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[INTERVIEW] Mango Insurance

How to build an insurance company online and hook a customer with wow service
Kirill Maltizov
Customer success manager
About the company
Industry
Insurance
≈4 000
Tickets per month
7
Channels of communication
Geography
All Russia
14
People in the support team
We want to change Russia's general attitude toward insurance because insurance in Russia is formed from the word "fear. People are afraid of insurance companies, afraid that they won't get paid, that they will be cheated, they don't understand how it works. No one wants or knows how to explain it to them.
- Anya Pavlysh, Head of the Virtual Agent product team
You never know what kind of surprise the new day will bring. Maybe pleasant, maybe not so pleasant. To avoid being caught unprepared, many people think about insurance. Life, property, and maybe even pet insurance. That's exactly what our clients at Mango Insurance do.

The insurance market scares many people: people are afraid of deception, complicated terms, and high costs. We talked to Anya Pavlish, head of the Virtual Agent product team. She talked about how you can stand out in the insurance market with cool customer service.
KIRILL:
Anya, hi! First, I want to congratulate you on your promotion.
ANYA:
Hi, thank you)
KIRILL:
Tell us, please, what does Mango Insurance do in general?
ANYA:
As the name suggests, Mango is an insurance company. At this stage, we do real estate insurance: apartments and items inside them. We just had a release just now, literally two days ago, and we're now insuring pets with the support of VetExpert. We also had custom insurance from COVID. And that's all we've been doing so far. There are quite a few more plans for different insurance types, but these are our main products right now.
KIRILL:
Did I understand correctly that it's all online-only, you don't have any physical branches?
ANYA:
Yes, that's what we're banking on. Because the standard insurance company usually just works in the office, live. And we decided to try a different way and go online, exclusively online. So we don't have any live meetings; everything is just through the website.
KIRILL:
It's very relevant these days. And this animal theme is cool! I don't think I've even heard of it before.
ANYA:
We don't have almost any of those in Russia. I think we are pioneers.
KIRILL:
I've seen you have pretty cool support; guys write warmly, such cozy customer service. Do you rely on it? So you think it's one of the main ways to attract and retain customers?
ANYA:
Yes, it's one of our main vital advantages. Tell me, please, have you ever dealt with an insurance company in principle? Have you been insured anywhere against anything?
KIRILL:
To be honest, I haven't. I was insured as a tourist, but fortunately, I didn't have an insurance event.
ANYA:
Well, I can tell you from my own experience, when I came to Mango, of course, the first thing I did was to look at what the competitors were doing, what insurers were doing in Russia. And I talked to all the significant representatives, not individually through personal contacts, but just contacted the support team. And it's all quite stale, completely stale, in terms of approach and communication with the client.

First of all, there are a lot of templates, and the templates are not the ones that everyone uses one way or another, but there are huge, right on half a page, so you have to read all this clerical stuff.

Secondly, the lack of any kind of positive human approach. That is, you immediately feel that you have come to the bank and you need to fill out a form number "so-and-so" something. And all my attempts to have a live human conversation with them ended up in the fact that I either did not get an answer at all, because the operators on the first line of support simply do not have these answers, or they have a script that implies that I need to be loaded with a vast amount of terminology so that I apparently go crazy and do not ask any more questions.

We don't want to do that, because for us the most important thing is the client.

And we really want to change the general attitude towards insurance in Russia because insurance in Russia is formed from the word "fear." People are afraid of insurance companies, afraid they won't get paid; they will be cheated, they don't understand how it works. No one wants or knows how to explain it to them. The only possibility is that the agent through whom they are trying to conclude a contract will explain it to them. But, as you understand, the agent won't pay out if there is an insured event. Payouts are handled directly by the insurance company, and so the relationship is very strained, and we really wanted to do things differently.

We wanted people to feel that the insurance company is their friend, who supports them, who is there for them. Yes, they're paying us money, but they're getting it back from us, and all this money that we collect, we're paying our customers. And so the bet was primarily on customer service because that's the face of the company. When we work on the Internet, that's the first thing a person sees. So he sees the website (the cover, the image), and as soon as he starts trying to find something out and talk to them, he immediately comes across our customer service. So the main idea was that we should have people, human communication, support, and we should be very different from the standard accepted way in insurance companies.
KIRILL:
Your desire to turn the game around is very commendable. Why did you decide to look for a helpdesk? Have you used anything before? How did it work back?
ANYA:
When we started, it was just me, as the organizer of all this client service, and after a few months of work, I hired the first, what they call, a batch of helpers. Three people. And as soon as we hired the first batch, we figured out that we were going to have more people, and we needed constant statistics, at any time, the ability to see how long it took to respond. Plus, we need a universal system that can include the most widespread messengers to not have to use them separately.

