Tag Archives: self-service portal

3 Must-Haves for a Self-Service Portal

Today, human support is steadily losing ground to self-service in the insurance industry. For one thing, clients have grown tech-savvy and self-reliant and are willing to solve issues on their own, without waiting to reach a live agent. What is more, as the pandemic interrupted the conventional face-to-face service and support delivery, even the most reluctant customers became favorable toward online channels. Against this backdrop, insurers are implementing out-of-the-box self-service portals or developing custom insurance software

Companies should prioritize the particular needs and expectations of their customer base rather than follow the examples of other self-service portals. Insurance customers, as shown by Accenture in its 2019 Global FS Consumer Study, do not feel comfortable resorting to self-service in every case. The majority would rely on digital channels for tasks like looking up information or submitting personal data. Yet, when it comes to complex financial decisions — purchasing a policy or changing the terms of a contract — over half of the respondents admitted they can’t do without human assistance. 

Given these customer behavior patterns, insurers need to invest in providing exhaustive information, features for handling non-critical issues and account management as self-service options, but refrain from trying to automate all customer interactions. Below, we explore the self-service features that suit the set tasks most.  

A knowledge base 

The idea of customer education meets skeptical attitudes from the majority of insurers. According to Deloitte, 33% of surveyed executives believe that clear product information is a decisive factor for new customers, yet only 16% see it helping retain customers. 

In fact, a detailed and consistent knowledge base is not only an essential self-service channel but also a powerful driver of customer satisfaction. Building a centralized repository of relevant insights, like policy comparisons, legal terms glossary, claims application guides and so on, you give customers an opportunity to find answers and solutions quickly and at any time. 

Through relevant and innovative content, a company can also reach a wider audience and build a reputation as a niche expert. What is more, by analyzing the knowledge base activity, insurers can discern customers’ common needs and challenges and come up with solutions.  

For such a knowledge base to prove authoritative and helpful, the content needs to be of high quality but clear and comprehensible to an average customer, free of complicated terms and industry jargon. What is more, the materials need to be reviewed and updated regularly to remain relevant in the face of your evolving service offer and changes in the insurance industry. Therefore, when choosing your knowledge base format, make certain you have sufficient resources to maintain it at a proper level. 

See also: Self-Service Portals Improve CX

AI chatbots

Conversational AI has taken the business world by storm, becoming a staple of customer relations strategy. What is more, customers have come to appreciate chatbots for their efficiency and increasingly prefer to seek their assistance first. These facts, coupled with the opportunity to cut customer service costs, make AI chatbots a self-servicing option worthy of adoption.  

Implemented in your insurance portal, chatbots can tirelessly handle numerous customer queries and come up with relevant advice in each case. Through simple message commands, users can ask the bot to describe or compare insurance plans, find policies matching certain criteria or help address any current insurance policy concern. Unlike human agents, the technology can provide answers and take actions in real time, driving customer satisfaction up. 

Beyond this, chatbots can be programmed to analyze a customer’s profile information and engagement history and supply personalized product and service recommendations or even craft bespoke insurance policies and quotes. 

Yet chatbots are not without limitations. They are not geared toward making independent decisions and can only perform actions defined by the algorithm. This means that complex issues and requests need to be escalated to human service representatives. Moreover, chatbots are still bad at gauging human emotions and expressing sentiment appropriate to the situation, which can unnerve an already distressed customer. 

Claims management

Traditionally, claims management is one of the most cumbersome and confusing journeys for the insured. The customer fills out forms, gathers a lot of paperwork and photo evidence and submits it all in person for the company to process and reach a conclusion. 

But the digital age has altered customers’ expectations in this regard. They want a simple, speedy and transparent process that can be handled remotely in real time. By integrating a claims management engine into your self-service portal, you can meet this demand. 

The solution should allow a customer to make the first notice of loss to the insurer and then fill out and submit the official claim together with all the necessary photo or video evidence. As the information is processed and checked for fraud, the damage is appraised and the settlement is offered, the policyholder has full visibility into the claim status without the need to contact company representatives.     

Inevitably, there can be complex claims that require the agent’s on-site damage assessment or the personal presence of the insured. But for many other cases where fully digital handling is possible, self-servicing offers customers the freedom to manage their claims anywhere, anytime and allows them to control the process. The solution proves beneficial to insurance companies, as well, as it frees agents’ time spent on customer communication and paperwork in favor of other tasks, while minimizing human errors in the submitted claims.   

