Customer service and the customer experience are becoming an important competitive differentiator in the insurance industry. To establish a successful relationship between insurers and customers, companies must focus on meeting consumer demands during each phase of the customer journey.
Nearly 60% of insurance executives rank a differentiated customer service experience as having the highest impact on successful competition. For many years, customer demands, the effects of digitizing customer relationships and the creation of a successful customer journey have been the focus when it comes to customer service in the insurance business. But inquiries in the insurance industry are issue driven, and customers often only reach out when they have a problem and are already likely frustrated. So, how do you make sure customers are truly the focus of your business during every touchpoint with your brand?
This is affects the whole insurance value chain, from acquisition (brokers), to policy management, regulatory requirements and claims management, across the three core insurance product groups: Property & Casualty; Life & Pension; and Health & Prevention.
Which is why it’s important to choose a customer experience outsourcing partner with the best insurance-specific experience – at a global and regional level. BFSI is a big part of our worldwide customer experience and engagement business. This means that we have deep local market knowledge in 28 countries combined with global know-how, operational best practice, technology expertise and people resources.
From when potential customers start evaluating insurance offerings to the point where a customer reaches out for support or submits a service claim with your organization, what are consumers expecting when it comes to the level of customer service? Throughout the customer journey, insurers must adapt to the unique needs of each consumer to provide the best experience and earn loyal customers who will serve as important ambassadors for your company in the future.
Actively Communicate During the Consultation Phase
Insurance isn’t a nice to have, and consumers seek out coverage out of necessity rather than desire. Changes in someone’s personal situation trigger consumers to enter the consultation phase and start requesting information from insurers. Instead of insurers looking to create demand, customer communication in large part only begins when the need is already acute. Traditionally, interactions between insurers and customers are “accident-driven” instead of being initiated by insurance companies. So, how do you proactively improve the customer experience?
Many insurance companies are failing to actively promote new products or services to customers. Too often customer interactions are based on need and without cause, occurring haphazardly. Globally, 44% of customers have had no interactions with their insurers in the last 18 months. Instead of being passive in the relationship and relying on customers to communicate, insurers should take more control and ownership by making their customers aware of comprehensive risks and the need to protect against them.
Personalize Across Channels in the Purchase Decision Phase
As customers enter the purchase decision phase, the customer experience becomes even more integral to the relationship. With the growth of digital channels, there are several options for a customer to purchase a policy, such as personal sales, an intermediary, your website or comparison portals. With 80% of customers willing to use digital and remote channel options to complete tasks and transactions, it is critical to meet customers on diverse channels with a highly personalized approach regardless of the purchase platform.
Customers place a high value on an easy process and individualized options and want to buy from insurance companies that serve up comprehensive policy information that is tailored to their specific situation. Across all purchase options, the human factor (or personal contact) is a crucial component of converting a prospect into a customer. Personal consultations still remain important, but consumers now also expect to quickly reach you through intermediaries, service centers or digital channels. To offer both detailed and personalized communications, insurance companies need to offer personal consultation services that are supported by other channels to communicate the value of products and services.
Balance Humans and Technology During the Support and Service Phases
When customers reach out for support, they want the experience to be three things: personal, fast and easy. To fulfil this expectation, insurers must integrate trusted, familiar contact channels with digital options. While customers still want quick and stress-free access to friendly and accommodating insurers over the phone, there is also a desire to communicate via digital contact options like email, chat and even self-service. For customers, both analog and digital channels are equally importance when they are looking for insurance support.
When submitting a claim, customers also want a seamless, rapid and individualized process. During the service phase, speed becomes a larger priority during claim settlements and payment processing. Despite the immediacy of digital services, these solutions are often under-utilized in this area. Although customers are used to leveraging the service center for direct exchanges with insurers, digital and mobile processing can increase efficiency by solving claims quickly and providing tracking for customers, driving improvements in customer satisfaction.
Some final thoughts….
In the insurance industry, the insurer-customer relationship is a valuable competitive differentiator throughout the entire customer journey from the initial consultation through to support and claims. To put customers front and center every step of the way, insurers need to proactively communication during the information phase, focus on personalizing interactions with customers on diverse channels during the purchase phase and create a blend between personal contact and digital tools to elevate support and claims services. To attract and retain customers, insurers must actively seek out opportunities to innovate their customer service approach to address customers’ needs and drive positive customer experiences during every touchpoint along the customer journey.
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