by Scott Draeger, Customer Communication Strategist, GMC Software Technology
(Part 1 of a 2-part series)
(Feb. 21, 2014) – Twenty years ago, communications generated by insurance companies occurred over three channels: mail, fax or call center. Fifteen years ago, email and web entered the mix as major disruptors. In 2007, smartphones burst onto the scene as a game-changer, quickly followed by tablets in 2010. Smartphones and tablets solidified the change from one-directional communication to a constant bi-directional process that put customers and public opinion in control.
It is no surprise that over the next year, 70% of insurance companies will be evaluating ways to improve their customer communication management process. The challenge for insurers is how to evolve from a disparate customer communication “program” that delivers a complex mix of scattered data, isolated systems and single-purpose applications to one that is cohesive, results-driven and cost-effective.
Today’s more typical chaotic mix of uncoordinated efforts can easily turn into a fragmented experience that leaves your customers feeling confused or frustrated. For the insurer, this mix introduces inefficiencies, opportunities for miscommunication and costly errors.
“A customer communication management (CCM) strategy looks to solve these challenges,” says Michael Charest, Vice President of Insurance for GMC Software Technology North America. “Touching down on all aspects of the customer communication process—from creation to delivery, storage and retrieval of outbound and interactive communications—it ensures that your communications are being handled as a critical part of your corporate strategy and enables you to deliver peer-leading results no matter how complex your communication needs are, or will become.”
To proactively manage a customer communications, it is important to craft a CCM strategy for the entire enterprise that considers the perspective of your prospects, your customers and your employees, and is created with the input of marketing, operations, customer service and IT.
The CCM portfolio needs to be almost ninja-like in its focus, flexibility and ability to execute under pressure. It will be implemented across a series of devices, social media sites and physical delivery channels that will rapidly evolve beyond your control. It needs to be highly reactive and support more than one type of communication at a time with your customers. Communications will often switch channels during an interaction, requiring multiple channels to complete the communication.
Currently, most insurers manage these separate systems as separate efforts, each staffed by a different team. “Managing these communications through separate teams that use incompatible technologies for individual channels often multiplies the complexity and cost of your efforts while diminishing the returns, delivering the worst possible outcome scenarios for the business,” says Charest. On the flip side, effective coordination of these efforts can maximize conversion rates and boost the top line of your business.
Solutions from GMC Software Technology and others are available to help you create your CCM portfolio. These solutions, which should include a design tool, a composition engine, a workflow/rule engine and multichannel output management capabilities, enable customer interactions through a wide range of communication media, including mobile, email, SMS, websites, print and customer self-service.
In its recent report Magic Quadrant for Customer Communications Management Software, research firm Gartner says “Moving beyond the basic personalization that was a staple of document composition tools, enterprises have also recognized the power of CCM solutions for handling on-demand and interactive scenarios. Today’s CCM software must also support the revenue opportunities arising from instantaneous context-aware interactions with users who express their product and service needs via mobile devices and a variety of social media channels.”
In the insurance industry, this means having customer correspondence, statements, bills and payment notices, policy documents, claims, contracts, welcome kits and explanations of benefits that exceed customer expectations.
To access Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Customer Communications Management Software, please click here.
Part 2 of this series on “Coordinating the Chaos of Insurance Customer Communications” will address considerations for creating a single cohesive portfolio of communications that can improve business results by proactively managing customer engagement.
Scott Draeger is customer communication strategist for GMC Software Technology, a provider of multichannel and highly personalized document outputs for customer communication management.
GMC Software Technology is a sponsor of the 2014 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference, March 17-18 in Toronto. At the conference, the session “Simplifying the Customer Experience from Onboarding to Retention” will be presented by Trevor Crane of GMC Software Technology.
About GMC Software Technology
GMC Software Technology delivers the most effective solutions in the field of Customer Communications Management (CCM). With unrivalled experience in the industry, GMC has consistently demonstrated the ability to help businesses increase customer engagement across all touchpoints. The company’s CCM platform, GMC Inspire, enables enterprises to deliver relevant communications, at the right time, through the preferred channel for every customer – driving customer loyalty, acquisition and operational efficiency. For more information visit www.gmc.net.
Source: GMC Software Technology