Gone are the days of manual underwriting and labour-intensive risk analysis. Nowadays, the insurance industry is one of the most tech-savvy in the business world, using artificial intelligence and Big Data to make smarter, faster decisions.
But while insurers have been quick to embrace technology to improve processes and products, they’re lagging when it comes to using tech to improve the customer experience (CX). Customers can get automated policy decisions in seconds, but contacting providers can be a frustrating experience from start to finish.
In this blog, we’ll explore 4 of the biggest CX challenges insurance companies currently face – and how to use technology to overcome them.
Challenge 1: Manual processes
Insurance companies have been automating underwriting processes for years, and many are starting to explore how artificial intelligence and machine learning can drive further improvements. Yet when it comes to CX, many are still using outdated, manual processes for claims processing, loyalty reward programs and renewal policies.
By failing to automate these key aspects of the customer journey, insurers are not only wasting valuable time (and therefore money), but they’re also missing out on an opportunity to build strong, personalised relationships. Research shows that when businesses communicate with customers in a timely, personalised manner, they’re more likely to be rewarded with loyalty.
Customer journey automation can take many forms. For example, you can use workflow automation to send policy renewal reminders with personalised discounts based on years of loyalty. Digital document management systems can integrate with workflow automation so it’s easier to manage information (thereby cutting down the time all parties spend dealing with paperwork).
However you choose to go about it, automating key interactions can free up time for more complex tasks – and help you build better relationships by making it quick and easy for customers to interact with you.
Challenge 2: Silos
Insurers deal with vast amounts of customer data, covering everything from demographics to lifestyle to communication preferences. But all too often, information exists in silos across business units. This means insurers rarely have a single customer view. You might know, for example, that Jane from Glasgow is 49 and a smoker. But you might not know that the last time she phoned, she tried to resolve her problem online first or recently clicked on an email about pet insurance (because that information sits with the marketing or customer service department).
The solution: use technology that tracks end-to-end customer journeys and integrates with your other systems. You then have that unified view of the customer. And you can then use the information to develop hyper-personalised journeys that keep people on track and pre-empt drop-off points.
Challenge 3: Commoditisation
The insurance industry is competitive. This means businesses are in a constant battle to attract new customers and retain existing ones. The risk is that customers become numbers instead of people.
Treating customers like a commodity in this way is a sure-fire way to lose them. Instead, insurers need to take a leaf out of the retail industry’s book and hyper-personalise the customer experience. Lifecycle management solutions can help ensure people feel valued from the moment they stumble from a comparison site right through to post-claim communication.
Of course, good customer lifecycle management isn’t just about making customers feel good. The more you know about people, the easier it is for you to anticipate their needs and offer products that meet them at the right time. This then increases the likelihood of a conversion, boosting customer lifetime value.
Challenge 4: Single-channel communications
Customers use multiple communication channels depending on their needs. They want to be able to renew their policy online, speak to an understanding call centre advisor when making a claim, and troubleshoot problems immediately (possibly with support from an AI-powered Chatbot).
Of course, multi-channel doesn’t have to mean all the channels. Different products have different customer journeys. Car insurance, for example, whether renewing or starting out is often requested to be used immediately, so the process needs to be fast and intuitive. Life insurance generally involves a more drawn-out process with more documentation required. Caravan insurance can skew towards a mature demographic, meaning there may be more need for call centre support and less use of digital self-service.
You therefore need a multi-channel approach – but those channels need to be joined up so customers get a seamless experience when moving from one to another. That way, call centre advisors can see if a customer has previously engaged with a Chatbot or email, making it easier to deliver an efficient service.