Digitization has reduced the interaction time between customers and brands to seconds. Today, buying products, availing services, asking questions, or submitting complaints can be done simply by tweeting.
Customers have become accustomed to a ‘now’ mode of service. Products and services are expected to be easily accessible and purchasable from a website or an app from your mobile device. Customer support has to be reachable via multiple channels – phone, chat, website, social media, etc. Response times should be minimal without the need for clicking multiple options and waiting on hold. All of these are not just customer expectations but are present-day reality every brand provides through digitization.
Those customer expectations are embedded now in every modern customer, and providing anything less than ‘now’ is perceived as bad customer service. This is exactly why the insurance industry needs to step up. Here’s why.
Why Digitization is Key For Customer Experience (CX)
1. Everyone is technically literate.
There was a time when only the young were tech-savvy, but evidently, times have changed. The largest audience for the insurance industry are millennial or younger, and, for them, technology is a part of everyday life. Even the older generation otherwise known as the baby boomers are adept at using a smartphone or a computer. This makes it imperative for brands to be digital because their audience is and expects to interact that way.
2. Digitization improves more than just Customer Experience.
While the core reason for implementing digital solutions might be CX, it positively impacts other areas of business too. Automation, for example, can help route customer concerns to the right team and streamline support operations. Gone are the old days when a customer got transferred multiple times to speak to the right representative for the issue he/she was calling about. A chatbot can be used to keep the brand online 24×7 without actually needing to pay for a rotational support team. It can also collect useful information without interacting too much with the customer. Artificial Intelligence and analytics can be used to collect important data that the marketing and sales teams can use to upsell services.
3. Technology eliminates human errors.
Mistakes can greatly impact Customer Experience, and in the case of the insurance industry where a significant amount of money is involved, it can lead to liabilities. Implementing digital solutions helps eliminate (or reduce) human errors. Claims processing, for example, can be automated to follow a process of checks to remove any mistakes or bias, improving the control environment as well. AI-based systems can also flag fraudulent claims to prevent losses. All of this equates to faster and error-free service for the customer, while also enhancing operational processes and decrease cost of delivery
4. Allows brands to personalize Customer Experience
Excellent customer experience is a result of service and personalization. Analytics systems can collect massive amounts of useful data (legally, of course) that can be used to create focused marketing communication. When you know what a customer is looking for based on their interactions on websites, social media, etc., you can create campaigns and emails specific to their needs and increase the chance of a conversion. This, in turn, hastens the speed at which a customer takes the decision to purchase and decreases the cost of customer acquisition through a more focused approach.
How Technology & Improved Customer Experience Benefits Insurance Customers
1. It makes information easily accessible
Customers expect easy access to information, including comparing with the competition, that is vital in selecting the best product for them. Allowing your customers to do all of this on your platform helps in the decision making, which improves Customer Experience (CX) (while also reducing bounce rates).
2. Self-service options make purchasing easier.
By providing self-service options like online policies, you make the user journey simple and quick. For a customer who knows what they want, this saves a lot of time and, in turn, improves their experience with your brand.
3. Multi-channel presence makes support more reachable.
Customer support is the backbone of any industry. By providing multiple channels for support – via a chatbot on the website and app, on social media channels, service ticketing, etc., you make it easy for a customer to reach out to you on a platform they are comfortable using.
4. Faster internal processes lead to faster services.
Automation helps streamline internal processes and run them more efficiently, which results in faster customer service. Processes like collecting data, background checks, claims processing, and fraud checks can be automated and run in parallel for every customer increasing the speed of paying claims and delivering on the insurers promise in the “moment of truth” developing the trust in the brand.
5. Increases convenience
While claiming insurance for a car accident, the customer can click a photo of the car and upload it rather than waiting for an insurance agent. When document proof is needed, the customer can send a photo of an ID card, and on the other end, an AI system can use OCR to digitally extract customer details. Technology can make insurance processes convenient for both the customer and the business.
How Digitization Helps the Insurance Industry Meet Changing Customer Needs & Expectations
1. Improved Customer Experience leads to customer retention.
Retaining existing customers is as important as acquiring new customers, if not more so. Customer loyalty stems from customer experience with your brand, which, as we have seen, is best delivered with modern technology.
2. Analytics allows for personalized and specific marketing communication.
The insurance industry is no stranger to the importance of data and thrives on it. But, smarter analytics solutions are capable of extracting deeper levels of data, like tracking mouse movements and clicks on a website, time spent per page, social media trends, online interaction history, etc., that gives a more holistic picture of a customers’ expectations. Communicating with customers becomes easier, with a deeper level of insight.
3. Improves internal business operations
Technology gives insurance companies the ability to do more while spending less. They can implement 24×7 support by installing a smart machine learning-enabled chatbot without needing to hire more personnel for rotational support (which is an expensive recurring cost). Data entry jobs can be completely automated, giving insurers time for more important tasks. Risks can be mitigated by implementing AI-based risk and fraud detection systems.
4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) makes lead management and conversion easy.
Solutions like CRM technology makes it easy for insurers to track and manage leads and data. They can communicate faster and with more relevant information, with all the important information at hand for increasing conversion rates.
Implementing a Digital Customer Experience Strategy
Insurance companies have a range of solutions they can explore to improve customer experience –
- Multi-channel support systems (chatbots, social media handles, email platforms, etc.)
- Dynamic web application
- AI-enabled analytics
- Big data and machine learning
- CRM technology
- RPA for automated internal processes
- Predictive analytics for pricing and risk assessment
- IoT for smart data sharing
The technology stack depends on your needs and expectations. The smart thing to do is approach a solutions provider such as Suyati that has a range of technology services that can be tailored to help you meet evolving customer expectations.
Alexander Eck works with Suyati as Insurance Risk and Technology Advisor. He has multifaceted expertise in managing diverse insurance operational and strategic risk. In addition, Alex has experience in how newly emerging technologies such as Cloud Technology, Cybersecurity, Data & Analytics, Process Automation, Agile Software Development and IT Sourcing can mitigate traditional risks in insurance companies with a lense of process optimization and operational excellence. His current focus is on emerging technologies, digital transformation and strategic business-technology alignment utilizing an Enterprise Risk Management framework and Internal Audit framework to meet overall organizational objectives.
Alexander Eck , Insurance & Tech Advisor at Suyati (Ex Sr. VP QBE Insurance)