4-Step Path to Better Customer Contacts

There are four steps that insurance organizations can take to assess their inventory of communications and optimize the content that lies within.

Much of the insurance industry’s success depends on communications, starting with the initial customer contact through to routine transactions, claims processing and policy renewals. It’s extremely important to know your customers and to make sure that your customers know you understand their needs today and into the future. Meeting legal and regulatory requirements across all types of customer communications is equally important. This becomes even more challenging as insurers increase their use of various digital technologies and communications channels, expanding the places where content is being created, maintained and deployed. To address all these requirements and also create a consistent, cohesive customer experience across all channels of communications, organizations need to re-think their approach to how they manage the content that is the foundation of these interactions. If your enterprise is like many in the industry, you have years of communications templates stored in different departmental silos across your business, which can amount to literally thousands of pieces from sales, marketing, accounting, claims and so on. These documents may reflect the evolution of your company over time and include different logos and ever-changing regulatory language. Value lies in your corpus of communications, but the challenge is harvesting it, organizing it so it is easy to use and can be managed efficiently to create a consistent message and experience. The adoption of digital communications channels will only add to this issue. There are four steps that insurance organizations can take to assess their inventory of communications and optimize the content that lies within. Step 1 — Clean up legacy content Although sifting through legacy content can seem like an overwhelming task, it is essential to:
  • Identify the documents that should be eliminated due to outdated content
  • Correct inconsistencies in messaging, branding and formatting
  • Eliminate and consolidate duplicate similar content for greater management efficiency and consistency
It is not unusual for organizations to uncover outdated addresses and language, as well as inaccuracies in product descriptions, regulatory content, offers, salutations or how account numbers are referenced. All are common occurrences that can create confusion and frustration for customers—and your own field agents and customer service representatives. See also: Whole New World for Customer Contact   It’s also important to align content to defined brand and messaging standards. Content owners and experts from the key internal departments should participate in this cleanup effort to ensure consistency across your enterprise. While you can do this review manually, it can take months of labor to sort through the materials. It is far more efficient and effective to leverage purpose-built analytics that not only help automate the process but integrate with your customer communications management (CCM) to streamline the process. Even better, a system that is cloud-based allows a distributed workforce to collaborate in real time. Step 2 — Rethink your content As insurance companies adopt digital technologies, they must examine their content for re-use, clarity and suitability for these new channels. The review of your communications inventory is a great opportunity for content authors to rethink the content for omnichannel applications and, when possible, restate it in simpler language. Questions to ask when editing for simpler language include: Can this be said in a simpler way? Does it contain legal jargon or technical terms that need to be defined? Is it consistent with brand guidelines and voice? Is it factually correct today? Is it appropriate for this channel? Are you sending the right message, and does it resonate with your audience in the way you want it to? A major factor in building a loyal customer base is the ability to build trust through consistent communications. By making your omnichannel communications clear, concise and consistent, you will be able to drive increases in loyalty. Step 3 — Design for agility Many of your customer documents most likely contain many of the same content components that are used repeatedly yet managed separately, such as the same logo, address, tagline, regulatory content and product descriptions. Now consider how long it takes to make an update when one piece of content changes and that change has to be made across multiple communications that exist in multiple systems. A change of this kind can take weeks, even months, especially if a marketer, for example, has to request the change be made by your IT department. Modern customer communications management systems can address this issue in several ways. These systems can act as a central hub for managing content that powers omnichannel communications. In addition, look for systems that enable non-IT users to make these kinds of changes. By cutting IT out of the change management cycle, you can speed time to market and be the agile organization your customers expect. In addition to centralizing your content, you need to ensure you can intelligently manage your content and communications. This helps you avoid simply duplicating past activities and ensures that your communications inventory will be readily accessible to appropriate members of your internal staff. The best way to do this is to adopt an approach through which you can share content and templates across communications. Picture the same types of common content we mentioned earlier. Imagine being able to make a change to a common piece of content once and have it update instantly across all the documents and channels where it appears, and having a library of 90 written and approved outbound emails. You will likely manage those as separate templates and communications, even though they contain much of the same content. Now imagine how much easier it would be to create and maintain those communications by leveraging a single “parent” template that passes down its core structure, format and key pieces of content to 89 “children” that each contains its own unique dynamic content. These advanced approaches can greatly streamline change management processes as well as accelerating your ability to create new communications on demand. This kind of variation management enables you to deliver a consistent customer experience and ensure brand integrity. See also: Reconnecting With Customers Via Claims   Step 4 — Personalize for relevant content The final step in your communications overhaul is to incorporate advanced personalization. This is more than simply personalizing a letter with a customer’s name and specific account information. Advanced personalization leverages customer data and intelligent content so that you can tailor graphics and marketing messages to suit customer preferences and profiles. Integrating your content management platform with customer relationship management (CRM) systems gives you the ability to create variations of communications and use targeting rules to drive unique content to selected demographics. While upgrading and streamlining your customer communications processes might appear to be similar to rolling a boulder uphill, it can be done in a logical, step-by-step way. Though it remains a labor-intensive project, much of the process can now be automated, and the benefits in terms of improved customer experience and satisfaction, particularly as you incorporate digital technologies into your communications strategy, can translate into greater success and profitability for your organization.

Patrick Kehoe

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Patrick Kehoe

Patrick Kehoe is EVP of product management at Messagepoint. He has over 25 years of experience delivering business solutions for document processing, customer communications and content management.


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