Total Experience in Insurance

Author: Monica Hovsepian, Global Industry Strategist for Financial Services, OpenText

While the insurance industry might be undergoing major changes driven by technology, the end goal remains much the same. Improving the customer and employee experience has been the priority for the industry ever since the digital transformation got underway.

Obviously, financial metrics are the true bottom line, as ever in business. But, as ITT President Harold Geneen put it so sagely, ‘in the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.’

Geneen was speaking in a different age, when the word ‘experience’ was used in a slightly different way. But his insight is just as important today. Getting digital experiences right – for both customers and employees – is critical to the overall business success of companies within the insurance industry.

McKinsey has highlighted this, reporting that many insurers are struggling to effectively respond to their customers’ demands for a better digital experience. They’re hampered by legacy information systems that are inadequate for modern purposes. On the other side of the counter, those outdated systems are making it hard for insurance employees to do their jobs to the best of their ability; 70% of employees in the sector have more work to do than they have time for.

Eradicating these frustrations is therefore a business-critical priority for insurers going forward. The customer experience (CX) and the employee experience (EX) must be addressed and optimised simultaneously, requiring a focus on balancing back-office optimisation and customer-facing excellence.

As these two facets become increasingly linked, it can be more useful for insurers to think of it in a singular term, approaching the task by building a total experience (TX) business strategy to differentiate themselves in a fiercely competitive and dynamic market.

Transforming the way customer data is managed

McKinsey also has some stats to back up the importance of managing CX effectively in this new digital age: companies that do so typically see a 20% improvement in customer satisfaction, a 15% increase in sales conversion, a 30% lower cost-to-serve and a 30% increase in employee engagement.

Getting to those benefits involves transforming the way you manage your customer data to make it more efficient and agile. At its core, this is about being able to understand your customers better so you can make better business decisions and deliver greater satisfaction. This can be achieved by leveraging modern information platforms to streamline internal systems and bring all important data into a single ‘pane-of-glass’ 360-degree customer view.

The EX component of TX comes in here too, as the kind of technology that achieves that 360-degree view makes things much easier for employees, and gives them readily-available insights they can then use to elevate the experiences they offer to customers, including joined-up interactions and personalised service and engagement.

Finding harmony across the channel mix

Once the foundations of the 360-degree view is in place, insurance companies can begin to build out the seamless experience demanded by customers across the mix of different channels, including websites and applications, over the phone or in-person services.

As an example, modern technology can facilitate self-service tools, to add convenience for customers and decrease the burden on employees, allowing them to focus on delivering more strategic, valuable engagements elsewhere.

To touch on the ongoing topic du jour, there are also many demonstrable use cases for AI in insurance already. Combined with analytics, it can be used to help reduce information overload and optimise customer experiences, by giving support teams with AI-driven intelligence to anticipate the next-best action, next-best offer, and next-best channel to engage customers with.  Furthermore, AI can be utilised to empower employees to engage with customers by writing relevant communications, by summarising claim documentations to expedite decisions.

The Future of Total Experience

As economic turbulence continues, insurers are heavily focused on operational efficiency. As a strategy that harmonises customer experience excellence and streamlined back-end operations, total experience offers more than just another buzzword in the digital age. Gartner states that ‘Improving the customer experience (CX) ranked higher in the survey this year than more strategic focuses, such as growing revenue or new products/services development to support transformation.’

TX can be key to driving success through benefits such as:

  • Building lifetime relationships with customers by providing rich, relevant, and targeted communications across all channels
  • Empowering and engaging employees by ensuring they have the most current and relevant information across critical business systems with a single source of customer truth
  • Making better business decisions by leveraging AI to deliver actionable insights to employees.

Geneen talked about taking the experience first, with the financial success to follow. In today’s new environment of digital insurance, creating the right experience first is what will lead to long-term success. That involves both end customers and the employees that are responsible for serving them. By leveraging technology to offer cohesive and integrated solutions for both employee and customer experiences, insurance companies can ride the wave of change currently washing over the industry and come out the other side on top.


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