Recent interest in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology by insurers has increased tremendously. To be accurate, this is the insurance industry’s second go-round with CRM. When CRM was brand new, many insurers jumped on the bandwagon very early. Like most hot trends, CRM was viewed somewhat as a magic bullet, and like most silver bullets, CRM never really delivered the full vision of what was expected. So what’s changed?
First off, the technology itself has really matured. When CRM first debuted it was primarily around a 360-degree view of the customer, leveraging this with various transactions and creating a fully integrated processing environment. Quite often though, CRM solutions were pushed well past their natural boundaries. What was meant to be a fresh technology turned into a monolithic, hard to manage and maintain beast. Early CRM implementations had many of the same issues as the legacy systems it was meant to address. For instance, how about using CRM as a policy administration system? Now that’s just asking for problems!
Secondly, what insurers are expecting from CRM is much different than when the whole concept of CRM first became popular. Yes, it’s still about a holistic view of the client but it’s also about managing customer expectations and providing a seamless experience across channels, often referred to as an omni-channel approach. It’s about helping sales and marketing, and optimizing the client relationship (regardless of whether the client is the insured or the agent). Insurers are not looking at CRM to be the “everything” solution any longer; CRM is expected to work within a heterogeneous environment and manage processes, but not replace core systems. Which is a much more realistic goal.
“Yes, Tom, we know all that but how do you implement CRM successfully at an insurer?” Mike Fitzgerald, Senior Analyst at Celent has recently completed some new research on that very question, asking insurers who have recently completed a CRM implementation or are in the middle of a CRM implementation what they learned – what worked, what didn’t work and other lessons they learned. He’ll share that research on Tuesday June 3 at 1:00 PM Eastern via a webinar I’m hosting with him. Attendees will learn best practices from peers, including how to avoid the pitfalls that others have experienced. As someone who has seen the research, I can say with confidence that there are very interesting insights.