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November 1, 2019

How to Improve the Customer Journey

Summary:

How do you make sure customers are truly the focus of your business during every touchpoint with your brand?

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Nearly 60% of insurance executives rank a differentiated customer service experience as having the highest impact on successful competition. For many years, customer demands, the effects of digitizing customer relationships and the creation of a successful customer journey have been the focus when it comes to customer service in the insurance business. But inquiries in the insurance industry are issue-driven, and customers often only reach out when they have a problem and are already likely frustrated. So, how do you make sure customers are truly the focus of your business during every touchpoint with your brand?

From when potential customers start evaluating insurance offerings to the point where a customer reaches out for support or submits a service claim with your organization, what are consumers expecting in terms of service? Throughout the customer journey, insurers must adapt to the unique needs of each consumer to provide the best experience and earn loyal customers who will serve as important ambassadors for your company.

Here are tips for creating a positive relationship between insurer and customer at each stage of the customer journey:

Actively Communicate During the Consultation Phase

Insurance isn’t a nice-to-have, and consumers seek coverage out of necessity rather than desire. Changes in someone’s personal situation trigger consumers to enter the consultation phase and start requesting information from insurers. Instead of insurers looking to create demand, customer communication in large part only begins when the need is already acute. Traditionally, interactions between insurers and customers are “accident-driven” instead of being initiated by insurance companies. So, how do you improve the customer experience?

See also: 8 Key Changes for Customer Experience  

Many insurance companies are failing to promote products or services to customers. Too often, customer interactions are based on need and without cause, occurring haphazardly. Globally, 44% of customers have had no interactions with their insurers in the last 18 months. Instead of relying on customers to communicate, insurers should take more control by making customers aware of comprehensive risks and the need to protect against them.

Personalize Across Channels in the Purchase Decision Phase

As customers enter the purchase decision phase, the customer experience becomes even more integral. With the growth of digital channels, there are several options for a customer to purchase a policy, such as personal sales, an intermediary, your website or comparison portals. With 80% of customers willing to use digital and remote channel options to complete tasks and transactions, it is critical to meet customers with a highly personalized approach regardless of the purchase platform.

Customers value an easy process and individualized options and want to buy from insurance companies that serve up comprehensive policy information that is tailored to their situation. Across all purchase options, the human factor (or personal contact) is a crucial component of converting a prospect into a customer. Personal consultations still remain important, but consumers now also expect to quickly reach you through intermediaries, service centers or digital channels. To offer both detailed and personalized communications, insurance companies need to offer personal consultation services that are supported by other channels to communicate the value of products and services.

Balance Humans and Technology During the Support and Service Phases

When customers reach out for support, they want the experience to be three things: personal, fast and easy. Insurers must integrate trusted, familiar contact channels with digital options. While customers still want quick and stress-free access to friendly and accommodating insurers over the phone, there is also a desire to communicate via digital contact options like email, chat and even self-service. For customers, analog and digital channels are equally important when they are looking for insurance support.

When submitting a claim, customers also want a seamless, rapid and individualized process. Although customers are used to leveraging the service center for direct exchanges with insurers, digital and mobile processing are often underused even though they can increase efficiency by solving claims quickly and providing tracking for customers.

See also: Customer Experience Gets a Major Facelift  

Final Thoughts

The insurer-customer relationship is a valuable differentiator throughout the entire customer journey from the initial consultation through to support and claims. To put customers front and center every step of the way, insurers need to communicate during the information phase, focus on personalizing interactions with customers on diverse channels during the purchase phase and create a blend between personal contact and digital tools to elevate support and claims services. To attract and retain customers, insurers must seek opportunities to innovate their service approach to address customers’ needs and drive positive experiences during every touchpoint along the customer journey.

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About the Author

Fara Haron is the CEO North America, Ireland and Southeast Asia and EVP Global Clients at Majorel. She leads a rapidly growing team of customer service professionals helping companies with their global customer service strategy.

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