Building meaningful customer relationships is essential to success in the digital world. Customers expect and demand more from the brands, businesses and apps that they interact with every day. Whether streaming their favourite TV shows, booking hotels, managing their online banking, or making insurance claims, customers expect quick and seamless experiences at every touchpoint.
This change in customer expectations is as much a reality for insurance companies as it is for any other industry. Success in insurance now relies on a solid technology platform that can empower your employees to provide better customer experiences. The key to this is to build your strategy around delivering customer-centric insurance services. This means adopting an approach which focuses on understanding how your people, processes and technology can be optimised to put your customers first.
The six pillars of customer-centric insurance
There are six areas that need to be taken into consideration to achieve great customer-centric insurance:
- Customer intimacy
- Efficiency and productivity
- Growth and retention
- Effective party interactions
- Trustworthy, relatable data
Customer-centric insurance is not just about offering better customer service. It’s about personalisation and leveraging data to get to know customers better. Insurance organisations need to understand customer trends on a macro level as well as on an individual basis. Monitoring trends and anticipating future ones is key to delivering the personalised customer service that is now expected.
Organisations need to be more agile, especially with ‘go to market’ processes. Now that customers expect personalisation and dynamic offers and are more willing to switch between providers, speed to market is an essential differentiator. All your IT systems need to be connected so that dynamic pricing and personalised offers can be recommended. The ability to utilise multiple distribution channels and quickly reach out to a diverse range of customers is also very important, as better customer service is one of the most effective ways to improve your business’s competitiveness.
Efficiency and productivity
Businesses need to be able to get work done quicker and easier than ever before. This means streamlining and automating processes that help you make the right decisions and get work done fast. Key to this is the ability to capture the right info at the right time. By cutting operating costs through automation, insurance companies can achieve increased profits.
Growth and retention
You need to develop strategies that target the right customers, the right markets and the right channels. It is only through better and more personalised customer services that organisations can ensure retention. To achieve this, you need technology that makes it easy to gain insight into growth opportunities earlier and faster, across the business. You need a single, unified view of business intelligence and data.
Effective party interactions
How you interact with current and potential customers is obviously a central component of customer-centric insurance. This includes ongoing, real-time monitoring and managing of distribution channels, including traditional communication channels like telephone and email as well as social media. But it also includes the processes that lead to accurate and effective document management, contract creation and SLA management. Also, the focus needs to extend beyond customers – interactions with third parties, such as brokers, agents, carriers, and vendors are also important.
Trustworthy, relatable data
Organisations need a 360-degree view over customer and portfolio data, one that provides full visibility and access to real-time data with tailor-made dashboards.
Barriers to excellent customer-centric insurance
There are a few pain points that restrict how easy or effective it is to build the kinds of relationship that are needed to succeed in the digital world. Let’s look at some examples of these:
- Sales and marketing – when systems are disconnected, sales teams might be unable to find the information they need about potential customers. Similarly, marketing might not be able to target the right customers.
- Policy management – poor data quality and a lack of real-time data can make policy management very difficult.
- Billing – insurers may rely on manual processes, which are tedious, time-consuming, and prone to human error and data duplication.
It is barriers like these which reduce insurers’ abilities to build relationships with customers and offer the level of customer service that is now expected in a digital world.
How to succeed with customer-centric insurance
Because these barriers stretch across an organisation, a holistic and modular approach to adopting new technology is required. It’s not about finding one technology solution that solves all these problems. It’s about looking at how a business operates and then deciding what the most appropriate solutions are to make those business processes slicker, leaner, more productive and, ultimately, generate more growth for the company.
It can be tempting to take a ‘rip and replace’ approach. This involves looking at your legacy systems and replacing them with one solution that claims to do everything.
This won’t work because there are many ‘best in breed’ applications used by organisations today that serve specific roles and functions across the line of business. The problem isn’t the functionality of these systems. The problem arises because those applications, systems and capabilities often sit in silos. They are not joined up and fail to provide any way of managing a business in a unified, consistent fashion. The only way to rectify this and achieve growth is to ensure that you take a more integrated approach to how you manage your processes, your technologies and the way that your people do business for your customers.
It is essential that organisations bring all of this together using a system that connects the dots, is easy to use, and provides users with one unified platform, where everything they need is accessible.