When maturity in terms of building positive insurance customer experience is low in the company, the structure of processes can be compared to a tangled skein of wool. With time, some fragments seem more orderly and understandable, but at the same time the weak points of this tangle become even more visible.
The conviction that "the client does not see it" may prove a painful mistake. It may be because of overly complicated (or the lack of) procedures, underdeveloped parts of processes, limited support or the lack of it, etc. These are some serious allegations, especially when the slogan of "customer at the center" has ruled the customer service strategies for the insurance industry for several years now. How it really is?
It turns out that only 11% of the heads of marketing departments participating in the SAS and CMO Council study "Cracking Tomorrow's CX Code" (2023) believe that their company has developed appropriate solutions in this area. It means that there are still problems with identifying all customer touch points, building insurance customer experience, and realizing customer service strategies with success in the insurance industry.
Do we know our customers?
How fast is the response to a client’s case? In which communication channel does the client wish to be notified about the stages of processing of his case? What would be an expected and the most acceptable solution to the issue? What is the most common problem for the client in a given topic? There are many more of such questions, but how often do we even make an effort to ask them not only between ourselves, but above all our clients? Some insurers, unfortunately, still make this mistake and make decisions for their clients. This is evidenced by the already mentioned SAS and CMO Council study, in which customers state that the insurance industry was striving for improvements in insurance customer experience three times less than the winner of the ranking, retail, and more than 2.5 times less than banking, which took the second place. As you can see, there is still much to do.
What customer service strategies should be considered for the insurance industry? What do customers count on the most? They expect high-quality products at the lowest possible cost, participation in loyalty programs, high-quality service, and prompt settlement of the matter.
Among the vocally communicated problems related to customer touch points in insurance, there is for example the lack of, or limited possibility of using the human support, instead of a digital one. Were the needs of the older generation of customers consciously ignored, or is this the result of the lack of sufficient customer knowledge? Is the issue of improving customer service for the silver generation considered at all in insurance companies?
In the insurance industry, the area of claims handling is the most problematic. But is it regarded an essential part of product management, or does the silo tactic of pushing the issue onto another department win out? How many companies have at least a somewhat detailed map of customer touch points in the area of insurance claims handling?
Are we prepared for customer expectations?
Speaking of silos, it's very risky for insurers if they will continue with this approach to work organization. "It's not our job", "we don't have access to this data", "I'll switch to my colleague", "the claim can be reported online, but the complaint can only be made at the branch".
What can we try to read from such messages? That there is an internal organizational problem with understanding the customer-at-the-center strategy, that there is a lack of proper training and empathy in customer service, the systems do not provide sufficient access to data, the system of support by superiors who would provide substantive support and care for service quality fails, or that the processes are fragmented and artificially lengthened, etc.
Where is the client in this? Lost, discouraged, warning other consumers online against the insurers that do this.
How to improve customer service in insurance companies?
Here’s how to improve insurance customer service and experience in insurance companies. A few tips that we hope will prove useful:
- Start boosting insurance customer experience by making sure that everyone in your organization has the same understanding of "customer at the center". The design of products and the processes surrounding them, especially those that are critical from the customer point of view, should take into account any foreseeable future problems.
- Strive to solve customer problems during a single call or visit. For this to be possible, employees in each touch points (not only in insurance) must have the appropriate tools and competencies that will provide them with access to full information, regardless of the channel in which it was obtained. From the technical standpoint, this means ensuring the collection of high-quality data and seamless integration between the systems. Nowadays, highly flexible insurance systems are equipped with applications that allow even the business unit to make selected modifications, so there is no excuse for not being able to remove invalid data, or to correct it. Customers can be provided with the freedom to choose the channel (phone, chat, branch, partner, etc.) and the form of support (tooltips with hints, instructional videos, FAQ section).
New technologies strengthen the sense of freedom and security at the same time, without unnecessary involvement of the client. They automate, shorten and simplify processes – untangle the skein, so to say – until the weakest elements are eliminated. And the insurer becomes effective and available at all times in the eyes of the client.
The little things count
The basis for building effective customer service strategies for the insurance industry is listening to customers and responding to their needs. On the online forums (which are one of the customer touch points in insurance) pile up the issues that can be efficiently dealt with thanks to the insurance systems based on modern technology.
Problems with the availability of the platform or data on purchased products can be solved by moving to the cloud based solutions. On the other hand, the inability to partially pay withdrawals at different times or to check the claim status is a matter of building appropriate processes, etc. Everything is in the hands of the insurer and an experienced IT provider.
There is no market shortage of ready-made and tested solutions known for their effectiveness. We already have them – let's start the conversation from here!
Product Marketing Manager at Comarch