As today’s insurers move away from a transactional business model and refocus their strategies on differentiating customer engagement, it’s more important than ever for them to enable a full, rich picture of the customer’s relationship with the company. To achieve that, they need to provide staff with real-time information on the customer’s interactions, the products and services they’ve bought or shown interest in, and most importantly, who they are. That vision might seem to be a business basic, but it’s an area where some insurers struggle to compete. Disparate data sources and legacy siloed back-end systems, not to mention the challenges of a diverse and complex network of agents and intermediaries, can present challenges when it comes to providing a single, 360-degree view of the customer.
“Customer service suffers when carriers and their agents don’t have a single, comprehensive view of the customer,” says Dennis Vanderlip, insurance industry director at Microsoft. “Insurers work with a complex ecosystem of intermediaries and agents, and coordination between them is often not as strong as it should be, which can mean that customer insight may be lost. The issue is compounded by the fact that customers want to interact with the insurer using any channel they choose. Not only do they expect to receive a consistent level of service at any time, on any channel; they also expect the person they’re dealing with to know exactly where they are in a conversation that might have started online or through social media. Any offering that falls short of their expectations can lead to disillusionment and, ultimately, lost sales.”
To give agents and intermediaries the customer insight that improves relationship management, insurers need to break down information silos across the organisation and establish the customer, not the product, as the focal point of their sales and marketing efforts. “That means managing the performance of agencies and enabling agents and brokers to manage leads, improve sales effectiveness and leverage customer insight so they can upsell and cross-sell. It means empowering claims adjusters and field engineers to process claims faster and conduct comprehensive inspections, and giving call centre agents the insight they need to serve customers efficiently and cross-sell additional products. Insurers who are open to innovation are finding efficient, intelligent ways to bring together their siloed data and provide a 360-degree view of the customer for the people who need it,” says Vanderlip.
“For insurance companies, an omni-channel relationship management strategy involves unifying their online, mobile and contact centre channels, and directly integrating these with their core insurance systems,” says Vanderlip. “All of this can be done through a modern customer insight system. From the customer’s point of view, this enables a consistent experience on any channel they choose. But key to providing that consistency is the system’s ability to give agents and intermediaries a single version of the truth about the customer they’re engaging with. By integrating a customer insight system with transaction, collaboration and productivity functionality, agents and underwriters can gain a comprehensive view of the customer and their interactions across all channels – using it as a tool to gather information and centrally store it.”
“Having a 360-degree view of the customer is invaluable for optimising relationship management, boosting profitability and increasing productivity,” Vanderlip concludes. “With all the information they need at their fingertips, agents can communicate with customers more efficiently and effectively, price up policies more easily and identify upsell or cross-sell opportunities. At the same time, they have the opportunity to develop their business by generating and tracking leads, and creating tailored offers that will capture sales.”
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