The insurance industry is experiencing a very prosperous phase of momentous changes. Changes that are underpinned by several factors, but that are accelerated by a common thrust: Digital Transformation.
In a previous post we focused on everything related to Insurtech and how it is revolutionizing the Insurance Industry as a whole. Now, we want to focus on a decisive aspect, that of Customer Experience in the insurance sector.
Warning. When we talk about new digital trends, we must never forget that it’s all about individuals. That the real 4.0 revolution is a journey that starts from’data’ and arrives at individuals, who truly become the center of every business.
This is not about slogans. Far from it. It is precisely on the relationship that you are able to establish with your customers that the challenges of the present and future market are played out.
And here’s why Customer Service departments are acquiring unprecedented importance.
Let’s take a look at some data:
- For 90% of people, the quality of customer service is one of the deciding factors in choosing to purchase products, services or subscriptions with a company (Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365 – Global State of Customer Care).
- 93% of consumers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that provide excellent customer service (Source: Hubspot).
- Millennials are willing to pay up to 21% more to do business with companies that have smart and efficient customer service processes (Source: Customer Thermometer).
- Conversely, 89% of customers who left a company for a competitor did so primarily because of customer experience issues (Source: Customer Thermometer).
Obviously, companies in the insurance sector cannot ignore this reality. Especially in an ecosystem such as the current one, characterized by a much more fluid landscape than in the past: today, more and more often, you can take out policies in a few clicks, perhaps for a limited period of time…and you can join the ranks of a competitor in a very simple and fast way.
What to do, then?
Adapt to this new environment, study its evolution, learn how to set up a new dialog with the insured party. An increasingly effective, digital, and “close” dialog. Below, we will isolate some key points for the present and future of Customer Experience in the insurance industry; concluding this post on an aspect that not everyone has focused on to the fullest, that does not directly affect customers, but that can make a huge difference.
Multichannel and always-on
Let’s start again by looking at these other pieces of data:
- 98% of Americans use multiple devices in the same day to access online content (forbes.com).
- 72% of consumers prefer to connect with brands and companies in a multichannel way (autopilottapp.com).
The trend is crystal clear; when we interface with a company, we increasingly do so through different channels and devices. After all, if you think about it, it’s a very common experience.
It’s no longer a case of waiting for minutes on the phone to speak to an operator; we can almost always solve any problem by chatting to an operator online, or through increasingly targeted automated systems. Sometimes we send emails. Other times, we use dedicated apps. And in some cases we also write on the social channels of companies and brands.
All of this we can do both from the desktop and (increasingly) from smartphones. And, finally, we do it according to unfixed schedules, even in the evening, even on weekends. Those who deal with Customer Experience in the insurance industry cannot avoid looking this reality in the face.
So, here are the first key facts: customer service must be always-on, thanks to the help of automated systems, and multichannel, with a great attention to mobile devices.
From Big Data to relationships
Once again, let’s open this paragraph with an eloquent figure, which emerged from a Microsoft survey:
- 72% of consumers expect to be contacted by customer service departments that “know who they are, know what they have previously purchased, and know their choices and prior needs” (Microsoft Dynamics 365 – Global State of Customer Care).
Therein lies the great secret to the effectiveness of any customer service since time immemorial: knowing your customers. Today, thanks to digital technology, this ancient weapon can be used even when you have a very large and varied customer base. All in an automated way.
How is this possible? Thanks to Big Data analytics.
In our post on Insurtech, we saw how fundamental it is to take advantage of the digitalization of documents, in order to extract valuable data related to one’s customers, their characteristics, their needs, their risk profiles, their relationships with the insurance company.
The next step is to collect, analyze, and interpret all this huge amount of data, with the help of Artificial Intelligence systems.
It’s also about not limiting ourselves to data that can be extracted from documents, but about finding – more generally – the digital traces that we all leave, continuously, online. From search engines, to interactions on social networks, to geolocalizations…without considering the enormous and precious amount of data that are starting to arrive thanks to the IoT revolution, a very promising field for the Insurance Industry.
Based on this information, insurance companies can have a very detailed picture of their customer base. So, divide this audience into segments with homogeneous characteristics, based on different metrics.
It’s no longer about a single generalized target, but many increasingly specific micro-targets to be intercepted with communications, assistance, and made-to-measure proposals. In short, the turning point for Customer Experience in the insurance sector is data-driven.
It starts with data and arrives at people. Yes, down to the individual person. And we’ll focus on this aspect in the next section, with a very specific example.
Personalization: the turning point for Customer Experience in the insurance industry
As promised, we’ll look at the turning point of digital personalization with a concrete example.
Let’s talk about the collaboration between Doxee and AXA, a French insurance giant, very much at the forefront of the digitalization of the Customer Experience.
This is a collaboration that, at its base, had the goal of reducing the rate of cancellation at the time of policy renewal. AXA chose to use Doxee Pvideo® personalized and interactive videos, distributed via email to its customers, 40 days before the expiration of the RCA policy.
Each person received a video that was created based on their data: from license plate, to vehicle color, to included accessory policies. In addition, special offers were included, selected from specific variables such as previous claims, geographic area of residence, and purpose of vehicle use.
The goal? To maximize the conversions for policy renewal, with extreme simplicity, in a single click. All of this by transforming a complicated and slippery moment into an opportunity for dialog and engagement.
The results of this campaign were significant, demonstrating – once again – the unprecedented effectiveness of everything related to personalization and turning the one-to-one dialog between company and customer around.
To learn more, you can download the case study for free, here.
Improving the Customer Experience starts with employees
“If the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the job they’re doing, if you give them the tools to do a good job, they’re proud of the brand, if they were looked after, if they’re treated well, then they’re gonna be smiling, they’re gonna be happy and therefore the customer will have a nice experience.” (inc.com).
This statement is by Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, one of the most forward-looking entrepreneurs of our time.
These are words that summarize, once again, an ancient wisdom…which does not wane at all with the digital age, but quite the opposite. To put it another way: if you want to improve the customer experience in the insurance industry, the first aspect you need to take care of is the advocacy of your employees and contractors.
This is what B2E (Business to Employee) strategies are all about, achieving maximum employee satisfaction (at any level) in the workplace, but also stimulating employee engagement, making them feel an integral part of the work team, and of the spirit of the company more generally, knowing its values, and its short- and long-term objectives.
“Employees need to be put first. If you take care of employees, they will do the same for customers.”
That’s how Richard Branson again summarizes what we emphasized above. And, once again, this is the real revolution of the Digital Customer Experience: starting from data, from the most advanced technologies, to really put people at the center!