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«Professional interaction with customers is becoming more important.»

From summer 2019 on, Helvetia will offer new training to become a «Customer Dialogue Specialist»: Marina Mettler, Head next.generation@helvetia explains in the interview what school-leavers can expect from the new course, besides talks with customers and insurance products.

27 November 2018, author: Martin Maas, photo: Martin Maas

A woman standing at a table, smiling at the camera. There is a monitor and keyboard on the table.
Marina Mettler is looking for flexible school-leavers interested in insurance who enjoy contact with customers for the “Customer Dialogue Specialist” training.

Marina, starting in summer 2019 Helvetia will offer new training to become a «Customer Dialogue Specialist», why?

At Helvetia we focus on customers and their needs so customer satisfaction is particularly important to us. To ensure that we are successful in this area in future too, we are training new «Customer Dialogue» specialists in a three-year basic course to become communication professionals with insurance expertise. They and their colleagues in our Helvetia Service Center are the first point of contact for our customers who seek advice on insurance matters on the telephone, via e-mail or in a chat. So with your valuable work you are making a significant contribution to the satisfaction of Helvetia customers.

How is the customer dialogue course structured at Helvetia?

During the three-year course, the students attend the vocational school in Berne for 1-1.5 days a week and – throughout the course – the inter-company courses in Zurich for a total of 23 days. They learn the tools of professional communication from square one. This means that they also learn how to interact with individual customers, to identify the need for advice, to express themselves in a simple manner, to deal with challenging customer consultations and to conduct customer consultations in French. At Helvetia, the trainee customer dialogue specialists work in a number of different departments during the three-year course where customer contact is key. For six months they even work at our subsidiary in Stettbach and thus gain a diverse insight into Helvetia. They also undergo insurance-specific training and acquire knowledge of the insurance sector and our products. We also offer the students many great possibilities for continued development in interesting workshops with opportunities to make new contacts and cultivate friendships.

What are the typical tasks that customer dialogue specialists handle at Helvetia?

Customer dialogue specialists cover a wide range of tasks and set themselves apart with their in-depth knowledge of property and private insurance products. The Helvetia Service Center comprises several teams that are responsible for different tasks. The inbound teams take customer calls, and answer e-mails and chat questions, while the outbound team proactively contacts customers and gives them important information and useful tips for the quotations they request. In a supporting role, the administration team handles customer orders, identifies opportunities for sales, liaises closely with the general agencies and acts as the interface between the Customer Service and the specialist departments. Regardless of which team a person is working in, specialist advice and the customer’s well-being are key. It certainly isn’t boring at the Helvetia Service Center.

What, in your view, is the greatest hurdle during the training?

On the one hand, the customer dialogue specialists provide customers with very comprehensive support. In certain situations, this interaction may be rather demanding. Especially when they have to make several phone calls at short intervals, the specialists have to be well coordinated and keep their cool. On the other hand they need in-depth knowledge of a range of insurance products and have to fit in to existing structures (e.g. fixed working hours). This is quite a challenging course but one which offers school-leavers excellent professional opportunities.

What possibilities for development are there after the course?

Professional interaction and communication with customers will become even more important in future. There is therefore a growing demand for customer dialogue specialists, wherever the focus is on customer contact. This course is thus an excellent foundation for a career in the insurance industry and also opens up exciting career prospects in customer relationship management, as a front-end customer advisor or as a manager in another sector. In addition, educational institutions have recognized this trend and are offering continuing courses tailored to the basic course, such as the CAS course for customer dialogue management at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences.

What is the difference between this and the «typical» basic course as a «Private Insurance Salesperson» in the insurance industry?

I think that the difference is the course itself. Whereas future salespeople are trained to be all-rounders with an overview of the insurance industry and also work in support functions such as book-keeping, the focus for customer dialogue specialists is clearly on communication and interaction with customers. They have daily contact with customers and can develop to become experts. From a specialist point of view, the customer dialogue specialists deal primarily with our insurance products and naturally also automatically acquire a broad knowledge of insurance.

What strengths should the future Helvetia trainees have?

We are looking for people who do not get easily flustered. We also require very good grades at secondary school level 1 (level A/general requirements), a flair for French and of course an interest in the insurance industry. It is particularly important that they enjoy talking to people, are flexible and enjoy contact with customers.


Would you like to know more about the «Customer Dialogue Specialist» course? If so, contact Marina Mettler or visit our website.

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