By Andi Dominguez, Principal – Insurance & Healthcare, Quadient —
If you are in the insurance business, your goal is to establish long-term, trusting relationships with customers, and those relationships have many touchpoints along the journey. To win and retain customers, it’s essential to identify the most critical of these touchpoints so that consistent, relevant and personalized experiences can be delivered to every customer, every time. But exactly what is it that customers expect? Driven by today’s communications technology, customer expectations have evolved to include connectivity, immediacy and simplicity—a complex mandate for many insurers. Regardless of who they contact in your organization about any specific topic, customers want experiences that meet their high standards—and they no longer have patience if you can’t meet their expectations.
To understand the customer journey and improve the customer experience, insurers must optimize the moments that matter most to consumers and to the business. “Moments of truth” are those make-or-break instances that represent a customer’s key decision points. If executed well, the customer continues doing business with your organization. If executed poorly, he or she likely will begin shopping elsewhere.
There are three key moments of truth in the insurance industry, each one influenced by additional touchpoints: the quote process, onboarding process and claims process. Each provides opportunities to communicate with the customer in a clear, consistent and timely manner that encourage them to choose to stay with your company.
The quote process is an important decision point for the customer, which makes it a pivotal moment for the insurer, too. Based on the information you provide and how you communicate it, the customer buys or does not. Consumers will likely get multiple quotes and/or compare several coverage options across different insurers, so it’s important to demonstrate value as early as possible and in a manner that sets you apart from the others. As they shop, consumers are evaluating coverage options, needs and price requirements, and they are also evaluating your organization on the basis of how well your service meets their expectations. Is the information you give them self-explanatory or complex? Does it feel personalized? Is it delivered via their preferred channel? Not all insurance purchases are driven by price, particularly if your pricing is similar to your competitors. Customers often have unique needs that not every insurer can meet, and they are willing to pay more for greater value.
Let’s also not forget agents, brokers, providers and all the other individuals who heavily influence the customer experience. While the role of digital is ever-increasing, the role of the trusted broker or provider who serves the best interest of the customer—and, in fact, owns the relationship with the customer—remains equally important.
The onboarding process presents an opportunity for payers and insurers to set the tone for future expectations. At this moment of truth, savvy insurers are establishing a customer-centric experience. The most common onboarding mistake is to overwhelm the customer with questions, information, steps and options, so it’s advisable to make every step simple, clear and meaningful. For example, do you really need to ask for their mailing address or last name one more time? What information do you absolutely need day one and what will you do with this information? If it doesn’t add value to the organization or to the customer experience, consider not asking for it and use the opportunity to call attention to more important elements or to prioritize other more pertinent information they haven’t already provided.
During onboarding, simple language, clear steps and an easy-to-navigate experience will win more customer points and increase customer engagement. An exceptional customer experience provides the customer with the harmonious experience they expect of the organization, while aligning with your business needs.
Unsurprisingly, the claims process is another critical moment of truth for insurance organizations. Most individuals, if not all, purchase insurance to obtain peace of mind and hope they never have to use it. It is also true that insurers would be quite happy with low-risk, healthy customers who pay the premium on time. However, accidents happen; people get ill.
The claims process can be emotional for the customer and should be as smooth as possible. Depending on the complexity and severity of the claim, some customers might want a quick resolution while others will want more interactions with the insurer or with their broker or agent. The common mistake here is an over-emphasis on digital. Though digital communications can and should augment the customer experience, this inflection point should be infused with a more personal sense of empathy to deliver a frictionless experience.
While these moments of truth are important, these are not the only moments that matter. Modern communication technology enables insurers to fulfill customer expectations with quick and relevant responsiveness. However, the customer experience is influenced by all departments across the organization, including sales, marketing, operations, underwriting, claims and billing—and each line of business will have different, usually siloed messaging with specific goals, depending on where the customer is in the lifecycle of their transaction or their insurance journey. Additionally, most customers may interact primarily and more personally with an agent or broker. Add the barrier of technology to all this, and customers can leave feeling unappreciated—more like a number than a human being.
When an insurer uses customer insights to communicate at the right time with the most relevant information, as well as allowing customers to self-serve easily online via their preferred channels, the insurer begins to deliver value beyond insurance. Consumer perceptions begin to shift. This is the foundation of a successful partnership, one in which customer loyalty is gained over time through meaningful interactions. A centralized customer communications strategy that integrates organizational silos and is accessible to customer-facing staff, can break down the technology barrier, creating a positive customer experience no matter where the customer is in their overall journey. Such an approach goes a long way toward helping insurers simplify, streamline and personalize messaging to provide a satisfying customer experience at every moment of truth.
About the Author
Andi Dominguez is Principal, Insurance & Healthcare at Quadient. She brings over a decade of experience partnering with property & casualty and healthcare insurance organizations to her role in enabling insurers to engage, retain and building stronger relationships with their customers. For more information, visit www.quadient.com.
Quadient is a leader in helping businesses create meaningful customer connections through digital and physical channels. By focusing on four key solution areas including Customer Experience Management, Business Process Automation, Mail-Related Solutions, and Parcel Locker Solutions, Quadient helps simplify the connection between people and what matters. For more information, visit www.quadient.com.
Source: Quadient via Sterling Kilgore, Inc.