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May 16, 2018

5 Technologies That Boost Engagement

Summary:

Unfortunately, the insurance industry has one of the lowest rates of customer engagement. Too often, the only contact with the customer is the bill.

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Life, group and voluntary benefits insurance is one of the most competitive verticals in the financial services industry. Strong relationships with customers are crucial to competitive advantage.

Engaging customers is a proven way of enhancing relationships. Unfortunately, the insurance industry has one of the lowest rates of customer engagement. Too often, the only contact with the customer is the bill.

How can insurers improve engagement? Use these five technologies to enhance digital customer engagement.

Two-Way Communication Tools

Email, social media, wearables and chatbots allow insurance companies to optimize every customer interaction. For instance, insurers can partner with wearables manufacturers so that these tools can be used as digital modes of communication between insurers and digitally savvy consumers.

Wearables, for instance, can monitor a customer’s health and give insurers a chance to reward good behavior of their customers – creating opportunities for engagement. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can be used to engage consumers on various insurance issues and as a way of getting customers’ feedback.

Big Data and Data Services

Insurance companies can use big data to find opportunities to add value to customers’ lives. The human touch is still important, but a computer is much better at searching through huge amounts of data in real time.

Incorporating data-based services to provide the company with constant data streams from connected devices such as IoT and wearables is crucial. This data can be turned into insights that help improve customers’ daily lives, boosting customer engagement.

See also: Seriously? Artificial Intelligence?  

Artificial Intelligence

Worldwide data production runs around 44 trillion gigabytes a year. One gigabyte alone is equal to about a 30-foot shelf of books, and insurers (along with the rest of us) are suffering from data overload. Often, customers have to wait on the phone while insurance employees sort through data.

AI can help solve this overload. It can assist insurance companies in cleansing large volumes of data and offer accurate predictions of customers’ expectations. It can provide customers with realistic ideas of what the future will hold, helping them make better decisions for themselves and their families. In addition to dealing with all the data, AI can handle customer service with chatbots, as well, automating and increasing customer engagement in entirely new ways.

Analytics

AI helps insurance companies comb through large amounts of data to predict exactly what customers want. But this is not the end of the story. Insurance companies need to find actionable insights from the information provided by AI.

This is where analytics tools come into play. Robust analytics programs (based in data science) can be used to study customers’ past data, research potential trends and evaluate the effects that certain decisions might have on consumers. Many are looking at predictive analytics related to claims patterns, benefit design and profitability.

Analytical tools such as Google analytics and Woopra (a real-time customer analytics service) can help insurers gain more knowledge about customers, which can then be used to inform strategies for customer engagement. Analytical tools can help insurers to create an all-inclusive road map that will help them improve and manage their customers’ entire lifecycles.

Web-Based Self-Service

More and more insurance consumers expect to be able to monitor the status of their claims and manage their policies themselves online. Studies show that 38% of insurance consumers prefer web-based self-services and strongly feel that these platforms have shifted from “nice-to-have” to “must-have” options.

Web-based self-service improves engagement with customers. They give customers the freedom of choosing their preferred ways of making basic changes to their accounts, finding answers, refining service flexibility and improving customer experience.

The future is now

Customer engagement is becoming an increasingly important part of insurance. Enhancing rich, digital customer experiences through strategic engagement offers great opportunities, especially for insurers that are looking to cross-sell and up-sell their existing clients. Insurance customers are more and more willing to shift their loyalty to insurance providers that guarantee customers communication through digital channels and devices of their choosing.

See also: How Technology Drives a ‘New Normal’  

They are looking for insurers that are able to interact and offer informed conversation that relates to their individual needs, desires and relationships. It is therefore important that insurers cultivate proper digital ways to engage their customers. Without these customer-focused technological trends, any insurance company risks losing a big chunk of market share.

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About the Author

Mike de Waal is president and founder of Global IQX (www.globaliqx.com), a leading software provider of web-based sales and service solutions to employee benefits insurers.

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