By: Omar Abdul-Hafiz
In a previous article, we talked about how the ongoing pandemic has spurred investment in InsureTech. We touched upon the immense rise in investment in InsureTech through the first half of 2020, then discussed three main factors behind this upsurge in investment. Interestingly enough, however, this interest in investment in InsureTech was looming in the air even before the COVID-19 crisis had struck the world.
In their 23rd annual global CEO survey, PWC identified the top three opportunities that CEOs have prioritized investing in for 2020.
As shown in the diagram below, these three factors were Customer Experience, Core Technology Transformation, and Intelligent Automation. What is more intriguing is that Customer Experience was at the very top of the list. But, why?
According to experts, the pandemic, with its sudden impact, has greatly boosted the priority of Customer Experience in the Insurance world in two ways:
- Emphasizing the need for digitally-enabled interactions with both consumers (B2C) and commercial clients (B2B) alike.
- The need for a more ‘human-centric’ approach to these interactions.
In an article earlier this year, I wrote about how customers nowadays look for more than product quality. And while the article tackles customer engagement on a broader scale in the Enterprise world, it very much applies just as well within the insurance industry. In light of this, here are 4 major elements that may be the cornerstones of a successful Customer Experience plan to face the harsh circumstances of this ongoing pandemic.
Before we dive in, however, it’s important to note that this list was inspired by a rather similar list produced by PWC. The major difference is that this is a slightly re-ordered list that also addresses each point from a perspective that is rather different from the original one.
A Customer-Centric Mindset
While planning your Customer Experience strategy, it is essential to envision things from your customers’ perspective. In other words, you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. This can be done by studying customer behaviour and looking at recent customer demand trends.
For example, it is known that cases of pandemic diseases are generally not covered by insurance, except perhaps through pricy business continuity insurance policies. This fact often leaves customers with a lot of confusion and anxiety as they look for definitive answers to their different inquiries. Therefore, it is vital for Insurance companies to devise ways to make this information available to their clients in the most convenient fashion possible. One great way to do this, for instance, is by utilizing smart Web Portals and smartphone apps, which customers can easily access through their devices and find the information they are seeking right under their fingertips. This can include, for example, advice and recommendations on what to do in such cases.
Another related aspect that should be mentioned with regards to customer-centricity is innovation and personalization. These can be done by innovating new analytical methods (more on these shortly) for segmenting your customers into distinct clusters, then devising products and policies tailored to meet the specific needs of each of these clusters.
Finally, Customer-Centricity can best be achieved by implementing an Omnichannel approach to customer communication. This can be made possible by making sure that:
- you make sure to provide your customers with multiple channels through which they can reach out to you when in need; and
- make sure that all these channels are well-integrated among each other so that the communication continues smoothly throughout these different channels.
Focus on employee engagement
It is a generally known rule in the business world that a happy employee yields a happy customer. This statement, however, does not only stand for employee happiness alone, even though it may be essential, as it also extends to how skilled and well trained they are. As such, it is essential to make that your employees well-engaged in the overall business process (i.e. that their efforts are being recognized and their voice is being heard). Also, you need to ensure that their training and upskilling needs are being fulfilled regularly so that they keep abreast of all the emerging trends in the market. But is that all? Well, not quite.
Aside from employee engagement and skillfulness, the human factor is just as much, if not even more essential. In other words, your employees need to possess a certain degree of emotional intelligence and creativity that enable them to communicate with customers successfully. Hence, your hiring process needs to be thorough to make sure you end up with the right employees in terms of their suitable expertise and communications skills.
Analytically-driven decision making
To say that data is the ultimate currency of success in our current day and age is no exaggeration. Therefore, a healthy decision-making process is one that works in a systematically data-driven fashion. And no better way to achieve this than through the power of data science. By utilizing state-of-the-art Business Intelligence techniques to make sense of the past, and Predictive Analytics to forecast future trends and business needs, your decision-making becomes all the more accurate and closer to success.
How can your Insurance sector benefit from Data Science? Well, to put it simply, you would be able to better understand market trends and customer needs. For example, by analyzing certain related data from multiple resources, you would be able to map out specific trends in your customers’ behaviour over a certain timeframe. This newfound information can then help you adapt to these trends in a way that maximizes customer satisfaction and optimizes profitability.
Automation done right
When it comes to process automation, most articles out there point almost exclusively to high-tech trends such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA). However, process automation does not only revolve around these sophisticated technologies. In fact, the principle of automation can be much simpler than that, and without being any less significant.
One simple example of this automation with regards to claims management. As opposed to manual, paper- and labour-intensive claims management, adding an edge of automation in this regard, such as in claims adjudication, may be just the boost that you need to keep up with the competition and sustain customer satisfaction.
In conclusion, as can be noticed in the list above, the secret is in maintaining a business strategy that balances between the human aspect on one hand, and the technical aspect on the other. With this balanced equation, even the most challenging times can be a great opportunity for growth and success in a turbulent and competitive market.