Reimagining the Insurance Customer Journey: Why Now?
In this Insurance Customer Journey Blog Series, we’ll discuss why reimagining the customer journey is critical, where the current improvement gaps among insurers lie, and further delve into ways these gaps can be addressed.
The concept of customer experience has been prevalent in the insurance industry for several years. Many insurers developed internal customer experience (CX) business areas, explored customer journey mapping, and incorporated customer personas into product development and marketing strategies. Many future-focused insurers worked hard to instill a customer centric culture. And while there has been progress made, overall industry results have been less than anticipated. Just as the pandemic forced an increase in consumer digital demand and displayed a spotlight on manual processes, it has also exposed industry gaps within customer experience transformation.
Let’s take a look at where the customer experience gaps exist:
Although customer experience is listed at the top of insurers’ strategic plans, many have been handling these initiatives from the inside-out perspective. They have been striving to innovate while still using traditional approaches: transactional as opposed to holistic, touchpoints over end-to-end journeys, silos over cross-functional teams, projects as opposed to broad based programs. To quickly gain ground, insurers need to pivot to an outside-in approach, considering customer needs and impacts first to ensure the organization is making decisions that deliver the most direct customer value.
Digital engagement tools now allow insurers to quickly connect with existing insureds to improve retention and strengthen relationships. With U.S. smartphone ownership at higher than 80%, adding digital engagement to an insurer’s solutions is critical to improving both the quality and frequency of customer interactions. But surprisingly, a 2020 E&Y research study reported that 44% of insurance customers had no interactions at all with their insurers in the prior 18 months1.
Although digitization has been a critical focus for the industry, a recent J.D. Power survey revealed that very few insurers currently deliver a highly personalized and improved digital experience. The results showed that customer satisfaction with online insurance shopping actually declined2. Customers expect the Amazon omnichannel experience, unified and seamless, where data automatically syncs across devices and channels, and interactions are simple, quick and easy. Essentially, they expect technology that puts the customer at the center of its functionality. Instead, they frequently encounter disjointed experiences that don’t meet their needs.
The acquisition and utilization of customer data is crucial to simplifying and improving the customer experience. Insurers cannot deliver speed, simplicity and ease across channels without accurate and actionable data. Obtaining simple contact information and customer communication preferences can enable digital engagement and instant payments. Data prefill from internal and external sources can greatly accelerate processing time. Artificial intelligence can be utilized to further leverage data to drive automation and simplification.
Why aren’t insurers further along in improving the customer experience?
Most insurers acknowledge the impact of changing customer expectations on their organizations and recognize the value of customer experience for customer loyalty. But under pressure from the accelerated pace of industry demands, many have fallen back to the more traditional inside-out view. And to realize benefits, deliver value, and achieve sustainable progress, it also takes solid investment in technology, automation, and data.
A Customer Experience Paradigm Shift
Today’s insurance customers are no longer comparing insurers to each other; their expectations are being heavily influenced by their experience in other industries. Customers expect choice, convenience, and control. They expect speed, simplicity and value. Optimizing the experience for today’s insurance customer requires carriers to urgently drive a paradigm shift throughout the enterprise, embedding a customer-first mentality. It requires a reimagining of the customer journey that includes new approaches to digital engagement, automation, technology, and data. Providing mobile apps, offering credit card payment, enabling digital claim appraisals, or standing up self-service portals do not automatically equate to customer satisfaction or loyalty. Now is the time for insurers to commit to an enterprise-wide customer experience program based on meeting customers where they are today on their digital journeys, while continuing to innovate to meet them where they’ll be tomorrow.
We’re here to help. One Inc’s comprehensive payment solution enables insurers to deliver on their promise to provide a secure and superior customer experience. We provide carriers with the ability to give their customers what they want and expect: control, convenience, consistency, and continuity. That’s the strength derived from the Power of One™ - a cohesive and seamless experience for both inbound and outbound digital payments.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Customer Journey Blog Series where we take a deeper look at the value of digital engagement, its impacts on customer retention, and how it can engender transparency and trust.