At last, insurers are catching up and offering digital pathways for customers to file claims. For the most part, the process starts off well, allowing customers to take a photo with their phone, attach it to a digital form and submit the first notice of loss via email. (This is a huge improvement from a few years ago, when a customer would have to book an appointment with a claims adjustor and meet them at the place of damage. ) But then, as more stakeholders get involved in the claims process, the bottleneck pops up. The customer has to revert back to old ways of doing things, and bridge the digital gap in their claims process - picking up the phone to get an update, faxing a claims approval to an external or making a trip in person (to a mechanic or a hospital) to track down paperwork.

Most insurers are not wired to consider the journeys their customers want to take. That’s because their approach to the customer journey reflects the standard business model of products and processes. Consequently, they are wired to maximize productivity and scale economies through functional units. They are wired for transactions, not journeys.

The fallout from a bad experience

As Forrester’s puts it, the claims experience is the “prove-it moment” for insurers. Being stuck or stalled on a journey will, no doubt, impact customer satisfaction. Research shows that 25 percent of customers will defect after just one bad experience.According to Forrester’s Index, the feelings around a bad experience impact customers’ actions.

Annoyed

I feel annoyed

Only 23% of annoyed customers say they'll buy more from their insurance company

Asset 1

I feel disappointed

Fewer than 1 in 5 disappointed customers will advocate for their insurance company

Frustrated

I feel frustrated

Just 12% of frustrated customers plan to stay with their insurance company

 

Compared to when they have a positive experience:

Appreciated

I feel appreciated

90% of customers who feel appreciated plan to increase their spending with their insurance company

Respected

I feel respected

92% of customers who feel respected will advocate for their insurance company. This is one of the highest percentages of any industry. 

valued

I feel valued

69% of customers who feel valued by their insurer plan to stay with their insurance company.  


Keep in mind that the stats above are from the Forrester’s Index Survey 2014. It’s safe to assume that today’s customer satisfaction levels make a more pressing case, since expectations have risen exponentially since 2014.

Real CX begins with a new business model

Moreover, insurers will need to experiment with new business models to keep up with customer preferences. For example, customers are asking for premiums that fit their usage. They are questioning why they should pay for a full premium if they have a low risk profile and have rarely made a claim, if ever. If they are only using their car for 2-3 hours a week, why should they pay for coverage that covers them 24/7?

To make these new business approaches a reality, insurers will need to reconfigure their customer journey. This means moving away from an operational approach customer experience that is focused on measuring touch points to an agile, flexible approach that puts the customer forefront and centre.

What do customers want?

Customers want a seamless journey, one that incorporates all their points of contacts and tracks their conversations so they don’t have to re-tell their needs. They want to be able to access claim updates quickly on whichever device they are using, whether it’s via an app on their smartphone or by text message. To be able to respond to these customer preferences, insurers need to build a customer experience that is flexible and agile.

They also need to make the journey smooth. Each interactions has to ensure the continuity of information about a customer as well as consistency of content.

The agile journey continually evolves and improves

Customer journeys will differ, and will change over time. They are complicated journeys to anticipate and an insurer may not get it right with their first effort. To provide the kind of journeys that customers actually want to take, it’s important to design these journeys with an agile, flexible platform that can model a customer’s twists and turns, while seamlessly configuring the various functionalities. This approach allows the insurer to continually evaluate, evolve and improve the journey. It also treats the customer journey like a living, human experience, which will ultimately help insurers fixes issues at the root cause and redesign journeys for a better end-to-end experience.

Agility to test, evolve and validate

An agile software platform allows you to use one functionality at a time, such as a co-browsing. With such an approach, the insurer has the flexibility to test and validate if customers want to share documents. Then, once that option is validated, other functionalities such as messaging or video chat can be added on to expand the journey options. Each interaction with a customer can be seamlessly escalated to the next level. For instance, if a client and agent are exchanging documents, they can add an audio or video call to discuss details. The agent can also leverage the opportunity to move forward with decision-making.

Meanwhile, multidisciplinary teams can continually refine and re-release processes and journeys based on input from customers. Such agile methods of working help high-performing teams release and scale major, customer-vetted process improvements in less than 20 weeks. According to McKinsey, agile digital companies significantly outperform their competitors. It starts with new ways of working.

A whole new journey

Companies that transform end-to-end digital journeys can offer a very different kind of customer journey, one that customer actually wants to take. A transformation can also digitize the underlying claims processes using smart processing technology. For the customer, this makes the whole claims process easier and more convenient. Streamlined processes make for quick responses. Customers no longer have to wait in a queue to have their call answered. Instead, digital channels open up more convenient ways of communicating. It allows for their claim can be handled by one person, instead of multiple people. An agent can text a status update to a customer. For situations that need a visual assessment, a customer can easily initiate a video chat from an app or text message.

The Pay-Off

A customer-centric digital transformation can radically improve business model. Studies conducted by Forrester Research have shown that if an insurer can improve their customer experience satisfaction score by just 1% it can translate into millions of dollars in additional revenue. A seamless, digital journey can boost customer satisfaction levels significantly and can yield cost savings of 15% to 25%. It also increases organizational speed and agility, reducing the number of process loops required to complete a customer journey by up to 40%. Insurers that move quickly can build a digital advantage will be well-positioned to be agile, evolving with the customer, while benefiting from the dividends of a customer-centric business model.

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