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Customer expectations for engagement with businesses have risen in tandem with the rise of digital innovation, driving the imperative for change in the insurance industry. A good customer experience leaves people feeling heard and appreciated it minimizes friction and maximizes efficiency while keeping a human element. Give customers a great experience and they’ll buy more, remain loyal, and share their experiences with others.

Providing a positive customer experience is no longer just about offering great service. It is increasingly a way for companies in competitive markets to distinguish their brands.

So, what does this mean for insurers, who are facing intense competition? Those that want to differentiate themselves and rise to the top will need to offer experiences that deliver a cohesive, digitally-enabled journey.

Better connections with customers
Customers want access to convenient, digital tools, and their expectations are changing alongside technology. But that’s not all they want. Customers are also seeking excellent customer service—and that’s something that is not likely to change.

Poor customer service is one of the top reasons customers leave or switch financial institutions. When focusing on digital transformation, it’s important not to forget about the customer service fundamentals that haven’t changed.

When it comes to insurance companies, customers can get a quote for a product through online channels, but it’s not always possible to close the purchase. And with most insurers still reaching customers through the broker channel and relying on legacy systems and technology, experiencing the various parts of the customer journey can help insurance companies address the pain points and differentiate themselves from the competition.

Data-driven customer insights
Data is the lifeblood of the insurance industry. It’s helpful to know what happened in the past, but it’s much more powerful to know what will happen in the future and how you can influence it.

Insights can improve your customer strategy in many areas, including customer experience design, marketing, sales and service optimization. Using these insights helps you to rely less on factors like age or marital status when pricing premiums and put more emphasis on personalization and an individual’s unique characteristics.

Analytics can also extend beyond traditional customer data points to include behavioral economics, as well as digital intelligence. This gives you a more complete view of your customers so you can offer the right products at the right time and, possibly, cross- and up-sell additional relevant insurance solutions.

Empower customers with essential digital tools and technologies
Factors like accessibility, product diversity, and ease of use drive decision-making for insurance customers. Customers today expect interactions with service providers to be simple, fast, and efficient. But the insurance industry has lagged behind other industries in giving customers a seamless digital experience. Despite digital technology permeating nearly every other aspect of our lives, much of the insurance industry is handicapped by cumbersome, time-consuming, manual processes.

Digital technology, in addition to enhancing the general customer experience, can also improve an organization’s operations, revenue, compliance, claims and underwriting efficiency, sales productivity, and speed to market. For example, digital solutions can help by providing:

  • Accessible, easy-to-use, self-service tools for submitting claims documentation that minimizes the “back and forth,” saving employees time and increasing customer satisfaction.
  • Input controls that drive completeness of forms and submissions.
  • Data analytics that provide insight into customer needs or market opportunities.
  • Monitoring to gather important decision-making data, such as real-time driver behavior data for auto insurance or smart appliance data for homeowners’ insurance.
  • Automation of manual processes for cost management and profitable growth.

Established insurers must now embrace digital channels to meet and exceed customer expectations or risk continuing to lose ground to new, more tech-savvy entrants. To address the new digital imperative in insurance, insurers must put customers at the center of everything and deliver the connected experiences they expect.

In the end, people only buy two things: good feelings and solutions to problems. Why not give them both? For insurance companies (typically relegated to the latter category), the current environment offers a unique opportunity to distinguish their brand while building better quality, longer-lasting customer relationships.

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