Like the lives of so many celebrities and reality show families, whose relationships and daily interactions are splashed across our screens, insurers’ views of their customers present the same frustrating dilemma: sometimes they want to reach into the customers’ world and try to help influence decisions. But just like on TV, it seems today’s insurers can look, but aren’t actually touching their customers. True customer engagement continues to evade even the savviest of carriers.
Given that so much progress has been made by insurers to achieve a single, 360° view of their customer, why is it that actual engagement continues to be a cliff hanger?
For one thing, the so-called 360° view is nothing more than a static dashboard-type snapshot of products and transactions for most insurers. While this fulfills a vital need, it just isn’t enough to enable “in the moment” customer engagement. To operate dynamically in a mobile, real-time world the strategy must overcome the constraints of siloed systems.
Industry analyst firm SMA has taken a close look at this topic. It is the subject of its new research paper: Achieving the Ultimate 360° Insurance Experience: Gaining New Vison and New Value in the Digital Era. Authors Karen Furtado and Mark Breading maintain that insurers need to move from static to dynamic insights if they wish to significantly improve the experience for the customer and achieve better results.
Bridge the Gap between Front and Back Office
The ultimate 360° experience, says SMA, extends integration beyond core operations to include sales and marketing. It calls for breaking down traditional silos and harmonizing the front and back office operations. Unfortunately for most insurers, there is often a large disconnect between acquisition activities and the transactional processes that support the issue and servicing of the policy.
Acquisition systems—including customer and agent portals, CRM, and mobile capabilities—are often only loosely connected to the core transactional systems, and they lack insight into the customer’s profile or current situation. If that gap can be closed, dynamic customer engagement can flow more smoothly. When frontline employees and automated systems can conduct informed and in-context interactions with the customer and those interactions transfer seamlessly in an accurate and timely manner across channels and business areas, opportunity to increase loyalty and growth abound.
Reach Out and Touch Someone
Insurers need to break through the flat glass screens on their desktops and begin to make connections between the customer data in their dashboards and the transactions within their core systems. Only then can informed, smarter interactions with customers be created that make every touch point optimally meaningful and valuable to customer and carrier alike.
What makes this happen is a new level of technology integration that taps into the trove of information that is resident in core systems and then combines that data with sales, marketing, and servicing insight—in real-time, in the right context.
Make the Digital Connection with Smarter Core Systems
If you are truly trying to engage with your customers, your core systems have a greater role to play. They need to be smarter to the digital customer experience. Whether digital marketing is a component of your core suite or separate from it, the core system’s data and rules need to be open and exposed to the digital marketing engine. Core systems need a high degree of configurability that allows insurers to define when, where, and how, to engage in the customer lifecycle, be that for increasing brand awareness, upselling, cross-selling, or just providing education and proactive alerts.
The door to opportunity swings wide open and marvelous things start happening when acquisition and post-sales servicing systems are unified in real-time and feed off common customer data. Real-time insights from marketing, sales, service and claims fuel a nurturing cycle where the content of messages and interactions are customized and optimized. Each interaction triggers the next best action.
Cross-selling and upselling opportunities are now identified. Servicing actions deliver more value to the customer. Customers sense they are dealing with one unified company. Ultimately, insurers make better marketing decisions and customers make better buying decisions.
For the latest thinking on this blog topic, please download your own copy of SMA’s research paper, Achieving the Ultimate 360 Insurance Experience: Gaining New Vison and New Value in the Digital Era.