MAKING INSURANCE CUSTOMER TOUCH POINTS COUNT
Peter Whibley, product marketing manager for KANA Software, A Verint® Company
When it comes to customer experience, the insurance industry has a problem — touch points. I don’t think I’m unique in saying that I seldom contact my insurance company. Once a year maybe, at renewal time usually, sometimes less if the renewal quote is acceptable. This lack of engagement, however, poses a problem for insurance providers. How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors when you barely talk to your customers?
From my own perspective as a customer, and I’m probably like most customers, if we don’t have a problem, how can we tell if our insurance provider is good or not? At the moment, it’s difficult and, as a result, our default position is to compare price. A global survey of 6,000 insurance customers in 11 countries found that 57 percent of U.K. customers are thinking of changing insurer in the next 12 months, far above the global average of 40 percent.
With so few touch points, it’s critical for insurance providers to make their existing touch points count. At the moment, two major touch points exist for insurance companies — the customer onboarding process and claims.
The traditional model of relying on advisors, intermediaries and contact center agents for customer onboarding has changed. Web, mobile and social channels have created a shift in customer expectations across all industries, including insurance. The onboarding process across the industry includes a number of common steps — customer research, application, know your customer, regulatory requirements, qualification decision and account activation.
Each step in the onboarding process is an opportunity for differentiation. And, in insurance, the digitalization is the means by which it can be achieved. Digitalization in insurance shifts the business model to support electronic channels, content and transactions while continuing to support traditional customer engagement methods. The provision of digital services, such as customer knowledge management, Web self-service, mobile applications, and chat and co-browse, helps make the customer onboarding process more convenient for customers, reduce abandonment rates, and reduce costs for the insurance provider.
For customers and the insurance organization, the claims process is the moment of truth in the relationship. The future relationship with the customer depends on the success or failure to execute this critical process. Often a highly emotional process from the customer’s point of view, from the insurance provider’s position, it’s the opportunity to make a difference. It’s also costly to execute.
Insurance organizations must strike a delicate balance between the needs of the customer for speed, consistency, accuracy and convenience, and the needs of the organization to deliver efficiency, cost management and compliance. For many insurance organizations, business process management (BPM) and case management platforms are a key component in meeting the needs of the business and the customer.
BPM and case management applications help enable organizations to optimize how they handle complex business processes, such as insurance claims. Using case management, agents are guided through the claims process with their decision making supported by third-party data integration and knowledge management. The elimination of application switching by using a unified agent desktop helps ensure that the agent’s focus remains on the customer. Business rules and management of service level agreement performance help ensure that regulatory and business objectives are met and risks are mitigated.
Gartner’s Hype Cycles identify a broad spectrum of technologies that will impact the insurance industry. However, Gartner states that only a few of these technologies are truly transformational. At KANA, we focus on two of these transformational technologies — digitalization and BPM. Together, digitalization, BPM and case management allow our insurance customers to optimize how they manage their existing touch points.
KANA was one of only four vendors identified by Forrester as a case management leader in 2014. In addition, using complementary products, such as the Verint Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) platform, KANA can increase customer touch points through the use of multichannel surveys. So, rather than simply contacting customers at renewal time, KANA can help you to proactively engage customers, maintain an ongoing relationship and use their input to drive companywide action and accountability.
To increase customer touch points, insurance companies are slowly following other financial services providers in moving from a product view of business to a customer view—and then trying to sell an expanded range of solutions and services to their customers. However, before taking these next steps, it’s essential that insurance companies maximize their existing customer touch points.
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About the Author
Specializing in helping organizations architect next-generation customer experiences, Peter Whibley is product marketing manager for KANA, a Verint® Company.