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Research from Accenture shows that the industry needs to improve the overall insurance customer experience because a “differentiated customer service experience” is the top factor for competition among insurers.
However, only 29 percent of consumers are satisfied with their current providers, and only 16 percent would buy more products from their insurer.
This brings up an important question: if it’s such a significant differentiator, then how do brands go about improving the insurance customer service experience?
Based on our research, we found two areas where insurance companies can make substantial changes to improve the insurance customer journey.
- Increased engagement
- Embrace a hybrid service strategy
1. Increasing Service Engagement for a Better Insurance Customer Experience
Oliver Börner, the principal business solutions manager for global customer intelligence at SAS, pointed out a significant pain point in the industry: over 90 percent of insurers don’t talk their customers throughout the whole year.
Even if there is some form of communication, Börner said about 20 – 40 percent of the customer base wouldn’t get a single piece of communication from the insurer all year.
This lack of communication is a serious issue. To keep customers satisfied and loyal to the insurance company, you’ll need to increase the level of non-sales communications with the customer base.
Börner mentioned that between 90 and 99 percent of all communications to customers are sales-related. However, he suggests that 70 percent of customer conversations should focus on “serving the customer and building trust.” This can range from alerts about incoming inclement weather, creating a faster process for filling out paperwork, or even showing more transparency when it comes to bills or claims.
The goal here is to change your staff’s mentality from seeing the customer as another entry in the ledger to a valuable asset in the company’s continued success. In other words, build that trust and relationship so your clients feel valued.
Research from Forrester on the health insurance industry revealed that of those who felt valued, 87 percent would advocate for their provider and 74 percent would stay with their current insurer. Improving that customer touchpoint to build trust and value instead of selling a product can quickly enhance the insurance customer experience.
2. Utilizing Hybrid Service Solutions in the Insurance Customer Experience Journey
A 21st-century insurance provider should utilize 21st-century technology to offer its services, but that doesn’t mean that it should be the only way you reach customers. You also need to focus on providing an offline, analog variant of your products.
The 2017 Customer Experience Index from Forrester revealed that while the overall quality of customer experience declined between 2016 and 2017, the hybrid customer service experience improved in the same period by one percent.
That doesn’t sound like a considerable improvement when taken at face value, but another Forrester report showed that even a one percent increase for auto and home insurance providers translated to an additional $215 million in total revenue.
If you are planning or already have digital processes in place for your insurance company you’re on the right track, but this research indicates that you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in the digital basket. The digital approach shows convenience, but having an offline or even face-to-face presence between the agent and the policyholder shows that you’re willing to discuss matters by any means necessary.
Going the extra mile this way increases not only customer satisfaction, but overall loyalty as well. To that end, make sure that your agents and any other public-facing staff are incredibly knowledgeable in all areas of your insurance services to answer any questions or concerns from customers.
The Benefits of Improving the Insurance Customer Experience
Improving the overall engagement and implementing a hybrid approach to your service offerings goes a long way to improving the insurance customer journey.
With better customer experience, research from McKinsey shows that you’ll get more customer retention, a better chance of successfully cross-selling additional services, and more referrals from your customer base.