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August 15, 2019

8 Key Changes for Customer Experience

Summary:

Every effort made by insurers to put themselves in the shoes of the customer will result in better customer experiences.

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

Transforming the customer experience is a powerful way for an organization to shift and bring about quantum change, improving retention without huge IT investments that take years. A better customer experience will optimize operations, as well.

In all my years of working in insurance and technology, I have never experienced anything with such power and potential as changing the perspective on customer experience.

It all begins with shifting away from the traditional inside-out focus, driven by customer service, and flipping the lens toward an outside-in focus driven by empathy and the customer experience. And it does not matter who you call the customer: the policyholder or agents and other distribution partners, or even other stakeholders, as well.

See also: Customer Experience Gets a Major Facelift  

The new approach requires understanding the customers’ roles and motivations, goals and pain points to begin to have an empathy that drives a new and different operational response. That response must include a redesign for the ease and quality of customer interactions and deliver value in each and across all interactions. With empathy as an integral part of the lens, the conversation changes. With the common goal being the customer, silos are broken down, and organizations are changed. It’s quite powerful.

SMA believes that eight customer-experience areas need attention and investment as your company launches into and matures in CX. Embracing customer experience throughout an organization requires transforming traditional strategies, workflows, processes and technologies in each of the areas so that they become an organic part of who you are, what you do and how you do it. The eight areas are: Advanced UX Designs, Customer Analytics, the Voice of the Customer Empowerment, Customer-Experience-Driven Metrics, Customer Journey Mapping, the Service Blueprint, the Customer Experience Playbook and the Culture Shift from Service to Experience.

SMA has recently released a report that assesses each area in terms of insurers’ investment levels, maturity levels, the business areas that will be most affected and current or emerging trends in each area for commercial lines insurers: 8 Critical Investments for Customer Experience Excellence: State of Commercial Lines Investments, Adoption and Maturity.

How to start? Education is the first step toward advancing and embracing customer experience across the enterprise. Understanding the customer is the only sure way to be able to provide customers with the experiences that they want – and the experiences that will cement the relationship of trust and loyalty between the insurer and the customer.

See also: 3 Ways to Optimize Customer Experience  

The importance of empathy cannot be understated. Every effort made by insurers to put themselves in the shoes of the customer will result in better customer experiences. And the goal to give customers excellence in service goes beyond supplying mere satisfaction. The key is to infuse empathy into the insurer-customer relationship. And that involves caring, understanding, personalization and commitment. The technologies, resources and initiatives deployed to this end will benefit the customers – as well as insurers as they position for success in the digital, connected world.

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About the Author

Deb Smallwood, the founder of Strategy Meets Action, is highly respected throughout the insurance industry for strategic thinking, thought-provoking research and advisory skills. Insurers and solution providers turn to Smallwood for insight and guidance on business and IT linkage, IT strategy, IT architecture and e-business.

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