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The insurance industry is traditionally slow to embrace shifts towards digital technology. But this is all changing now. Demanding customers have had their expectations are set higher by engaging with companies in other industries at the forefront of digital adoption. They experience personalized offerings and services and the ability to do online research and price comparisons before buying.
And now they wonder why their insurers can’t do the same. Insurance companies can’t ignore these requests any longer. Doing so will surely mean customer attrition in the months ahead.
At long last, many in the insurance industry are finally reacting by moving from vertical business model to a more horizontal one that is truly customer-centric. At the heart of this approach is a seamless channel and personalized experience from both digital and traditional channels. Insurers are creating a single customer view across all products versus the traditional product-centric customer service model. Empowering customers with the right digital tools ensure a convenient and seamless customer experience across all channels, products, and services.
In the end, this helps the organization in a number of business critical ways, including overall growth, improved customer retention, and increased customer lifetime value.
But how can insurers make this digital shift to customer centricity? Here are four key principles to help guide them through this transformation
1. Deeply understand your customer needs
Optimized customer journeys help capture the right level of information on your customers to provide them with personalized product and services so they can make the right decisions. Utilising all available data to provide choices, speed of delivering the services, and quality helps in delighting the customers. This will enable insurers to consistently deliver the value their customers are seeking and remain relevant.
Investing in new data sources and improving the quality of available data will also help to understand customer needs better and lead to more personalized products and services offers.
2. Provide seamless omnichannel experiences
Customers expect interacting with their insurers to be easy and have access to personised services. It’s important for the insurers to provide integrated digital and traditional channels – including human interaction when and where required for some of the more complex interactions. Customers should be able to seamlessly transition across communication channels—from engaging with a bot to speaking to an agent to typing in chat—without losing any context. The insurer customer journeys should focus on “customer is always right approach” and must integrate journeys with relevant touch points across omnichannel journeys.
3. Increase touchpoints
Insurance is changing and moving from insuring risk to preventing risk. A customer-centric insurer is in regular touch with their customers and makes them aware of preventive measures for any potential risks. This not only helps insurers to prevent or minimise losses but also provides an opportunity to expand their range of solutions and services to their customers. The low-value repetitive tasks should be automated however the personalized services should be offered for higher value and important tasks.
4. Show more empathy
Not every touch point needs to explicitly be about making a sale: the more value insurers provide and empathy they exhibit, the more the customer feels loyalty to the brand. In this digital world, insurers must offer the right set of tools to enable the customer to choose the relevant products and help them with quality and speed of delivery of services. The human service element can’t be completely replaced by digital technology, however all available data and tools should be leveraged to provide superior experiences to ensure that customers feel connected.
Future of customer-centricity
The key for a customer-centric insurer is all about harnessing the power of data to understand customer needs so they can offer personalized products and services faster at the right price point with a superior customer experience. Insurer will be focusing on data-driven business models and building and managing data assets and analytical models for distribution, underwriting, pricing, and claims services keeping customer in mind.
With the emergence of connected insurance, open insurance, digital embedded insurance and smart contracts, customer centricity will be vital for insurer success. The increasing number of touchpoints with the customers and the ability to access and share data with the wider insurance ecosystem will put pressure on insurers to provide bespoke offerings, take proactive actions during policy life cycle and make sure that customers feel connected. Data from various sources will need to be managed carefully to ensure quality and protect personal customer information.
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