81% of companies expect customer experience to be a key battleground. Self-service portals are a great place to start.
Customer experience (CX) has become the most significant differentiator in today’s market, and Gartner’s research proves it
with hard numbers: 81% of companies expect CX to be the key battleground in the race for market dominance.
Unfortunately, the insurance sector has traditionally been more product- than customer-focused. This discrepancy now makes insurance companies rethink their attitude toward doing business and become more customer-oriented.
Technologically, a good place for insurers to start this shift could be to adopt an online self-service portal. The numbers prove that it’s quite in demand: 88% of U.S. customers
expect an organization to have a self-service portal.
If tailored well, a portal might help insurers to get closer to their customers, increase their loyalty and improve service quality, all of which greatly contribute to the overall CX.
Let’s break down how exactly self-service portals boost CX for insurance businesses.
- First, portals help insurers deliver their services in more accessible and convenient ways. Portals let policyholders submit a claim, pay a policy and look up their recent activities any time and from any location, so there’s no more need for customers to visit an office. This also means no need to spend time on commuting there as well as filling in any paper blanks: The system will store all the details. Also, as far as insurers don’t have to process claims manually, they can focus entirely on verifying their legitimacy and accelerating further steps. As a result, claim approvals speed up.
- Besides accessibility and simplicity, security defines self-service portals. As web developers from Iflexion rightly note, industry trends come and go, but security concerns are here to stay for both businesses and their customers. With all the relevant security mechanisms in place, self-service portals let policyholders safely sign up for insurance plans, pay for policies and navigate their account history, paying no heed to cybersecurity risks.
- Search-optimized content is another reason why self-service portals are worth considering. Customers prefer searching for an answer online before contacting an assistant. That's why it can be reasonable for insurers to use self-service portals as platforms with helpful information. For example, such information can include reviews of different insurance types, terms and conditions, pricing plans and answers to common questions. In the latter case, a page with frequently asked questions (FAQ) might be useful. Users can navigate such a well-organized knowledge base faster, with no need to dig through tons of other information.
- If customers fail to find information, they’ll need to consult an assistant. By giving your customers access to live chat or other contact options, self-service portals establish easier ‘insurer-policyholder’ communication.
- Another benefit of adopting portals is all about personalization, the staple of today’s consumer culture. For insurers, self-service portals can make one-on-one service a reality through some simple personalization options such as customized toolbars, reorganized sections with billing transactions, claims and policies, as well as cross- and upselling recommendations.
Think about the “recently viewed” section that returns policyholders to their latest activities. Users won’t have to search their browsing history but get immediate access to what they’ve looked through. As a result, customers get an easy access to their own personal activity feed.
Not by CX Alone
To sum up: Self-service portals boost CX in insurance as customers can receive personalized and secure services faster, search for information more effectively and get in touch with support assistants more easily.
See also: 9 Elements for Customer Portals
However, there are other reasons to adopt a self-service portal apart from CX improvements:
- Insurers can automate routine tasks such as filling in and submitting reimbursement requests. This partially frees staff for other tasks such as insurance data check or claim legitimacy verification.
- Insurers can lower their support costs: A well-maintained FAQ section can save your support staff’s working hours and, by extension, associated costs.
- A self-service portal can also reduce paper and printing costs. It might seem a little thing, but it’s not: Considering yearly volumes, printing becomes an essential budget-drainer.
- Digitally stored histories of customers’ activities accelerate the insurance claim process, as there is no more need to go through piles of paper forms.
The good news is, a self-service portal can start paying off nearly immediately. As it picks up traffic and starts bringing value to your customers, you’ll see your support team unloaded and customers’ satisfaction steadily rising.