these items with extra care, and make an effort to salvage the items that are important to the customer, your value to them increases.
Reduce your Liability
With the sentimental items dealt with, you can now move on to the items you believe are non-restorable. At this point you should reduce your liability and provide a non-restorable items waiver, stating that you are listing items and the client agrees that the items can be placed in a dumpster, seacan, storage, or is to be boxed up and disposed of later. This form is critical to reducing issues down the road. After it is signed, you can start documenting the items.
Document Non-Restorable Items
Once you have determined which items are not cleanable, either because they are not worth restoring, or the materials of the affected items limit the ability to restore them, you can begin to document and move these items to a waste receptacle (e.g. a dumpster).
The Encircle App forAndroid and Apple mobile devices makes it easy to document contents. Here’s how:
1. Open Encircle and Create/Open a Claim
2. Add or Select an Existing Room
3. Document Contents
Touch the plus button where it says Items. The camera will open, allowing you to take a picture of your contents.
4. Add a Disposition
After taking a photo (by pressing the orange camera button), press the Disposition button and select Non-Restorable from the list. Every picture you take after this one will automatically set the item’s disposition to Non-Restorable until you press Done to finish documenting items.
5.Create a Box to Organize Contents
Create a box to keep track of the contents in Encircle. This can mirror a real box that contains non-restorable items, such as a dumpster. This will make your customer’s life much easier than making them do it themselves.
In the Encircle App, click the three dots in the top right of the screen and select Box View. Press the Create Box button and give your box a name. You can then describe the Box Type and Disposition. When you save the box, you will be prompted to assign items to the box, which can be done by tapping as many items as desired from the list and pressing Save. If you would like to add more items to the box later, tap Edit Box to repeat this process.
6.The Apex of Customer Service
If you want to elevate your business to the apex of customer service, go one step further and provide details about the items, which will help your customer and their insurance company settle the claim faster and more accurately. As a neutral third party, your credibility will help your customer get exactly what they are entitled to from the insurer.
From the Box View, selecting an item will allow you to Add Details (then tap View/Edit Details). Start by using voice-to-text to quickly leave a detailed description of the item in the Description field. Scroll down to the Model/Serial Number field and use the built-in camera tool take a picture of the item tag or model number. This allows you to submit detailed information about your customer’s loss, which helps settle the claim faster. You can do this for all non-restorable items. It is easy, fast, and quickly elevates your company to a level of superior customer service.
Your company can now create the non-restorable list for the insured before leaving their home and sign any necessary paperwork to reduce your liability. This allows you to have a discussion with the insured while the contents are still on the property and ensure they are in agreement with your handling of the items. By handling non-restorable items the right way, you will increase customer satisfaction and build a stronger reputation as a business.