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4 ways to deliver an exceptional customer experience
In an increasingly competitive market, delivering an exceptional customer experience is now essential for insurance companies to differentiate their brands, build market share and improve retention. Competing solely on price is no longer an option.
For example, in the motor insurance market, over 50% of sales come through aggregator sites who push policy features and provide independent ratings of insurance companies' products and service levels.
According to a recent FCA report, some GI firms are not providing their customers with acceptable service levels. This prompted a warning that failing to address these issues will result in the FCA taking regulatory action against offending insurers.
Customers' needs are not complicated. Customers want to be able to choose from a selection of reasonably priced policies which meet their needs, with transparent, easy to understand, jargon-free information. Not to mention easily accessible communication channels and helpful advisors. Ultimately, customers desire a claims experience which eases stress rather than adding to it.
So, what tools are available to help your company earn the trust and loyalty of your customers and provide a best in class service that sets you apart from your competitors?
1 - Leveraging behavioural customer data sources
As an insurer, you have access to a wealth of data from multiple touch points which will give you valuable insights into your customers’ behaviour. For example:
• Website interactions
• Contact through communication channels
• Devices your customers use
• Customer feedback results
• Social media interaction
It is advisable to collate information from all touch points to ensure you don’t miss crucial information and skew the overall picture of the customer journey.
An innovative example of customer data collection is the Aviva Drive app. GPS monitors driving behaviour and safer drivers get discounts on their car insurance. It also acts as a Dash Cam and automatically saves footage of collisions.
Not only do the insurers collect concrete data on driving behaviour to enable them to make underwriting decisions, but recordings can also help assess fault when a claim is made.
2 - Omni-channel customer interaction
Linking your communications channels to provide a seamless experience benefits both your customers and your company. A cross-channel strategy allows you to meet customer expectations of being able to contact you using several channels and switch between them at will. Relevant data is accessible from a central storage point, ensuring a consistently high-quality experience and enhanced customer engagement.
Your company gets a 360-degree view of customer interactions to help you track customer behaviour, better respond to their needs and build a relationship with them. This is particularly pertinent for renewals, as acquiring new customers costs more than retaining current ones. Using an omnichannel, personalised approach can improve retention rates and turn customers into brand advocates.
3 - The role of automation and AI
Automation is changing the face of insurance, from product development and underwriting, sales and customer service through to claims. Operational efficiencies, enhanced customer relationships and company growth are some benefits seen by insurers who have invested strategically in and embraced digital transformation.
The use of chatbots or conversational agents is prevalent in online customer service across all industries, including insurance. Using AI, they communicate with customers and for example, can automatically resolve the most common customer queries, collect and qualify information, then connect people with customer service agents when necessary.
Technology can also be used to deal with the more mundane tasks and free up staff to help customers in a more meaningful way. For instance, smart media readers can reduce the amount of paperwork involved in setting up a policy or the claims process.
Self-service portals are another area where insurers have used technology to transform the customer experience. For example, empowering a customer to complete a change to their policy online or upload evidence to advise of first notice of loss (FNOS) has improved service levels for customers. It has also driven efficiencies for insurers by reducing back-office costs.
4 - Designing and developing digital customer-centric products
Changing customer expectations put pressure on insurers to keep up with the latest digital technology trends. The challenge of introducing valuable technology to your customers which has longevity doesn’t necessarily mean a dramatic shift from current strategy. A well-considered integration will ensure you don’t waste time implementing technology your customers won’t use.
Design products and systems so they can adapt quickly to changing market conditions, customer behaviours and data insights. Adopting an agile approach can speed up the delivery of new products and services and remove the frustrations of fractured development.
Customer feedback will give valuable insight into improvements needed to the customer journey. Aligning digital strategy with customer expectations will help you avoid making unnecessary changes for the sake of introducing new technology to ‘keep up with the Joneses’.
AI and machine learning algorithms can help you create tailored products for different customer segments. By analysing behavioural data, you can identify the relationships between your customer segments and the policies you sell and offer them products that match their needs.
This will improve customer acquisition as you can target the people who are most likely to buy your products. Relationship building by providing current customers with products they want will also increase retention rates at renewal.
The Insurance Network was established in 2004 to provide C-Suite insurance executives with a forum for networking and knowledge sharing.
Our next event is TINtech 2019, where experts from across the industry will discuss how leveraging innovation will enable digital transformation.