The insurance landscape continues to evolve. The pressure is on for insurers to address new demands in the marketplace. To meet these challenges, insurers will have to be more customer-centric, open to change, and willing to innovate.
During the Insurance-Canada Technology Conference (ICTC2015), I saw a willingness to learn and address the issues head-on. Here are some of the highlights of this recent conference:
Leadership teams within the insurance sector value the importance of mobile. They want to address the needs and expectations of the entire user ecosystem while enabling a consistent customer experience among all channels, in real-time.
The benefits of investing in mobile are considerable, especially as todays customers expect to see real-time updates when and where they require them.
Customers want to reach call centers quickly and to engage with insurers via multiple media. For insurers, supporting mobile access means enabling shorter task flow between the different channels, the optimization of forms that are associated with the customer’s mandatory information and addressing how these and other data points meet the needs of a mobile customer.
For instance, designers can speed up the application process by modifying controls on mobile for ease of data entry. Integration of scanners and even the ability to import and access an address book can help shorten the user task flow.
Insurance CTA: Approach the customer/broker experience as a major strategic initiative. Your competitors are. #usabilitymatters
— Usability Matters (@umatters) March 16, 2015
The need to drive business performance while addressing the increase in competitiveness is leading to many initiatives that aim to satisfy the needs of all customers. The customer can be the agent, the CSR, the broker, the policyholder. Each have different needs, diverse pain points and preferences in the way they communicate.
Interactions needs to be personalized or customized. It’s important to truly understand how and when the customer wants to receive information. For example, if they prefer to receive their information by text, how will the provider enable that? Supporting multiple channels of communication will go a long way to creating loyalty as well as aggregating data to provide actionable insights into the ever-evolving needs of the customer.
Pascal Lavoie, Senior Official, Technology, at Industrial Alliance showed that addressing and tapping into the needs of the user during core systems deployment ensures greater success upon release.
Because Industrial Alliance considered the needs of the users in-field consistently and throughout the process of design, they were able to achieve zero percent interruption in customer service, fifty percent reduction in agent training time with over 1.8 million customer records migrated and 300,000 policies migrated.
They used an Agile approach that incorporated regular customer feedback as a result, their efforts at launch were smoother, they got buy-in from the users immediately, and they were fully functional within a few days.
Brand, value, communications and relationships are the four key areas that influence the customer experience, according to a study shared by Mark Breading, Partner at Strategy Meets Action (SMA) Research[i]. Specifically, areas such as reputation, Net Promoter Scores (NPS), service value, fit-to-needs, multi-channel interaction, and personal connections were a few of the areas that were highlighted.
One in every five insurers[ii] felt they needed to prioritize improving the customer experience. For the C-suite, the key business drivers for improving this experience include increasing sales and attracting more profitable customers.
The single view of the customer is not a new idea. However, only eight percentii of companies in North America have a single view of the customer and provide this data to all channels in real-time. Twenty-seven percent have a single view of the customer, but the information is not available in real-time.
Customer journey mapping continues to elude the insurance industry
. Thirty-five percent[ii] have created a customer journey. But, of this group, many struggle with operationalizing and embedding this information into the culture. Only six percent have said that they have achieved this successfully.
My call to action to the insurance industry:
- Approach the customer/broker experience as a major strategic initiative. Your competitors are.
- Develop a strategy and roadmap for user-centered, full channel integration.
- Map out customer journeys: find ways to action what you’ve learned the customer/broker ecosystem.
- Be where and when your customers need you – on any platform. Recognize and meet customer/broker expectations.
Insurers need to enable all their users. When needed. In real-time. With so many touch points and different users in the ecosystem, the challenge is significant.
[i] SMA Research, Insurance Ecosystem 2015m, n=105
[ii] SMA Research, Customer Experience 2014, n=61