Cus­tomer Ex­pe­ri­ence in the Age of Dig­i­tal In­sur­ance

Digital Insurance - - STRATEGIES - Vivek Gujral Chief Tech­nol­ogy Of­fi­cer OneShield Soft­ware

There are four rel­e­vant trends that help to drive the na­ture of cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence in dig­i­tal in­sur­ance:

First, the broad-based dig­i­tal­iza­tion of our so­ci­ety. Be­ing con­nected all the time, typ­i­cally via smart­phones, is the norm. And we’ve moved from mak­ing phone calls to pre­fer­ring chat (whether text or video) and now in­creas­ing in pop­u­lar­ity are voice-based in­ter­faces with a hu­man, or likely a chat­bot or ro­botic ad­vi­sor.

• Se­cond, thanks to other in­dus­tries whether mu­sic or me­dia, travel or more re­cently bank­ing, the ex­pec­ta­tion from cus­tomers is that they want to be in con­trol of the in­for­ma­tion they seek, the prod­uct they desire or the ser­vice they want and they want ‘it’ now. Whether it is a piece of mu­sic, ap­proval for a credit card, an air­line ticket, or be­cause, their neigh­bor got robbed yes­ter­day, renter’s in­sur­ance.

Third, the in­creas­ing use of smart and con­nected de­vices - whether safety-con­scious cars (a re­cent car rental fea­ture ir­ri­tated me by no­ti­fy­ing me when­ever I changed lanes; I won­dered if it no­ti­fied the car rental com­pany as well?) to mul­ti­far­i­ous sen­sors in homes and com­mer­cial es­tab­lish­ments.

Fourth, the in­creas­ing use of an­a­lyt­ics and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (to au­to­mate and there­fore ren­der real-time de­ci­sions and pro­cesses that were hith­erto man­ual). This is not vis­i­ble to the cus­tomer, but is es­sen­tial if an in­surer wants to give the cus­tomer what she wants.

Con­sid­er­ing the above, let’s dis­cuss what it means to de­liver a world class dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence by ‘talk­ing’ to the cus­tomer through any chan­nel, in a tailored and per­son­al­ized man­ner – be­ing aware of who he is, what he wants, what he likes or dis­likes:

Be­ing able to keep the con­text of con­ver­sa­tions from one in­ter­ac­tion to another.

Talk­ing in one voice. Mak­ing the most of each in­ter­ac­tion. Keep­ing the mes­sage sim­ple. Keep­ing the process sim­ple.

Us­ing ex­ist­ing in­for­ma­tion and sup­ple­ment with third-party sources to make in­ter­ac­tions highly cus­tom­ized.

Find­ing ways of con­nect­ing that add value to the cus­tomer, are not in­tru­sive and ideally are the con­se­quence of the cus­tomer mak­ing a con­scious opt-in.

Let’s con­sider these in­di­vid­u­ally.

The tech­nol­ogy that al­lows a multi-chan­nel di­a­log isn’t dif­fi­cult – what is dif­fi­cult is keep­ing these con­ver­sa­tions con­sis­tent, and to re­mem­ber the con­text of the pre­vi­ous con­ver­sa­tions. The most com­mon in­stance of the lack of con­ti­nu­ity is the need to have the cus­tomer pro­vide the same in­for­ma­tion more than once via var­i­ous touch­points, whether by voice, chat, app or web­site. These types of repet­i­tive queries could irk the cus­tomer enough that she will be­gin to ques­tion the qual­ity of the core ser­vice the in­surer pro­vides. This re­quire­ment, though sim­ple to state, has pro­found im­pli­ca­tions on the ar­chi­tec­ture of in­sur­ance core sys­tems – think co­her­ent, tightly in­te­grated and in­di­vid­ual-cen­tric.

