Technology Brings Insurance Customer Experience to the Forefront

Customers will jump ship if they don’t feel they are getting the personalized experience they expect from brands.

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When it comes to insurance, the experience customers want is not always the experience customers get. Often, the customer’s journey can feel like a disjointed experience between purchasing a policy, filing a claim, or speaking with salespeople, adjusters, and claims officials. But in today’s era, customers are not satisfied with the back-and-forth between various departments and will jump ship if they don’t feel they are getting the personalized experience they expect from brands.

As insurers start to reckon with the changing purview of the modern customer, they must consider how to create personalized experiences that provide value on an individual level by shifting their focus toward delivering one-to-one customer engagement. Increasing that level of personalization will not only help the customer feel like they are being heard, but can also result in growth for the business. By taking a look at the tools insurance companies are using to create optimal experiences, we can gain a deeper understanding on how the leading organizations are creating more meaningful relationships.

The power of analytics, modeling, and AI

Analytics has been a key focus for businesses since the floodgates of data opened to unlock new insights and possibilities, but many businesses still don’t know how to get the most impact from their data. Common analytics techniques such as click rates and response rates don’t actually reveal much about how and why customers are making their purchasing decisions.

However, smart analytics can provide deeper levels of insight into customer behavior and needs. The next generation of AI-based analytics solutions provides businesses with both the muscle and brains they need to make the most of the ocean of data at their fingertips. Insights such as share of wallet or product per household can be funneled through an AI-powered algorithm that can provide actionable ways for insurers to reach out to individuals with relevant offers that enhance their lives, instead of additional noise and frustration. For example, the number of Americans with life insurance continues to decline; however, the need for life insurance still remains. By analyzing customer data, insurers can understand why consumers are making these decisions, and understand how to appropriately offer a customized policy that works for them.

Insurers also need to offer consumers more omnichannel, AI-based services that can quickly and easily guide them toward the types of policies and insurance benefits they should be enrolling in. For example, insurers can use technology such as chatbots to help customers who prefer digital channels quickly understand the right policies for them. Additionally, with an omnichannel approach, chatbots can quickly qualify a customer through that channel and bring them to the appropriate agent to discuss further and potentially make a purchase without repeating steps.

Shifting from reactive to proactive interactions

In the past, insurers have typically taken a reactive approach, only interacting with customers when there is a reason to. Instead, insurers must transition away from reactive engagement and start taking a more proactive approach, understanding moments of need before they even happen.

Tailored engagement strategies based on lifestyles and demographics can put the right message in front of the right audiences. Younger people just beginning their careers may be more interested in insurance for wealth protection and accumulation. Similarly, when marketers approach married couples, they may want to target them with auto or home insurance policies. To inform these strategies, insurers can use tools like predictive and adaptive modeling. Predictive modeling intelligently analyzes basic demographic information and assumes what customers may need, while adaptive marketing uses specific customer behavior and related outcomes, to develop a highly personalized consumer experience. 

Cultural change for a more unified approach

Ultimately, a strategy to improve customer engagement needs to be collaborative across an entire organization. IT and business decision makers can ensure their insurance organizations are engaging with their customers on a personalized, meaningful level by switching to a horizontal integration. Currently, most businesses operate vertically, with sales, underwriting, claims, and other departments in silos. But customers do not operate that way. A horizontal structure enables insurance providers to align their internal business processes with customer journeys. While each department will need to perfect their one-to-one customer engagement approach, they also need to engage with each other.

Additionally, business decision makers and IT must collaborate to ensure the right technology is being used to achieve the ultimate goal of optimal customer engagement. It’s common for businesses to think a new, buzzy application will serve their customers best, but without a true strategy behind the implementation, organizations will be back at square one. Technology implementations should be mapped around the customer’s journey—incorporating where the customer’s journey is most likely to begin and end, and every step in between.

The competitive insurance landscape is becoming increasingly crowded with “on-demand” providers popping up at every turn and even business behemoths, such as Amazon and Google, are looking for ways to expand their services. The battle for the customer’s attention will be won and lost on customer experience and the victors will be those who adopt technology that put customer centricity and service at the forefront of their business strategies.

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Jim Ryan // Jim Ryan is vice president and industry market lead for Pegasystems’ insurance business.  He is responsible for developing Pega’s insurance product strategies and works with clients to develop solutions that address their business objectives. Ryan has held senior leadership roles at AIG, AON, Swiss Re, and Ernst & Young covering the life, property and casualty, alternative risk transfer, and multinational segments. As a CIO, he led distribution and customer engagement transformation programs that included SAAS, cloud transformation, and process automation solutions.

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