By threading together their customer experience management program, insurance companies can achieve better operational results with less.
By Tuval Lava, President & Executive Chairman of CallVU | Originally Published in Property Casualty 360
When it comes to harnessing available technology to optimize customer experiences, most insurance executives will confidently tell you they’re using it all. But interestingly industry statistics beg to differ. According to one industry analysis, the insurance industry as a whole, tend to be digital lagers. Many companies don’t host an app, nor is the website optimized to mobile devices. There is a good reason for this trend too, digital transformation hasn’t proven to have paid off in insurance as it has for other verticals.
When it comes to contacting their insurer, customers continue to pick up the phone and call. Why? Because they have minimal confidence that they will be able to resolve their policy or claim issue using digital channels.
To see the benefit of digital transformation, insurers need to get quantifiable value out of it. However, value is not created just by creating the missing digital assets and ‘plonking’ them in to the customer service (CX) offering. To get real, quantifiable value Insurers must centralize all their digital assets and prime them towards facilitating complete, and satisfying customer experiences.
Siloed to a Source
Digital adoption by customers to address service issues or sales has stalled. Studies indicate that in 2014 the phone was used at a rate of 97% and by 2017 dropped to 88% which is a decrease of 9%. However, digital channels have failed to make up the difference. A report which compared usage of customer service support channels in 2014 against 2017, found that email has dropped by 36%, webchat by 5%, the website or portal has decreased by an incredible 51% and only mobile messaging shows a slight increase of 1%.
Furthermore, many industry experts suggest that these rates of digital usage are only as high as they are due to the youngest cohorts of Millennials and Generation Z being so committed to their digital lifestyle. Yet, those aged 35 and up are far more inclined to pick up the phone to contact a company, over any other communication medium.
The phone remains the preferred method because customers have little confidence that they will be able to resolve their issues over digital channels. Experience has taught us, that if you want to make sure that a claim is effectively resolved you’re best off talking to a human being over the phone.
To their detriment digital channels are highly siloed and tend to provide a disjointed experience where customers are not able to move between channels and complete activities. For example, once in a digital channel, say the web, the customer is restricted to the activities that the website can facilitate. However if the customer has an unusual inquiry, is not sure about a policy’s terms and conditions, would like to make a complaint, or would like to get confirmation, than they would be compelled to call the contact center and address their issue again from the beginning. The siloed nature of digital channels means customers are often deflecting to phones to resolve issues, despite the technology being available.
A Seamless Flow
A centralized CX platform essentially performs as an augmented layer that lies on top and loops into all existing digital assets to maximize their value. The platform threads together the full range of customer service assets, such as the app, the web and mobile site and the customer service center, connecting them in an omnichannel environment that supports seamlessly automated customer journeys.
There are numerous benefits:
- Operational Efficiency: By creating a unified journey companies can ensure that digital assets are maximized. In research undertaken by Jerry Silva, Research Director for Global Retail Banking at IDC Financial Insights, the average enterprise based in the USA, spends as much as 66% of their IT budget on “Digital Transformation” technologies.
However, despite the investment, much of this technology is underutilized and underperforming. A 2017 industry study found most customers still tend to use voice contact at a rate of 88% while digital channels have stagnated at a rate of 42%. These same companies are still increasing their expenditure in order to manage ongoing demands placed on the call center. The very purpose for which these technologies were intended to reduce.
Outcome Focused: The objective of centralized customer experience management is no longer to move customers through “channel based journeys”, but rather through “process (or result) based journeys”. A good CX layer utilizes automated digital journeys to enable customers to achieve service outcomes, such as making a claim. If a customer needs to cut across to a different channel, speak to an appraiser, or is interrupted, they can pick up in another channel – right where they left off – to complete their task.
Customer centricity: Automated processes give customers the feeling of control with better access to actionable data. Equipped with the information they require to make a decision, they are then presented with the service flows to allow them to independently manage their own experiences.
Data-Driven: When connected to back-end company systems, the CX layer ensures that automatic data capture is far more reliable. A centralized CX layer achieves faster data capture that is immune to human error when compared to manual processes (like filling a paper form and then having an employee feed in the information to the company’s database).
To learn more about Customer Experience Management, read the EBOOK
“The Rise of the Paperless Branch”
For customers, the data flow makes user experiences easier. Once identified, data can be personalized to customer interests. Additionally, they don’t need to provide the same information more than once, as it is automatically populated on their screen. This comprehensive level of data integration supports process completion.
By automating all tasks in real-time (such as policy purchasers, or issue resolution), customers can complete processes faster and in one flow. There is no longer any need for wait times due to processing, that can take hours or days in non- integrated systems.
Threading it All Together
The insurance industry has been relatively slow to adopt digital technology to improve the service experience they provide to customers, because dependence on phone interaction is still so ingrained. However, a centralized CX platform offers the ability to unify the claims center with the full variety of digital assets so that customers are able to complete actions as they enjoy optimal customer experiences. For insurers, this enables better operational results within smaller budgets.
Tuval Lava is President and Executive Chairman of CallVU and can be found on LinkedIn.