Talk­ing in one voice is about en­sur­ing that all in­ter­ac­tions with the cus­tomer speak with one voice. The billing in­ter­ac­tion should be cog­nizant of what’s go­ing on in un­der­writ­ing and claims, as well as the other way around. This avoids the du­pli­ca­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and the feel­ing of deal­ing with a bu­reau­cracy. To ef­fec­tively man­age stream­lined com­mu­ni­ca­tion, this has both tech­nol­ogy and sig­nif­i­cant or­ga­ni­za­tional im­pli­ca­tions at both the back end and client fac­ing roles. For ex­am­ple, mod­ern in­sur­ers are ques­tion­ing the role of dis­tinct CSRs for billing/claims/un­der­writ­ing and whether hav­ing un­der­writer’s and a claims ad­juster ro­tate through each other’s roles will help to cre­ate a sin­gle voice of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Keep­ing con­text and be­ing con­sis­tent has a very nat­u­ral out­come that should not be ne­glected – namely, mak­ing the most of each trans­ac­tion. If a cus­tomer in­ter­acts with an in­surer for some rea­son, this is a good time to tell him about what he owes, and what the in­surer can of­fer him – whether ad­vice about his driv­ing if he’s get­ting too many tick­ets (or too many warn­ings on his car’s safety sys­tem) or an ad­di­tional prod­uct that is timely i.e. vacation cov­er­age if he’s about to take a road-trip. Typ­i­cally, the last thing a cus­tomer wants to be do­ing is deal­ing with his in­sur­ance com­pany so max­i­miz­ing on client en­gage­ments when the op­por­tu­nity arises is ad­ven­t­a­geous.

In­sureTechs spend sig­nif­i­cant time ad­dress­ing ‘keep­ing it sim­ple’ with both process and mes­sage. At orig­i­na­tion, they present their value propo­si­tion in terms of what the cus­tomer needs, NOT what in­sur­ance pro­vides. They view sim­pli­fy­ing in­sur­ance as part of their se­cret sauce. The word “cov­er­age” isn’t used, “line of busi­ness” is for­bid­den. This fo­cus on speak­ing the cus­tomer’s lan­guage ex­tends to what a cus­tomer wants to do when in­ter­act­ing – which is very lit­tle. There­fore, the pro­cesses of quot­ing and bind­ing, pay­ments and claims are kept very fat-free.

Get­ting to sim­plic­ity isn’t easy. It re­quires un­fet­tered ac­cess to ev­ery­thing that the in­surer has gath­ered about the cus­tomer. In ad­di­tion, there are a va­ri­ety of ser­vices that of­fer struc­tured and un­struc­tured in­for­ma­tion about in­di­vid­u­als that needs to be ac­quired and merged with in-house in­for­ma­tion. It needs all this in­for­ma­tion, a lot of anal­y­sis to achieve the end goal of hav­ing a per­son­al­ized di­a­log with cus­tomer … a per­son speak­ing to a per­son. Given enough vol­ume, one gets a bonus – one not only knows more about the in­di­vid­ual with whom they’re deal­ing, they can also get data sci­en­tists to give in­sight about be­hav­ior of peo­ple who re­sem­ble them...lead­ing to highly cus­tom­ized in­ter­ac­tions.

Fi­nally, can an in­surer keep these in­ter­ac­tions rea­son­ably fre­quent? Af­ter suc­cess­fully clos­ing a sale, it is nec­es­sary for an in­surer to con­tinue to mar­ket to, and en­gage with the new cus­tomer. This al­lows the in­surer to be per­ceived pos­i­tively in the cus­tomer’s con­scious­ness so he will buy again, and buy more. Peer-to-Peer in­sur­ance providers have a built-in ad­van­tage in this area, but oth­ers should, while stick­ing to their core value propo­si­tion, reach out to the cus­tomer with in­for­ma­tion and of­fers that are rel­e­vant, and not pushy. Keep in mind that it is bet­ter NOT to in­ter­act than to in­ter­act poorly, be­cause the lat­ter will de­stroy the ex­ist­ing as­set-base. The con­ver­sa­tional com­merce to which we as­pire does not suf­fer fools or stalk­ers.

Ul­ti­mately, giv­ing the cus­tomer what she wants will im­prove the com­pet­i­tive­ness of an in­sur­ance com­pany, be­cause much of what the cus­tomer wants ne­ces­si­tates a deep and wide re­struc­tur­ing of the way in­sur­ance com­pa­nies op­er­ate. This will lead to lower cus­tomer ac­qui­si­tion costs, im­prove re­ten­tion and lower op­er­at­ing costs. A ma­jor cost take-out will hap­pen for those who are suc­cess­ful at this jour­ney. For those who don’t make the shift, the out­come is un­likely to be happy.

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