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October 1, 2020

Managing Customer Opt-Ins in New Normal

Summary:

Insurers need a single source of truth on opt-ins and opt-outs across the enterprise to solidify the relationship with the customer.

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As the pandemic accelerates insurers’ efforts to communicate more efficiently and effectively with customers, two-way texting has emerged as the preferred choice of a new generation of customers, who communicate natively via text with everyone — family, friends and brands included. Two-way texting is more popular than chat, but, unlike chat, it raises new issues around customer opt-ins and opt-outs.

In the new normal, insurers will have to manage customer opt-ins and opt-outs carefully to keep the conversation going. It will take more than having policies on accepting cookies and handling customer data — it requires a better understanding of customer consent, and changes to your data management strategy.

Here’s the good news: It doesn’t have to be hard. 

Unite the Data, Solidify Relationships

Business people understand that customers are willing to share data (including email and mobile phone numbers) in exchange for something of value. In the insurance sector, maybe that “something of value” is a quote on renters’ insurance, a video download of drone-based damage assessment after a storm, the status of a claim or a renewal or payment reminder. The opt-in to communicate could be captured at any point in the customer journey.

While the business unit that captures the opt-in might be a call center, a claims department, a vendor that handles assessments, etc., it’s all the same — your brand. So, the opt-in doesn’t have to apply only for one business unit and specific situation. That’s why it’s so important to unite your data across business units and partnerships. You need a single source of truth on opt-ins and opt-outs to solidify the relationship with the customer. 

With the power of the cloud and APIs, it can be easier than you think to integrate data across systems using the infrastructure you already have in place, including on-premises systems. You may have gotten away with not consolidating opt-in data before, but, in the new normal, customers expect more. It’s time to unite the data and solidify the customer relationship across the organization. 

Opt-In, Opt-Out, Opt-In Again

Have you ever opted-in to a text or email communication with a brand to get something you wanted (a discount, a free ice cream cone, etc.), then opted out again? It happens all the time, and privacy regulations are increasingly putting teeth into consumer preferences about data use. That’s another reason it’s so important to have a single source of truth on opt-in status across all operating units, as well as the ability for everyone to collect and process opt-ins and opt-outs.  

See also: COVID and ‘the Great Reset’

The upside is huge for any business, and maybe especially for a sector that relies as heavily on customer relationships as the insurance industry does. When you create a way to unify and manage opt-in and opt-out data on top of your existing infrastructure, you multiply the opportunities to converse with customers and show respect for their preferences. Your automated text solutions, chat agents, call centers, automated claim submission portals, etc., can all collect an opt-in to start and continue conversations. And everyone can join in the conversation as appropriate. 

You can set your insurance company up for success in the post-COVID-19 world right now by enabling all business units to manage consumer consent for communication on their preferred channels, and it will be a lot easier than you think with cloud technologies and APIs. So, what are you waiting for? Disconnected communication data might have worked before, but the new normal is here, and it’s time for your customer data management strategies to reflect it.

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About the Author

Tara Kelly is founder, president and CEO of Splice Software. She has a passion for enabling clients to engage in a meaningful, data-driven dialog with their customers.

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