You got the email. “We need to improve our customer experience. Our conversion and retention numbers are down. What can you do?” In fact, you got several emails and briefings from marketing and line-of-business leaders, and you were copied on a complaint from a key producer citing frustrated policyholders. You know what it will take, but how do you explain in a simple and concise way to peers that it will entail a whole new level of integration between your sales, marketing, and core systems?
Your company’s predicament is not unique. Most insurers have a myriad of systems that make it difficult to effectively manage customer engagement processes and even more difficult to maintain the “all-important” context—customer information, needs and preferences—as the customer moves from one channel to another. But, if you don’t get your strategy for a more unified approach and the related business case right the first time, you worry that business leaders will push forward with unconnected solutions that will ultimately broaden the divide between departments and systems, cause integration headaches later on, and ultimately reduce your nimbleness and competitiveness.
Industry analyst SMA understands the needs and roadblocks of today’s insurers and in a recent research paper—Achieving the Ultimate 360° Insurance Experience: Gaining New Vison and New Value in the Digital Era—provide a cogent description of what the integration of systems and data looks like for an optimized customer experience and a list of what technologies are required to achieve it.
Ultimately, says SMA, insurers need a new customer engagement model that gives them the capabilities to manage the customer relationship with a holistic viewpoint. Insurers need to be able to aggregate systems and expand the view to see beyond the transaction. This means that systems must be integrated from the start (pre-integrated) or tightly integrated by explicit design. Loose links and cobbled interfaces will not meet needs.
SMA states that the seven essentials of a modern, integrated platform that can deliver the ultimate 360° experience with full customer-centered, omni-channel support are:
- A common customer data model used by different areas of the company to market to a customer, provide customer service or handle a transaction.
- Advanced solution support for marketing and communication management that provides real-time, tight integration with core operational systems.
- Modern, open core systems that offer extensive integration points to bundled or separate digital marketing systems.
- Solutions that provide a high degree of configurability to define when, where, and how, in the customer lifecycle, customers and prospects are engaged.
- Omni-channel experience management capabilities that transfer relevant contextual information fluidly among interaction channels.
- A consolidated view of all systems to manage all service aspects of customer interaction.
- Sophisticated integration capabilities that facilitate the exchange of data and services and achieve reuse and consistency throughout the company.
Imagine your organization with these kinds of capability in place:
- Your first call resolution rate for customer inquiries increases many fold. One reason is that customer service is no longer traversing multiple systems to answer simple questions.
- Your marketing and sales teams are running smarter and more effective campaigns by working with real-time core systems data. For instance, there is no chance that sales will try to sell something to a customer who already bought the product.
- Marketing can incorporate campaigns into the course of business, at the right time. For example, an “in-the-moment” upsell offer might get a good response during a billing or renewal transaction, but fall flat during a claims transaction.
- Your customer interactions flow smoothly through multiple channels with no loss of context. For example, customers never need to re-enter the same information just because they move across call center, online or mobile touchpoints.
- Your customer engagement combines external and core systems data to gain demographic, social, and life event insights that drive personalized asset protection offers, product education, safety alerts, and other value-adding interactions.
- And the list goes on…
Imagine also, no more emails! You are delivering the real power that occurs when the world of sales and marketing is integrated with the world of core transactional processing. This level of capabilities delivers enormous dividends and prepares an organization for meeting the needs and expectations of the technology-equipped customer. It is the next necessity for competing effectively.
To read more on this topic, download a complimentary copy of Achieving the Ultimate 360° Insurance Experience: Gaining New Vison and New Value in the Digital Era.
Editor’s Note: Kevin is Director, Marketing & Communications at core systems solution provider EIS Group.
EIS Group and SMA will be presenting on this topic at the 2016 Insurance-Canada.ca Technology Conference on 29 February 2016.