How insurers can deliver better customer experiences

Increasing customer expectations spurred by the rise of digital innovation are impacting the insurance industry. Good customer experience leaves people feeling heard and appreciated; it minimizes friction, maximizes efficiency and maintains a human element. Give customers a great experience and they’ll buy more, be more loyal and share their experience with friends.

Providing a positive customer experience is no longer just about offering great service. It’s increasingly a way for companies in competitive markets to distinguish their brands. So what does this mean for insurers, which are facing rising competition? It means that those that want to differentiate themselves and rise to the top will need to offer customer-first experiences that deliver a cohesive, digitally enabled journey.

Woman walking in shopping center gazing a storefront

Where and how to start

Creating a customer-first experience is about being innovative towards developing customer intimacy and trust that’s agile enough to meet fast-shifting market expectations, while continuing to drive down costs. Digital services can generate many efficiencies, but there are still some aspects of many industries, and particularly insurance, that require human interaction. With that in mind, we’ve put together four principles to help you provide better customer experiences:

 

Number one
Take a walk in the customer’s shoes

How often do you carefully and objectively look at your business from your customers’ perspective? Do you clearly see what it’s like to purchase or do business with your company from their side of the counter? Poor customer service is one of the top reasons customers leave or switch financial institutions.

When it comes to insurance companies, customers can get a quote for a product through online channels, but it’s not always possible to close the purchase. And with most insurers still reaching customers through the broker channel and relying on legacy systems and technology, experiencing the various parts of the customer journey can help insurance companies address the pain points and differentiate themselves from the competition.

Number 2
Use analytics to inform decisions

Data is the lifeblood of the insurance industry. It’s helpful to know what happened in the past, but it’s much more powerful to know what will happen in the future and how you can influence it.

Insights can improve your customer strategy in many areas, including customer experience design, marketing, sales and service optimization. Using these insights helps you to rely less on crude rating factors, such as age or marital status, when pricing premiums and put more emphasis on customization and an individual’s unique characteristics.

Analytics also extend beyond traditional customer data points to include behavioural economics, as well as digital intelligence. This gives you a more complete view of your customers so you can offer the right products at the right time and, possibly, sell them a larger number of insurance solutions.

Number 3
Automate responsibly

We often tell clients to not automate at the expense of human connections. Technology can certainly be part of the answer but not all of it.

Using automation and artificial intelligence to reduce your cost base is the immediate priority, as you could be quickly left behind if you don’t. Insurers’ experiences with developing robotic process automation solutions have highlighted the importance of carefully mapping processes, from distribution though to claims settlement, to identify which areas are sufficiently structured to be automated and the opportunities to apply AI.

Our recent CEO Survey showed that fewer than one in three (28%) Canadian CEOs are clear about how robotics and artificial intelligence can improve the customer experience. So it’s important to be mindful and integrate these technologies where they can have the most impact.

Number 4
Engaged employees, engage customers

People, rather than systems, drive innovation and are crucial to realizing its full commercial potential. It isn’t just digital skills that are in demand but also the creativity and emotional intelligence needed to innovate and connect with customers. According to our 21st CEO Survey, 91% of financial services CEOs believe they need to strengthen soft skills in their organizations alongside digital capabilities.

We know that automated solutions should learn from human interactions. Continuously improving the skill level of your workforce will not only create more engaged employees but will enable better service. This in turn, will lead to the improvement of your automated solutions, resulting in intelligent automation and a seamless customer experience.

Contact us

Keegan Iles

Partner, PwC Canada

Tel: 416-815-5052

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