When it became clear that there would be quite many requests and that reports needed to be viewed regularly, it immediately became clear that a helpdesk was required. I had worked with different systems before: Zendesk, Intercom, JivoSite; I know almost everything. We looked at different options, and one of my colleagues recommended you. I looked at the website and realized that you had all the features I was interested in. In addition to you, we considered Intercom, but it is not a Russian company, and our Russian messengers are not integrated there. It is necessary to write separate crutches, so we realized that you would be the best choice.
In addition to you, we considered Intercom, but it is not a Russian company, and our Russian messengers are not integrated there. It is necessary to write separate crutches, so we realized that you would be the best choice.
KIRILL:
Yay! You talked about the reports. I take it that was one of the main challenges in finding a system. What metrics are you looking at?
ANYA:
It is primarily essential to us that we work well with the client, which is logical.

In order for the client to be satisfied, he should get an answer quickly. That's why we are interested in the speed of the solution, as the first one, and in general, the speed of response. We're interested in the evaluation from the client. And, in general, these are the main parameters.

In addition, when everyone in the helpdesk has the same number of shifts in a month, it is useful to understand on which days we receive more messages, which respond more, who receives more requests. We don't gauge an employee's effectiveness just by the number of responses because that's silly; you never know how many messages you're going to get. But when you see, as a standard for a couple of months, that one person responds to 100 messages daily and another person responds to 20, that's certainly an indicator. Not a needle if the person who's answering 20 messages a day is a senior professional who's sorting out complex cases. But you can see that right away, too.
KIRILL:
In principle, everything makes sense. Tell me, what channels are you using now? I know for sure that the widget, but maybe I missed something.
ANYA:
Yes, we have a widget on the website, of course. Basically, it's what we communicate through. Which, in turn, connects VKontakte, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Telegram itself. And a separate channel for a very long time was telephony, which we did not connect to Usedesk at the start. We got a phone faster than the helpdesk, and when we had already switched to Usedesk and realized that our current contractor was not integrated, we somehow didn't bother with it. But now we're finally asking that question, and we're changing the phone contractor, so he'll be with you soon, too.
KIRILL:
Tell us more about WhatsApp. We just recently moved you to the WhatsApp Business API. Why and how do you use it?
ANYA:
You see how it works for us. We have quite a large number of clients who, for example, don't use Telegram. You can understand them because Telegram was blocked for a long time, and I'm still not quite sure if it's been unblocked.

Consequently, since not everyone has used Telegram, many clients distrust Telegram in general, and almost everyone has WhatsApp; it's now the most common messenger that people write to us. How do we use it? Well, first of all, on incoming messages.

Secondly, if we have already had some contact with a client and need to do some kind of mailing for clients, for example, we need to do some sort of mailing. And it's not a "news from our company" mailing; it's a mailing that says that the person's money is about to be debited or that he hasn't received an SMS or something else - these are all things that we need to ask quickly, and he's more likely to look on WhatsApp than on the mail. It's very convenient if we've already interacted with him.
KIRILL:
Tell me, how many people do you have on your team right now? How many employees are using Usedesk? If different departments, tell us about all of them.
ANYA:
Of course, we mostly use the support team. There are 14 people in support right now. In addition to the support people themselves, we also have loss adjusters in our support department who evaluate complicated claims. The simple ones are always ыevaluated by our support staff, уand they make a decision about payment based on the client's description. For complicated cases, you can involve a claims adjuster who will look at the documents and decide.

Apart from the helpdesk, top management has access to it; they need to look through the client reports from time to time and product managers according to the same requests and interests. So does marketing.
Part of the support team
There is always a small chance that we may not have noticed the deception, but in this case, we prefer to believe someone who may be trying to deceive us rather than suspecting everyone of scams at once.
KIRILL:
That's right; we try first and foremost for the client. Did I understand correctly that you usually trust the client? There's no process to verify their word, except in the case of a power surge?
ANYA:
We try to screen clients. We do background checks on people who have bought insurance from us before they come to us with an insurance claim. As you can imagine, an insured event doesn't happen very often in the norm. If a customer is worthy of our trust and doesn't raise questions with us as a customer, they naturally expect to have complete confidence on our part when they come to us. There are different ways to know that a client is trying to commit an act of insurance fraud, that they are trying to defraud us. I won't tell you all the firm's secrets, but our support department always sees right away whether the client is an honest client or a fraudster.

There is always a small chance that we may not have noticed the fraud, but in this case, we would rather believe someone who may be trying to cheat us than suspect everyone of cheating. We are careful with our customers and do not want them to prove that they are not fools. In addition to our trust, there are regulatory requirements. For example, we can't just make an insurance payout without asking the client for a management company statement saying a flood in the house. Then the tax office will come to us and ask on what grounds the person is illegally enriched, without proving in any way that something happened to him. And photos/video here for them is not proof. For us, it is proof; for the law, it is not. We trust our clients and often ask for photos/video, using them to determine what is happening, pay money, and only after that we ask to bring the documents. And we have never had a situation where they did not get the papers. As if the trust is reciprocated by faith.
KIRILL:
That's great! Is there something, some story with a directly memorable client?
ANYA:
Oh, how many of them there were. It seems like a year and a half I've been working here, and in all that time, there's been a lot.

