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Defining and delivering a customer first strategy in insurance

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4 components you need to define and deliver the ultimate CX

The current crisis has brought into sharp focus the need to overcome the operational and organisational challenges to delivering a truly multi-channel next generation customer experience. For many customers the lockdown has become a very digital experience, with digital natives becoming even more tech savvy, and those previously unfamiliar with the channel adopting it - some out of choice, some out of necessity.

Perhaps conversely, the crisis has also highlighted the value of human interaction and where in the process it adds real value. From the insurers perspective it has highlighted which processes can be automated without compromising value and the customer experience, and which cannot.

Overcoming the operational challenges to deliver a next generation, multi-channel customer experience

From 'mobile' and 'digital' to 'customer first'

For many customers ‘digital’ can be replaced by ‘mobile’, with many insurers quite rightly spending the last few years designing and delivering strategies to leverage mobile to enhance and extend customer engagement, and making sure it integrates with other customer communication channels, whether digital or not. However, in a post crisis world competitive advantage will only be achieved by moving from a ‘mobile first’ and ‘digital first’ to ‘customer first’ world view, with the focus on reaching a wider range of customers, engaging them more effectively and ensuring each touch point adds value.

Insurance companies should be striving to process information in the same way irrespective of the channel the customer chooses, and ideally that channel should be able to change multiple times throughout a transaction or claims process. For the customer the experience should be seamless, and for the insurer a single process should proceed uninterrupted.

The shift to WFH

However, for many there are still many obstacles on the road to this endpoint of multi-channel, multi touch point customer engagement. Current customer communications are in most cases expensive and ineffective, and in a frightening number of cases still very paper focussed. A single view of the customer is still an ambition rather than a reality for many players - and for many customers having to start the whole process again when moving from one channel to another is still the norm rather than the exception. Add to this the ever present encumbrance of legacy technology systems, and the challenges thrown up by the shift to WFH and the critical need to manage disparate and constantly emerging data sets, and achieving a 21st century customer experience becomes easier said than done.

The end goal requires innovative deployment of digital technologies, flexible and change responsive operating models and an agile workforce; a blend of human talent and technological capability where the technology empowers teams by taking away the time consuming, frustrating manual tasks leaving them free to focus on serving the customer and adding value where the human touch is required. In this context, enabling more efficient communications driven by systems that reduce errors and free up humans to effectively deal with ‘exceptions’ can accelerate business processes and improve the customer experience.

Technological solutions that suit you

As in any context, before thinking about technology solutions, it’s critical that the business challenges are identified and prioritised. Having a clear understanding of where your customer journey is failing is the foundation upon which you can start to find solutions…which may or may not be technology driven. How you approach this is a subject for another blog…if not essay, but it’s worth touching on some of the technologies available and the skills and capabilities needed to deliver them.

Overcoming the operational challenges to deliver a next generation, multi-channel customer experience

1) Identifying the right technology to drive up the customer experience

Once the problems are clearly identified you must identify which technologies will address the business challenges and benefit your customers.

Automation is part of the solution, and the use of online self-service portals and virtual assistants is on the increase. These will allow customers to deal with claims and insurance-related admin when and where they like, and improve productivity and reduce the time spent on routine tasks for insurance providers.

2) Build capabilities for successful integration

If you introduce new technology into your organisation, you must build the capabilities required to integrate it successfully into your business. There is a danger that as we start to come out of the lockdown, organisations will have a knee jerk reaction to implementing new technology without thinking about the skills and capabilities needed to deliver them effectively.

3) Get the best use out of your data

To improve your customer experience, it’s crucial you maximise the use of the data you have gathered from different touchpoints along your customer journey. Leading organisations are already using predictive data analysis to help understand customer behaviour, engage with customers at appropriate times and offer them suitable products and services. Customers can get access to up-to-date, relevant information to help them make decisions on their mobile devices. This meets customer demand for convenience and reduces pressure on contact centre services as well as improving CX.

4) Improve your sales process

Developing a data-driven sales approach is likely to get you the best results post COVID. However this will entail a single view of the customer and a full understanding of the customer journey, and probably a central repository for all customer data. Analysing the data intelligently will allow you to identify cross-selling opportunities and ensure your customer has the cover they need. You can also use real-time customer insights to offer a more personalised service and customise your products offerings.

Only time will tell what the new normal will be for insurance, customers and communications but digital technology will be central to all propositions.

We'll be discussing these key topics in our next webinar on 13th May at 11am with Samantha Smithson-Biggs from Aviva plc and Jo Verheryden, formerly Domestic & General. Click the register button below to secure your place now.

Overcoming the operational challenges to deliver a next generation, multi-channel customer experience

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