While watching an old movie, have you ever thought about the fact that there's no computer on the main character's desk? What was it like back then? I imagine sipping coffee, opening my mail, wondering if a check has arrived that I can deposit at my local bank later in the afternoon, hoping the phone will ring and then actually answering it when it does. I might also think about the meeting I'll have that afternoon, penciled into my day planner for 3, while thinking, "I bet Bob will be 10 minutes late. Bob's always late."
Today's world travels at a different speed. I'd say light speed, but I'll spare you the cliché. No one hangs out a shingle and then hopes for customers to notice as they drive by. Customers expect to be wooed, they expect to be wowed and they expect to be impressed by personalized experiences. Your benchmark is no longer your industry -- it's Uber. Customer expectations are no longer based on your competitors -- they're based on Amazon.
There is no single technology that makes this happen. Rather, technology is brought to bear on customer desires. When done correctly, technology is as transparent as it is critical. When implemented poorly, it's like begging your customers to look elsewhere for services.
Here are some lessons that travel insurance has learned that could apply to other parts of the insurance industry:
As a travel insurance company, Seven Corners has spent a lot of time transforming the experience of our customers. For example, having an app for both Android and iPhone devices that allows the insured to "carry us with them" wherever they go provides peace of mind for the traveler. Knowing they can pull up their digital ID card or get turn-by-turn directions to a reputable medical facility is a big deal when you're traveling, especially internationally.
Could there be a better sell for getting people to leave location services enabled for your app than travel insurance? People say fear sells insurance, and travel insurance is no exception. Fear of getting sick right before a trip, fear of weather-related issues and now, of course, fear of pandemics has travelers at the height of concern. Why wouldn't they want you to know where they are throughout their trip? It helps provide peace of mind and provides you with an excellent opportunity.
Putting data in the cloud has moved from being suspicious to expected over the last 10 years. Having the ability to scale systems to the farthest reaches of the globe with relative ease is critical to providing low-latency access to your products and services for anyone, anytime and anywhere. Imagine being able to set up infrastructure in a new region or country in a matter of days, instead of months or years. Being nimble is a requirement for companies that intend to compete.
Customers of different backgrounds and generations have different ways they like to purchase and communicate. You can buy a travel insurance policy on our website, of course, but maybe you have questions. Travel insurance is something that most people buy only occasionally, so talking on the phone with someone about where you are going and what you need can be very comforting. After you purchase, you may have benefit questions or need to update information such as trip costs, travel dates or destination country. If you need to file a claim, you might have questions or need clarification on why your claim was paid or denied.
Technology plays a big role in making this easy for customers, meeting them on their terms. For example, allowing customers to interact via WhatsApp or text messaging can provide a real wow factor, letting them use tools they live in all the time to interact with your company. On the back end, the right technology allows customer service representatives to interact with the customer like any other chat. Once the conversation ends, it's stored with their customer record for future reference.
See also: Travel Insurance: An Exemplary Experience
While this might not sound like a technology play, it is very common for technology to drive terminology, rather than terminology driving technology. What is a member, or an insured, or a customer? Are they all the same thing? Did you know that most of your customers don't know what a provider is? To them, they visited their doctor or the local urgent care, not a provider. Travel insurance companies are notorious for making their customers learn new terms, rather than engaging with them using the terms they expect.
One way to make sure that technology is driven by customer terminology, rather than the other way around, is to ensure your systems use the terms your customers use. Creating a data dictionary with a glossary of terms, and using this company-wide, will help guarantee that technobabble and industry-specific jargon does not make its way into use on your website, your app and in oral and text communication with customers. Mapping your customer journeys, surveying your customers and simply putting yourself in your customer's shoes will do wonders for making your company seem accessible and available to your target audience.
In this modern era, new features, functionality, products and services need to be provided at record speeds. Whether you implement R&D, fail forward, set up hackathons or something else, you must have an agile mindset and make sure your technology allows you to deliver new things quickly. If you don't, your competitors will.
To stay competitive in today's fast-moving world and the growing industry of travel insurance, companies must adapt to customers' needs and wants and stay up to date with the latest trends in technology. Transforming the user experience to make things as simple as possible for travel insurance customers will not only make them feel comfortable when planning their trip but will also remain consistent with other technology-friendly user experiences they're already used to. This will only increase the chance that they'll choose to work with your company again in the future.