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August 8, 2017

It’s All About the Customer Journey

Summary:

We evaluate performance based on metrics such as call handle times, quote starts or quote conversions, but the end-to-end experience is key.

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According to McKinsey, customer satisfaction with your company has more to do with the end-to-end experience than individual touchpoints. This is important to understand, because we tend to evaluate business performance based on distinct metrics such as call handle times, quote starts or quote conversions.

While each of those aspects of the customer experience is important, they provide only a snapshot of the customer’s journey and not the big picture. If McKinsey is right, it’s the picture as a whole that will influence a customer and generate their loyalty.

A leading insurer, which has always placed the customer experience at the forefront of its strategy, proved this to be true as it transformed the entire customer journey with top-tier digital capabilities.

Creating a Loyalty-Generating, End-to-End Experience

The year was 2014, and a leading insurer that manufactured a much-sought-after auto product was meeting demands for homeowners coverage by sending leads to other carriers. Right away, this is where we begin to see that the sum of the end-to-end experience is worth more than its parts.

Customers didn’t like being sent to another insurer, and, to be quite truthful, the leading insurer didn’t like sending them away. Providing a consistent customer journey across multiple insurers was difficult, and, once the customer was transferred away, the leading insurer lost the connection that encouraged satisfaction and renewals.

See also: P&C Insurers: Come Out of the Dark Ages  

Committed to providing every customer with the same high-quality end-to-end experience, the insurer had a thought. What if it could add homeowners coverage from a few select carriers—those that met its stringent customer experience standards—to its own auto policies, improve the efficiency of the quote-to-issue lifecycle AND still own the customer? It sounded like an impossible feat, but, as a leader in insurance innovation, the company knew it could achieve just about anything with the right help.

It struck up a healthy relationship with a well-established insurtech innovator offering a leading digital distribution platform. In addition to gaining digital competence for its in-house agents, the company was able to offer product choice and bundle home coverage from other carriers with its own to improve the customer journey. Here is how the new customer experience looks:

  • A customer calls the company’s internal agency for quotes on homeowners and is interested in auto insurance.
  • Agents take a few pieces of information from the customer, such as name and address, enter it into the platform and let the magic begin.
  • Automated capabilities draw verified data from third-party sources to complete the application. The agent receives instant pricing for various homeowner product options and an instant quote on the auto.
  • The agent selects the appropriate coverage with a few clicks of the mouse and just as simply quickly binds and issues the policies.

The magic starts with a single call. The agent doesn’t need to put customers on hold to enter information into a multitude of back-office systems or tell the customer he’ll call. Nor does the agent send the customer to another agent or website. Come renewal time, the insurer works with the customer to renew both the home and the auto. It’s simplicity at its best and drastically improves the entire customer journey.

What Customers Feel

Customers have provided their affirmation of the new capabilities with their wallets. In 2014, as the platform was implemented, the leading insurer had only 100 agents handling a quote volume of 100,000. Customers will talk — and, in this case, they had all good things to say as they encouraged their friends and family to call the leading insurer. By 2016, the insurer added 150 new agents as quote volumes doubled.

The insurer was now providing 70% of customers with an offer and converting 35% of those to sales. In fact, sales doubled year over year. And the magic continues as the insurer sold 20,000 policies in the first quarter of this year alone. The insurer has skyrocketed to No. 5 in the list of top carriers by direct premiums written by group and has no plans to come down any time soon.

See also: How to Reinvent P&C Pricing  

It looks like McKinsey is right. A top-notch customer journey can make all the difference.

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About the Author

Tom Hammond is president of U.S. operations for BOLT Solutions. He is an expert on innovation and distribution trends in the property and casualty insurance industry.

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