It's not about completing transactions, it's about a complete customer experience

Insurance customer journey
Transitioning to a digital, customer-first approach can set your organization apart…. huge opportunities exist for an organization to establish a reputation as the service leader.

In the insurance industry, delivering excellent policyholder care has become a more challenging and comprehensive endeavor. There was a time when “customer service” meant just processing calls through a call center as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Those days are gone. The proliferation of channels and devices that customers use makes it more difficult to connect with them and maintain a consistent, contextual dialogue. Plus, everything happens in-the-moment. Customers now expect you to remember them, know their history, anticipate their needs, and deliver a positive outcome. Yes, companies still need to do this with operational efficiency, but more importantly, they need to do it in a way that creates outstanding customer experiences, while remaining agile and adapting to changing business and regulatory needs.

Customer experience is more than just service, it’s a personalized journey

The CRM systems most companies use are glorified Rolodexes that don’t provide any analytical insight, context, or cross-channel interaction management. Customers, accustomed to an Amazon-like experience, now expect the same from all brands they interact with – connecting when they want, the way they want. Your IT systems should deliver on that want.

That means creating channel-less engagement across all channels in real-time, regardless of whether your customer connects with you via a contact center, in an agent’s office, or through a self-serve app. When you give your customers the ability to begin a transaction on a PC and close it via mobile, chat, or a conversation with a service representative, you are enabling a continuing conversation and a journey that’s nurtured based on their particular needs at each interaction. By tracking complete details on each part of the journey, combining it with analytics, and applying this knowledge to the next interaction, you’ll provide a personalized, seamless service experience for your customers.

Companies are seeing great success with this approach. For example, AEGON has shifted from a product-centric to customer-centric approach. By focusing on three key areas – front office transformation, automation, and process orchestration – they have improved their first call resolution to 80 percent, while orchestrating the entire customer lifecycle journey.

Similarly, CSAA Insurance Group integrated sales, customer service, and marketing to unify the customer journey and improve efficiency. They discovered that the right technology and an agile approach helps deliver the perfect customer experience and accelerate time-to-value.

Transitioning to a digital, customer-first approach can set your organization apart

The insurance industry is particularly susceptible to subpar customer care due to the entrenchment of legacy systems and a pervasive culture of risk avoidance. The result: Industry-wide, very few insurers are leveraging the latest digital tools that enable streamlined, personalized customer service. Meaning, huge opportunities exist for an organization to establish a reputation as the service leader. With even a small investment, carriers have an opportunity to break free from legacy systems and use emerging technologies – such as Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Automation – to anticipate customer care needs and deliver a superior, personalized, and consistent experience

But with so many data sources, processes, and integrated applications with an enterprise system, how can an organization transition from OK customer service to delivering an outstanding customer journey? Don’t fall into the trap of being laser-focused on I.T. and internal processes. Instead, think strategically about one result you want to achieve. We’ve found that the quickest and most effective way to transform the customer experience is to:

  • Start by defining one outcome. Pick one customer experience goal that you want to achieve and map that back to the data, systems, and processes required for delivery. By starting with the outcome, not the channel or data systems, the effort is focused on the customer.
  • Target a first production release in under 90 days. Eliminate the slow and expensive “rip and replace” approach by adopting an agile methodology and omni-channel platform that can integrate with your existing systems.
  • Iterate continuously. Use feedback to promptly respond to business changes and reuse assets to speed delivery.
  • Look for an experienced vendor and demand real results. Look for a company that has successfully transformed the customer experience for hundreds of other enterprises with high volumes of customers and complex processes and channels.

With digital technologies available today, carriers have an opportunity to break free from their legacy systems and leverage new technologies that anticipate customer needs and deliver a personalized, consistent experience across all channels. In addition to increasing policyholder satisfaction, you’ll improve operational efficiency – reducing costs and making your employees’ jobs easier. And, as your business evolves and grows, you can easily manage the complexity of those changes and maintain business agility.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kate Fowler, a director and insurance industry principal for Pega, helps clients optimize their operations, solve business challenges, and leverage digital technology to drive business strategy.