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Great Expectations: Enhanced Customer Experience

Denise Garth
Insurance Experts' Forum, August 22, 2013

 

"We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better." This quote from Amazon's Jeff Bezos says it all. 
What used to be acceptable less than a decade ago won't work in today's marketplace. Insurers of all sizes are streamlining, personalizing, and mobilizing to enhance the customer experience by phone, email, web, tablet and mobile. Customers want that "Amazon Experience" where they feel welcomed by a company that knows and understands them.
If we look at some major customer touch points, it becomes clear what you need to do to create the best customer experience possible and empower your customers. And it all starts with a strong core systems infrastructure and the right support and partnerships to make it all happen. 
The most logical first stop for customers is your website and portal. Customers today expect to have a personal, customized experience when they visit you on the web. Once they log in, they expect you to know who they are, what products they've purchased, and the status of any transactions such as payments or claims. They expect you to recommend additional information such as links to educational information, new products, claims prevention information or other items based on past interactions. And they expect you to alert them of any changes or updates to their policies, weather warnings, or related information by email or text based on that same information. Macy's, for example, sends you an email today when a payment is received giving that acknowledgement and personal touch.
And speaking of email and texts, you had better be sure that you are mobile and communicating! If your information isn't accessible on tablets and smartphones, you won't make it in today's “insurance in your hand” world. Not only do they want to pull information regarding their accounts but they want you to provide crucial information such as storm preparedness or warnings. Sure, it may be a mass communications blast but it shows that you're their partner and you care! 
Think about the evolution of air travel customer experiences. We went from agent-generated tickets to online-booked self-printed e-tickets to an app on your smartphone. You even get updates on delays, gate changes, price deals, and more. No paper, no printing, no problem. Need to change your seat or flight, it's all there in your hands. Now take that example and think about how you interact with your customers. Can customers submit, update or change information? Can they file or track claims with pictures attached? Are you pushing out updates and information?
And we can't forget about the call center … the tried and true conduit to your customers. I would bet that we've all had some frustrating experiences with them. There's the myriad of menus. Wait times. Hold times. Now think about that experience if you've been in a car accident or had damage to your property! How patient would you be? How would that experience impact your opinion of the company?
Customers want a quick response, a helpful and insightful representative, and a real resolution. They also want 24x7x365 access. Losses don't always happen during business hours. 
According to a recent presentation by Karlyn Carnahan, Principal at Novarica, at our recent customer advisory board meeting, resolution at the time of loss can be a major differentiator. "First call resolution allows a customer service representative on the phone to move a claim through a rules-based engine, settle the claim and issue a check." In addition, she emphasized that "when it comes to claims – focus on improving customer service. It's a top reason customers leave."
So how can you reach that "Amazon Experience" for your customers? It's should come as no surprise that underneath the hood of all of these capabilities is technology … solid, agile core systems alongside partners who support you and your goal for positive customer experiences. All of these elements work in concert to enhance your customers' experience.
As billionaire businessman, investor, and philanthropist Mark Cuban put it, "it is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your customers' shoes and try to understand how you might help them before they ask for help, than it is to try to mend a broken customer relationship."

"We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better." This quote from Amazon's Jeff Bezos says it all. 

What used to be acceptable less than a decade ago won't work in today's marketplace. Insurers of all sizes are streamlining, personalizing, and mobilizing to enhance the customer experience by phone, email, web, tablet and mobile. Customers want that "Amazon Experience" where they feel welcomed by a company that knows and understands them.

If we look at some major customer touch points, it becomes clear what you need to do to create the best customer experience possible and empower your customers. And it all starts with a strong core systems infrastructure and the right support and partnerships to make it all happen. 

The most logical first stop for customers is your website and portal. Customers today expect to have a personal, customized experience when they visit you on the web. Once they log in, they expect you to know who they are, what products they've purchased, and the status of any transactions such as payments or claims. They expect you to recommend additional information such as links to educational information, new products, claims prevention information or other items based on past interactions. And they expect you to alert them of any changes or updates to their policies, weather warnings, or related information by email or text based on that same information. Macy's, for example, sends you an email today when a payment is received giving that acknowledgement and personal touch.

And speaking of email and texts, you had better be sure that you are mobile and communicating! If your information isn't accessible on tablets and smartphones, you won't make it in today's “insurance in your hand” world. Not only do they want to pull information regarding their accounts but they want you to provide crucial information such as storm preparedness or warnings. Sure, it may be a mass communications blast but it shows that you're their partner and you care! 

Think about the evolution of air travel customer experiences. We went from agent-generated tickets to online-booked self-printed e-tickets to an app on your smartphone. You even get updates on delays, gate changes, price deals, and more. No paper, no printing, no problem. Need to change your seat or flight, it's all there in your hands. Now take that example and think about how you interact with your customers. Can customers submit, update or change information? Can they file or track claims with pictures attached? Are you pushing out updates and information?

And we can't forget about the call center … the tried and true conduit to your customers. I would bet that we've all had some frustrating experiences with them. There's the myriad of menus. Wait times. Hold times. Now think about that experience if you've been in a car accident or had damage to your property! How patient would you be? How would that experience impact your opinion of the company?

Customers want a quick response, a helpful and insightful representative, and a real resolution. They also want 24x7x365 access. Losses don't always happen during business hours. 

According to a recent presentation by Karlyn Carnahan, Principal at Novarica, at our recent customer advisory board meeting, resolution at the time of loss can be a major differentiator. "First call resolution allows a customer service representative on the phone to move a claim through a rules-based engine, settle the claim and issue a check." In addition, she emphasized that "when it comes to claims – focus on improving customer service. It's a top reason customers leave."

So how can you reach that "Amazon Experience" for your customers? It's should come as no surprise that underneath the hood of all of these capabilities is technology … solid, agile core systems alongside partners who support you and your goal for positive customer experiences. All of these elements work in concert to enhance your customers' experience.

As billionaire businessman, investor, and philanthropist Mark Cuban put it, "it is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your customers' shoes and try to understand how you might help them before they ask for help, than it is to try to mend a broken customer relationship."

Denise Garth is the executive vice president of strategic marketing and industry relations, and global head of market strategy for Innovation Group North America.  She can be reached for further comment or information via email at garthd@us.innovation-group.com

 

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