Digitization of the customer dialog in the insurance industry: Projects in practice (Part 4)
This article concludes our series on the step-by-step digitization of customer dialog in the insurance industry. Find out what digital projects from various insurance providers that have opened up these new possibilities look like, and how you can take ever greater steps in their digitization.
The basic preliminary considerations have been made, the digital vision has been set, project boundaries and a digital agenda have been defined – off we go with the implementation of the digitization projects!
Step 5: Implementation of digital projects in customer dialog
The new digital projects in the customer dialog should, as previously mentioned, always be project-specific speedboats that are straightforward and relatively easy to manage using digital technology, promise an agile response and, if possible, even reduce the costs and outlay in the operational areas. In this context, German InsureTech companies have developed a number of digital projects that exactly meet these requirements. The digital private health insurer Ottonova, for example, offers its policyholders an app that delivers diagnoses and any sick notes directly via the smartphone. The patient doesn’t even have to go to a doctor’s office to do so. The Ottonova app scores points with its uncomplicated customer contact and myriad of services: Medical bills can be submitted more easily and quickly, because the customer can take a picture of them. The result: Health expenditures can be reimbursed more quickly. Soon the app will also recommend specialists to the insured and arrange appointments with them.
Another example is the Berlin-based digital insurance company Element, the first technology platform to commence business operations as an approved risk carrier in indemnity insurance. The start-up focuses on personalization to generate offers for the needs and personal situations of the individual. In household insurance, for instance; because not every insured person has that much inventory on their property, which makes a rigid insurance premium seem justified. To achieve this, Element relies on cost-effective artificial intelligence in claims processing from the outset. The target is a ratio of fully automated claims processing of 70 to 80 percent – the industry average is still lower. These two digital projects show how insurance companies can create a positive customer experience along the customer journey if they not only master the value chain, but also react quickly and agilely to customer needs.
Step 6: Controlling and validation
Digitization is a journey on which customers and the Customer Journey Map set the course. On the way, this must always be compared and adjusted with the current experiences in the project. That is why it is so important to control and check every single step and every phase. The customer is the focus. Make them the most important employee in the project. Then take on the internal processes, from product development to sales and administration. Set milestones at which a certain measured quantity is to be reached. When the milestone is reached at the right time, you get the green light for the next steps. If the mark isn’t reached at the specified time, the analysis begins: Does the team need to change anything about the way they work through the plan? If the plan isn’t right, does it need to be revised or improved? To examine these questions, install control mechanisms such as reviews, reports, and steering committees, and interview your customers and employees. After the first validation (Step 6), the project is checked for whether it contributes to the implementation of the digital vision (Step 2). It’s then fine-tuned, its limits and objectives (Steps 3 and 4) redefined or reformulated as appropriate to modify or renew its implementation (Step 5).
This process can be repeated depending on the scope of the project. This way, the project can be optimized and elevated from validation to validation. And the more processes you digitize, the more their exceptional character will recede in the company and the new digital project will become the rule. However, a validation may also reveal that the project is a mistake and needs to be discontinued. Do not demonize that mistake; breakdowns and undesirable developments can be a valuable raw material for discovering new things. Companies that manage mistakes correctly even have an enormous advantage over their competitors. So give the mistake a chance. It will gives you the security to dare something new and continue experimenting in the digital world.
Summary and outlook
The digitization of customer communication doesn’t have to be a journey into the unknown for insurance companies. It is true that breakdowns and undesirable developments can’t be ruled out from the outset. However, this prospect shouldn’t take away the curiosity of those responsible in marketing, sales, or customer service to experiment with the many approaches and techniques provided by digitization for optimizing the dialog with customers. The success of the overall initiative depends much more on the fact that the customer and their personal situation are at the center of digital considerations if the project is adequately accompanied methodically, strategically, and organizationally.
The six-step model, which is based on customer relationship management experience and should be used as a matrix for new digital projects, is a valuable aid for all phases of implementation. It takes into account the heterogeneity of the insurance industry and its products on the one hand, and the diversity of customers and their contact points throughout their customer journeys on the other. Of course, it like every model has to be put to the test and, if necessary, updated and adapted for the respective customer segments and products. But it is an important tool for the journey into the digital world, and has already proven itself in numerous customer projects.
Author: Editorial team Future. Customer.
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