When it comes to insurance, the experience customers want is not always the experience customers get. This is not an ideal situation since insurance companies are also in the business of trust. Customers often have a disjointed experience between purchasing a policy, filing a claim, or speaking with salespeople, adjusters, and claims officials. Over the last decade, the average insurance customer has evolved and come to appreciate the nuanced service offerings of other industries. His demands are simple. He expects simple, customised and intuitive policies, an easy and efficient engagement process and a tangible cost breakup. Insurance providers are now fully cognizant of these preferences and have consequently put customer experience at the centre of their value proposition.
Insurance is about building relationships with customers. Technology plays a crucial role in enhancing customer experience by making services customised, relevant and efficient. It helps insurance companies acquire new customers and retain the existing ones by creating a service experience and providing solutions that customers can appreciate. By staying on top of communication, insurers will be able to engage with customers in a more meaningful manner and offer value accretive services.
New customer acquisition: Technology has given “know your customer” a new meaning. It is allowing insurers to be smarter and more strategic about how they reach out to new customers. Data analytics is now at the centre of customisation. From the birth of insurance tech companies that offer a variety of products to suit the idiosyncratic needs of their customers, to customer segmentation that uses data to know which customers to reach out to, the insurance industry is truly harnessing the value of technology. Consequently, acquiring customers is becoming more strategic and impactful rather than just a shot in the dark. The efficacy of technology in acquiring new customers is evident from the growth of online insurers. Smart analytics can provide deeper levels of insight into customer behaviour and needs. Data funnelled through an AI-powered algorithm can provide insurers with actionable ways to reach out to individuals with relevant and customizable offers.
Insurers also need to leverage technology to offer consumers more omnichannel, AI-based services that can efficiently and in a speedy manner direct the potential clients towards the types of policies and insurance benefits they should be enrolling in. Additionally, insurers can use an omnichannel approach to quickly qualify a customer for a particular channel and then bring him to the appropriate agent to discuss further and potentially make a purchase without repeating steps.
Claims: The litmus test of the insurance industry: For a customer, the true test of an insurance company is the claims process. An insurance customer is satisfied when his claims are settled in an efficient and easy manner. Technology can potentially improve every aspect of the claims process. Something as simple as using pre-populated claims forms and apps can make it easier for customers to submit information without having to answer repetitive questions. Insurers and advisors can also leverage technology to regularly update customers on the status of the claims. We all value being updated without having to go through multiple follow-ups. Even small things like paying claims electronically instead of using cheques can potentially enhance the customer experience and make their lives easier. Additionally, digital technology and data gives insurers the chance to know their customers better which in turn helps them price policies and underwrite better.
Retention: In the insurance industry, it is commonplace for a customer to never talk to the same customer service executive twice. The more a customer is compelled to talk to a person, the more frustrated he/she becomes, thus, leading to a sub-optimal experience. People simply want results and to have their issues addressed in an efficient and timely manner. Insurance companies can also incorporate live chat facility so that their customers can get answers to their queries right away through video chat or chatbot. To gain greater insights about their customers, insurers can use tools like predictive and adaptive modelling. While predictive modelling intelligently analyses basic demographic information and assumes what a customer may need, adaptive modelling harnesses specific customer data to develop a highly personalized consumer experience.
The bottom line is that insurers simply cannot afford to ignore technological solutions. Digital solutions provide ample scope to engage with customers in a more meaningful manner and ensure that customers have a fulfilling experience. However, it is important to note that technology cannot replace the human-centric approach that is imperative to the insurance industry. Instead, it should be treated as a key enabler.The author is Co-Founder of Turtlemint