It is no secret that I have a passion for discussing and solving problems of how insurance carriers can better service policyholders. I believe that if you have happy customers that receive consistent service as they traverse across contact channels, compounded with an exceptional customer experience, then price doesn’t matter. I already confessed a couple blogs ago that I willingly pay more for my insurance policy because my carrier Gets-R-Done right, 100% of the time.
However, Getting-R-Done right is not easy for all. Hence why I feel paying a little extra cha-ching is worth every dime. I think the following quote from this article on MyCustomer.com speaks volumes:
“If you look at the companies which are growing and winning in the retail trade, they have some things in common. They have given the customer more control, more transparency and made the process more comfortable. They think ruthlessly about what the customer wants, not what the retailer already has. This is why Amazon and Apple are booming while Waterstones and Sony are struggling…The future-ready insurer would be wise to take note.”
Celent, a global industry analyst firm covering the financial and insurance sectors, recently published a new research report titled, Insurance CRM: Keys to Implementation. In this research Celent echoes many of the challenges aired in the MyCustomer.com article. According to Celent, what makes customer service challenging in the insurance sector is:
- Insurance transactions take place in a complex ecosystem where ownership of the end customer relationship is murky.
- Coordination between intermediaries and insurers is difficult, and resulting in many opportunities for suboptimal customer service.
- Lastly, customer expectations are being changed and shaped by consumer purchasing experiences in other industries. New service models deliver more efficient and intimate engagement from companies such as Amazon.
Celent notes that because of fighting decades of bad customer service habits, carriers are transitioning from being product centric to customer centric. Investment in customer relationship management (CRM) automation is one important response that insurers are adopting.
To this end, Celent surveyed a handful of P&C and Life carriers that have recently implemented one or more components of a CRM solution. The report details scope of their efforts, identifies key success factors and recommends actions for other insurance carriers to consider. A couple notable research findings that stood out to me are:
- According to survey respondents, the three most important characteristics in choosing CRM solutions were the ability to create and manage business processes; the presence of support for the future expansion of products and channels; and the ease with which the system can be set up and subsequently maintained.
- The top barriers to success in CRM implementations were inadequate business requirements, insufficient collaboration between business and IT, and problems integrating a CRM solution into existing architecture.
- Today’s digital insurance enterprise requires omni-channel capabilities with context-aware computing to provide service to customers across distributed channels. Insurers must invest in these capabilities and processes in order to remain competitive.
- Most companies package a CRM with workflow, document, and rules management functionality to achieve a comprehensive solution. The CRM system, therefore, forms only one part of an overall environment. Celent encourages insurers to weigh the benefits of using multiple, best-of-breed solutions against the costs and complexity of integration.
I encourage you to download the full 22-page report. It includes a ton of charts and graphs, and I think you will find it informative – Celent gives recommendations to the challenges I listed above as well as dozen others I did not list.