Marketing Cloud, Trailhead...
Mont Blanc Financial Services puts customers and collaboration at its core
Customers are partners at Mont Blanc
Since its modest beginnings in a garage in Kensington, Mont Blanc Financial Services has grown over the last two decades to become one of South Africa’s largest independent insurance brokers. From cellphones to airplanes, and across business, personal and life insurance product lines, they quickly became an “insurance superstore” for customers across the country.
Its impressive rise can no doubt be traced to the entrepreneurial leadership of its founder and CEO, Nicola Iozzo, who makes sure to keep the customer at the heart of their business strategy. “We consider our customers as partners,” says Nicola Iozzo, “and we’re always looking to adopt the latest technology to meet their insurance needs.”
In 2012, Mont Blanc chose Salesforce as its CRM provider and hasn’t looked back since. “Our business is 100% digital,” shares Nicola Iozzo, “and we use Salesforce to handle all customer-facing operations, including providing quotes, processing claims, and sales outreach, as well as back-end operations such as storing documentation, providing training and staying compliant with local regulations. In short, if you're not working in Salesforce you’re not working. We use it to log every interaction, onboard new customers and process their claims easily.”
Insurance made accessible anytime, anywhere
Mont Blanc customers have access to quick, transparent and reliable information when selecting an insurance policy. They can easily request an insurance quote online and, after choosing a policy, are provided with a 24 hour claims line for dedicated service.
Since customers generally only contact their broker when they’re experiencing the stress of a loss – like a vehicle collision or property damage – Mont Blanc makes sure that the claims process is as hassle-free as possible. By digitalizing their operations with Salesforce, the company has streamlined its claims process and improved the speed and accuracy of claim payments.
“As soon as a new claim comes in, a claim object is created in Salesforce, which allows us to expose some of its data on the Community portal. For the customer, monitoring the progress of their claim is as easy as logging into an online portal,” explains Adrian van Wyk, Director and Solution Architect.
“We also use Salesforce Dashboards to empower our brokers to process claims more quickly. It allows them to analyze which claims need to be paid first, as well as monitor any bottlenecks and redistribute tasks to other brokers who are able to step in to lend a hand.”
“We use automation to speed up this compliance process so that our brokers can focus on providing peace of mind to our customers.”
Automating compliance processes
Mont Blanc also uses Salesforce to manage business compliance. For many insurance companies, paper is a major impediment to this process, as manually filling out documentation affects data accuracy, process speed, and storage capacity.
“In the past, it was very time-consuming to stay on top of South Africa’s constantly-evolving legal and financial requirements,” says Nicola Iozzo. “Now, we use automation to speed up this compliance process so that our brokers can focus on providing peace of mind to our customers, our real added-value.”
Leveraging the expertise of each broker with a referral app
In the insurance industry, it’s important for brokers to understand each individual customer so that they can provide expert advice when selecting a policy. At Mont Blanc, brokers have a dashboard view of their customers’ existing insurance products, which in turn helps them to lead relevant, personalized conversations when helping customers choose the right coverage. As a result, brokers are able to quickly identify any unmet insurance needs and offer tailored solutions to better protect their customers’ assets. “Many companies rely on bulk email campaigns to market and up-sell products,” notes Nicola Iozzo. “We prefer instead to build lasting relationships centered around our customers’ real needs.”
Mont Blanc also encourages its brokers to collaborate across teams. “After identifying a new lead, a broker can phone an existing customer to personally introduce them to a more specialized broker who can provide better support,” continues Nicola Iozzo. “With this referral app, we can leverage the expertise of each broker in order to offer the highest level of service to our customers.”
“Our business is 100% digital and we use Salesforce to handle all customer-facing operations.”
Fast and performant business apps with Lightning Web Components
Providing custom-built digital tools for employees and customers can be a challenge for any insurer. At Mont Blanc, developers build business apps using Lightning Web Components (LWC), Salesforce’s lightweight coding framework that leverages the latest web standards. “My team can develop apps much faster with LWC since it’s built on web languages we already use. It’s so seamless we even built parts of the company website using Lightning!” notes Adrian van Wyk, Director and Solution Architect.
Just like the rest of the business at Mont Blanc, the IT department has collaboration at its core. “We use the SalesforceDX environment to collaborate on code and ship our components faster.” Being a medium-size business doesn’t mean that Mont Blanc can’t be at the forefront of IT innovation. “We actually leverage the latest Platform frameworks and best practices. This had made our job easier, and our apps richer,” says Iozzo.
A collaborative culture with Trailhead and Quip
To stay ahead of the technology curve, Trailhead is an essential resource in Mont Blanc’s toolbox. “Like many modern web developers, I’m self-taught and always on the lookout for new opportunities to further boost my skills,” says Adrian van Wyk. “Because Salesforce rolls out features on a quarterly basis, there’s always something new to discover. I usually start by sifting through the early release notes and engaging with the online community to understand the general technology, and then learn the fine details by following the dedicated Trails. In fact, I learned almost all my Salesforce skills from the Trailblazer community, developer documentation and Trailhead.”
In order to ensure that every employee is on board, Mont Blanc leverages myTrailhead to train its staff on internal app updates. “Any time our developers create a new component, an in-house trainer then creates bite-sized videos and modules that our brokers can use to learn the app,” adds Adrian van Wyk. “By gamifying the learning process, myTrailhead helped us transform an otherwise arduous task into something fun.”
In order to manage its projects, align sales and marketing goals, and execute account planning, Mont Blanc relies on Quip, a real-time collaboration tool for documents and spreadsheets embedded inside Salesforce. With Quip, Mont Blanc is able to easily communicate and work together across different teams. “Quip is our go-to collaboration tool; our sales team uses it to organize account planning and forecasting, but it also speeds up teamwork among our marketing and accounting teams, all the way to our board meetings.”
Maintaining business continuity during the COVID-19 crisis
Being cloud-based has also been instrumental in helping the company navigate the COVID-19 crisis. “By aggressively adopting a cloud-first approach to our business, we’ve been able to safely continue our operations from home with little to no disruption,” shares Nicola Iozzo. “In fact, the crisis helped us identify and replace any remaining apps that weren't in the cloud yet, so that we could then connect them into our digital back-end.”
“We’re still a relatively young company,” notes Iozzo, “but we intend to become the face of modern day insurance in South Africa. During these difficult times, we’re proud to be able to provide our customers with the same quality of service, no matter the circumstance. Salesforce has been instrumental in helping us to put our customers first during this crisis.”