Associate story

Aaron Franklin: Compassion sets the tone

Aaron Franklin

It's essential for people to feel like their needs matter, especially during a difficult, life-changing situation.

That's exactly what Mark Ray, a Nationwide member in a close-knit Midwest town, discovered when his home was struck by lightning and burned down. Fortunately, his family was safe, but they lost a lifetime's worth of belongings.

While Mark’s family was just beginning to process their shock, Nationwide claims adjuster Aaron Franklin stepped in to help them start rebuilding their life.

Aaron's compassion and efficient assistance helped make the claim process a positive experience for Mark when he needed that reassurance most.

“Aaron was truly concerned with our situation,” Mark says, “and you could tell he was making it his personal mission to see to it that we were taken care of.”

As a claims associate for Nationwide in his hometown of Iola, Kansas, Aaron began his career working with smaller claims before transitioning to the commercial division. Aaron then became a standard claims reviewer. Since 2014, he's been a property large loss specialist, working on substantial, complex claims ranging in value from $75,000 to $2 million. 

While each claim is treated individually, he says the one thing they all have in common is that every member is going through a difficult time – and he's committed to helping make their situation easier.

“Not every member is the same, so you can’t approach it in a cookie-cutter manner,” he says. “As adjustors, we’re used to going through this every day, but you have to be cognizant of the customers’ emotions and what they’re going through.” 

Learning by listening

Part of Aaron’s success comes from his ability to listen to each customer’s concerns and expectations. He says that showing confidence and compassion from the first meeting is crucial in impacting how the relationship unfolds. 

“That immediately sets the tone moving forward. How you make them feel on that first visit will make all the difference,” he says. “You have to look at their experiences and do everything you can to relate to that member and what they are going through. That relationship is everything.”

Mark says Aaron’s prompt response to their situation was reassuring.

“Aaron met us the next morning at what was left of our home,” Mark says. “When we met Aaron we immediately had a sense of relief.”

Understanding members’ expectations and concerns only comes through listening, and Aaron places a premium on that. He listens to their words and watches their body language. He asks questions to get to what he calls “the question behind the question.” 

“Good relationships with customers are built on how you treat, listen to and respond to them. You have to understand that what is important to one person might not be important to the next person, so you really have to listen and pick up on those little details.”

Aaron Franklin in the field

On Your Side

After 11 years, Aaron feels like he has the technical side of his work mastered, but he continues pushing himself to improve his customer service and leadership skills. He's committed to making each interaction with members a positive experience for them. 

He prides himself on being proactive and helping people make the best of a bad situation.

“I believe there are certain experiences in our lives that we’ll never forget,” he says. “Some of those are happy - like the birth of a child or a graduation. Unfortunately, life also is filled with tragic experiences that are filled with sadness, grief and despair.”

As a claims adjuster, it's usually those difficult experiences accompanied by loss that he's called to help with. He views that not only as a responsibility, but as what he calls “a profound opportunity” to make a positive difference in someone else’s life. Often, they've lost a home or a lifetime of possessions. While Franklin can’t restore what's been lost, he's honored to help people recover from the situation and replace their material goods. 

“I take it very seriously, and it’s a great deal of pride for me to be able to be there during our members' greatest challenges,” he says. “For me, that’s truly the promise of being on your side.”   

Learn more about how Nationwide, and claims adjusters like Aaron, take the On Your Side® Pledge  to put customer service at the heart of what they do.

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