We have a client, Mary. She works for Yandex. She had a very traditional story. She has an apartment on the first floor and neighbors who don't think that other people live underneath them, so they periodically flood her. Since something happens to this apartment often, she insured it with Mango on the advice of friends. And all of a sudden, she came in and said: "you guys, you know, there's a story here; I'm not sure if it's an insurance claim." Of course, it was an insurance claim. Just so you understand, clients are divided into different types; the most common are just two. The first one is people who had an insurance claim, and they're like, "Well, I don't know, I'm not sure, what are you going to spend money on me." The second kind of people had a piece of paper blown off the table, and they were like, "I had an insurance claim. We paid her money very quickly, even though there were certain difficulties.

We insure different apartments: both our own and those rented by people. When the apartment is not yours and the time comes to pay out on an insured event, the money should be received by the apartment owner. It's his property, and he's the beneficiary in that situation. We can pay the tenant if he gives us the landlord's written agreement stating that he doesn't mind. Otherwise, it's not fair: one person's apartment was damaged, and we're trying to pay someone else's money. It took a long time for the landlord to send us the documents, but in the end, it happened quickly anyway. I'm not going to lie, but as far as I remember, within a day. It was such a pleasant experience for everyone because it was such a perfect client who tells us everything quickly, understandably. Everything went well; we resolved the issue.

And as for something ridiculous, funny. We had a promotion where we would pay people up to 4000 rubles for some damage that occurred in their apartment. And in the wake of all this, we had a large number of what we call free-riders who were very keen to get money from us. They were making up cases as they went along. And my favorite dialogue on this subject was the following:

A customer writes, "I have a glass door between rooms broken in my house, pay money!"

The helpdesk asks him: "Who broke it?"

C: "A kid broke it with a hockey stick."

S: "At 2:00 in the morning?"

C: "Yeah, a kid was playing and broke it."

S: "Pardon me for asking, but could you maybe take a picture of the kid who did it with the hockey stick?"

C: "And it was the neighbor's kid; he's already gone."

S: "The neighbor's kid came in at 2:00 in the morning, smashed the hockey stick in the door, and left?"

C: "Yes."

S: "At least take a picture of the shards."

C: "And we already cleaned it up."

And to our words, it looks a little strange, we said "you're the ones who are strange" and left.
People look at us like: "Mango, it seems pretty good what they say, but they're probably lying, and it's really going to be tinny." And in this situation it's psychologically easier to buy insurance for a month and see how we work than to buy a year.
KIRILL:
It happens. You said the first case was solved in a day. How quickly do people usually get the money?
ANYA:
We generally try to have all payouts within a day.

On average Russian insurance companies pay from 10 days to a month, sometimes it takes longer. It requires a lot of supporting documents and many stages of approval, during which people decide how much they are ready to pay, what requires additional confirmations, and so on.

Our record for payment, when it took a little less than 50 minutes from the moment a person just wrote that they had something wrong to the moment they got the money on their card. This includes the entire conversation, all the documents, all the video footage, and so on. It all came down to 50 minutes. That's something you want to get to, of course, but right now, our main goal is to have everything resolved within a day.
KIRILL:
Here's another interesting thing. This monthly subscription model. I'm not at all sure that this is how it works at other insurance companies. Why did you choose this model?
ANYA:
You know, it's easier. Because that's the way, the mind works. You can back out at any time, and once you've already bought insurance for a year, there's no getting away from it. Even if you change your mind, change your apartment, or something else. And here it's very simple. We're brand new; we came from scratch.

People look at us like: "Some Mango, it's not bad what they say, but most likely they're lying, and it's really going to be terrors." And in this situation, it's psychologically easier to buy insurance for a month and see how we really work than to buy a year. And so, yes, monthly subscriptions are practically non-existent.
I can't say that you are always super quick to change something. But the fact that you can respond very quickly, answer and something else - that's important. That's nice. Thank you especially for this real human contact. And all the wishes that arose while working with you, fast or not, we're all fulfilled.
KIRILL:
We love feedback. What can you praise or scold for?
ANYA:
I've worked with different systems, and I understand very well that it's never smooth from scratch. There are many problems, some kind of rework; everything has to be somehow adjusted, solved, and so on. It can't be done in one day; it takes quite a lot of time. I can't say that you can always change something super quickly. But the fact that you can respond very quickly, respond and something else - that's important. That's nice. Thank you very much for that, the real human connection. And all the wishes that arose while working with you, fast or not, we're all fulfilled. At the present stage, some new wishes arise, and a new director will come to you. But there's no sense that we said, "Look, guys, we're not comfortable with this; it's not working for us," and they just gave us the cold shoulder. That's not how it works. You help, you try to solve problems, especially when you understand that it's inconvenient and needs to be changed.
Mango's case is an excellent example of how to implement a Helpdesk right at the start. We helped collect calls from email, messengers, and calls in one place. This allowed us to save resources and spend them on more important tasks during the active development stage. And detailed reports help to monitor key indicators, which are important for the business.


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