See also: Time to Try Being an Entrepreneur?

Summing up: The balance is vital

Despite the extensive reliance on self-service, insurance customers are not yet ready to accept it as the only alternative. As long as there are people who appreciate human touch over convenience and speed, traditional customer support will remain in demand.

Therefore, a hybrid approach to customer service appears to be the most appropriate strategy for insurers. Smartly balancing self-service and human support features and ensuring intuitive access to them all, an insurance company can meet the shifting customer needs and offer an outstandingly rich and dynamic support experience.

Self-Service Portals Improve CX

Customer experience (CX) has become the most significant differentiator in today’s market, and Gartner’s research proves it with hard numbers: 81% of companies expect CX to be the key battleground in the race for market dominance.

Unfortunately, the insurance sector has traditionally been more product- than customer-focused. This discrepancy now makes insurance companies rethink their attitude toward doing business and become more customer-oriented.

Technologically, a good place for insurers to start this shift could be to adopt an online self-service portal. The numbers prove that it’s quite in demand: 88% of U.S. customers expect an organization to have a self-service portal.

If tailored well, a portal might help insurers to get closer to their customers, increase their loyalty and improve service quality, all of which greatly contribute to the overall CX.

Let’s break down how exactly self-service portals boost CX for insurance businesses.

  • First, portals help insurers deliver their services in more accessible and convenient ways. Portals let policyholders submit a claim, pay a policy and look up their recent activities any time and from any location, so there’s no more need for customers to visit an office. This also means no need to spend time on commuting there as well as filling in any paper blanks: The system will store all the details. Also, as far as insurers don’t have to process claims manually, they can focus entirely on verifying their legitimacy and accelerating further steps. As a result, claim approvals speed up.
  • Besides accessibility and simplicity, security defines self-service portals. As web developers from Iflexion rightly note, industry trends come and go, but security concerns are here to stay for both businesses and their customers. With all the relevant security mechanisms in place, self-service portals let policyholders safely sign up for insurance plans, pay for policies and navigate their account history, paying no heed to cybersecurity risks.
  • Search-optimized content is another reason why self-service portals are worth considering. Customers prefer searching for an answer online before contacting an assistant. That’s why it can be reasonable for insurers to use self-service portals as platforms with helpful information. For example, such information can include reviews of different insurance types, terms and conditions, pricing plans and answers to common questions. In the latter case, a page with frequently asked questions (FAQ) might be useful. Users can navigate such a well-organized knowledge base faster, with no need to dig through tons of other information.
  • If customers fail to find information, they’ll need to consult an assistant. By giving your customers access to live chat or other contact options, self-service portals establish easier ‘insurer-policyholder’ communication.
  • Another benefit of adopting portals is all about personalization, the staple of today’s consumer culture. For insurers, self-service portals can make one-on-one service a reality through some simple personalization options such as customized toolbars, reorganized sections with billing transactions, claims and policies, as well as cross- and upselling recommendations.

Think about the “recently viewed” section that returns policyholders to their latest activities. Users won’t have to search their browsing history but get immediate access to what they’ve looked through. As a result, customers get an easy access to their own personal activity feed.

Not by CX Alone

To sum up: Self-service portals boost CX in insurance as customers can receive personalized and secure services faster, search for information more effectively and get in touch with support assistants more easily.

See also: 9 Elements for Customer Portals 

However, there are other reasons to adopt a self-service portal apart from CX improvements:

  • Insurers can automate routine tasks such as filling in and submitting reimbursement requests. This partially frees staff for other tasks such as insurance data check or claim legitimacy verification.
  • Insurers can lower their support costs: A well-maintained FAQ section can save your support staff’s working hours and, by extension, associated costs.
  • A self-service portal can also reduce paper and printing costs. It might seem a little thing, but it’s not: Considering yearly volumes, printing becomes an essential budget-drainer.
  • Digitally stored histories of customers’ activities accelerate the insurance claim process, as there is no more need to go through piles of paper forms.

The good news is, a self-service portal can start paying off nearly immediately. As it picks up traffic and starts bringing value to your customers, you’ll see your support team unloaded and customers’ satisfaction steadily rising.