Coordinating the Chaos of Insurance Customer Communications

by Scott Draeger, Customer Communication Strategist, GMC Software Technology
(Part 2 of a 2-part series)

Part 1 of this series discussed how the proliferation of channels that insurers use to communicate with their customers has led to a siloed and uncoordinated customer experience. Part 2 will discuss considerations for creating a single cohesive portfolio of communications that can improve business results by proactively managing customer engagement.

(Feb. 26, 2014) – As explained in “Coordinating the Chaos of Insurance Customer Communications, Part 1,” customer communication management (CCM) strategy touches down on all aspects of the customer communication process—from creation to delivery, storage and retrieval of outbound and interactive communications—to ensure that your communications are executed as a critical part of your corporate strategy. To create a CCM portfolio, it makes sense first to take inventory of the breadth of your customer communications.

Examine how different customer activities are supported by different channels at your company. Look at how all of the major events in the customer communication lifecycle (direct marketing, policies, welcome kits, claims materials, etc.) intersect with the various communication platforms—print, web, email, mobile, social and call center.

Your prospects could initially be engaged by several types of communications that you control, and some that you may influence, but may not directly control. Direct marketing, referral programs and social media campaigns each attempt to increase the number of active and interested prospects in their own way. Some prospects will respond to print, others prefer email and the web, some may seek an agent or call center representative, and some may only prefer exclusively mobile experiences.

An ideal communication portfolio will effectively manage discrete campaigns across multiple channels, paying attention to the limitations and opportunities offered by each.

Once prospects become customers, your communications portfolio will experience its toughest trials. The onboarding experience generally involves multiple systems within the insurance business, and sets the tone for the entire customer relationship. This is often the moment when insurers transfer the communication from a high-touch marketing project to a cost-optimized IT-driven process. For example, full-color communications are often replaced with black and white print on thin paper.

“This switch in ownership may represent a significant change in voice and tone to the customer,” says Michael Charest, Vice President of Insurance for GMC Software Technology, North America. “How well the portfolio executes the voice of the company with these regular business communications—such as policy updates and renewals—to customers, will either support or undermine the sales and marketing teams’ efforts as they try to maintain and grow relationships.”

The insider’s view

How communications are handled internally is another challenge. “Over the course of decades of electronic customer communications, there are bound to be applications no longer in use. Communication systems tend to accumulate, and as they are generally managed in silos, a frequent result is functional abandonment rather than deliberate decommissioning,” says Charest. “There are communications that could be better served by another application or department,” he adds.

Modern CCM platforms, like that offered by GMC, offer document repurposing technology, which allows output from legacy systems that can be refreshed, updated and upgraded to bring state of the art features to older communications. Modern CCM technology can replace hundreds of legacy templates with a single, flexible user experience that provides relevant, yet approved, content to your customers in less time.

Additionally, today’s thin-client interactive solutions can deliver correspondence, quotes and proposals quickly and more efficiently. This lets your expert front line staff bring context and intelligent content to smart templates that automatically access data from multiple systems to reduce call times and improve the communication outcome for the customer. In turn, it delivers a positive outcome to the business.

As you take inventory of your communications, determine the best option for each piece moving forward, considering your overall strategy. In some cases, if you choose not to refresh or “reboot” communications to bring them up to date, you might decide that the best option is to eliminate the application altogether.

The analyst’s view

According to analyst firm, Forrester, customer communications management is a frequent topic of inquiries as businesses look for direction on how to update their technology for new business demands and usage patterns —such as the need for unified and consistent content across multiple communication channels. Forrester says that that during the next few years CCM platforms will continue to “bring better customer experiences, become easier to use, evolve toward broader communication needs and more tightly integrate with other business applications.”

When managed as a cohesive communication portfolio that meets today’s challenges and is ready for the communication challenges of the future, an insurer can proactively support the entire customer lifecycle.

To access The Forrester Wave™: Document Output For Customer Communications Management, please click here.

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