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Zen and the Art of Engagement Maintenance

A lot of the technology rolling out these days is focused on ‘engaging’ us. As slick as these technologies are individually, the really fine art is bring them together in a seamless customer experience.  This is being referred to as ‘omnichannel.’

Other sectors are making strides. How do you think the insurance community is doing? We’d like to invite you to explore this further with us.

What is Omnichannel?

This is still being defined.  However, this is one of those terms that you know when you see it.  Here’s my story.

This past weekend, I had three encounters with my bank that involved different access methods and different business functions.  Some of these were initiated by me, some by my bank.  All of them made my life either easier or better.

One was an email notifying me that a statement was ready on-line. It also had a promotion relating to points on a credit card. I followed though on both using basic web access.

Another was an electronic transfer that I received that needed to be credited to a special account. I used the 800 number for this — Saturday afternoon around 5:30 — and got personal help.

The last was to transfer some funds using an app on my phone.

What’s so special about this?

Two things:

  • I could have done each of these transactions with several media – web, phone, mobile app.  I used what was available and convenient at that moment.
  • Each contact provided an opportunity to offer additional services, one of which I took.

Is this Nirvana?  No, but it’s light years ahead of what I used to have to do.  And it is available now.

Is insurance following this direction?

Writing in Post Magazine (22 January 2015), Media Consultant David  Worsfold notes that customers are embracing the omnichannel experience and expect insurers to offer the same features.

This benefits both seller and buyer by building a deeper relationship relationship that is not based on transactions, but tilts the scales in the customers’ favour:  ” Crucially, it is a relationship that puts that customer in charge of their journey, not the insurer.”  Worlsford writes.

Will the insurers respond? According to Worlsford, “the jury is out as to how far and how fast established insurance players have been able to re-engineer their business models.”

There are challenges, certainly …

One of the big roadblocks continue to be siloed legacy systems.  Before we can make data and functionality available on multiple devices, we have to a have to be able to consolidate the data required and serve these data in a unified format.

This was not the vision of prior generation systems.  SMA’s Mark Breading has noted that “With insurers now embracing innovation, focusing on improving the customer experience, and looking to enhance product development, the need for modern core systems has never been greater.”

But technology is only the base …

As expensive and painful as it seems, core systems are really table stakes.  Insurers need to adopt more of a customer-first strategy.

Bringing this all together will require new approaches and changes in culture and thinking, according to Worsfold.  Insurers need to assess options quickly and move forward with a comprehensive, yet flexible strategy, based on clear understanding of the requirements and the internal and external resources available.

And there is a place to find these resourcesICTC-wheel-plain-r60

Events, such as the 2015 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference can help.  This year’s conference features more than 35 sessions, which focus on the the Digital Customer Experience from a number of angles, including:

  • Customer Engagement
  • Core systems
  • Business Transformation
  • Telematics
  • Mobile

Sessions will include case studies and data from consumer research.  The exhibit area will provide opportunities to review technologies and programs for 38 suppliers.

What do you think?

Are you prepared for the omnichannel world? Do you think you need to be?

Drop a comment below, or better still, drop by #ICTC2015.

 

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