Take a Digital-first Approach to Enhance the Customer Experience

When is the last time you bought a DVD from a brick and mortar store? Can you recall waiting a week in between television shows, instead of binging 12 episodes in a row? This ‘Netflix Effect’ has revolutionized the way people consume media. The nearly $20 billion company completely transformed the media services industry as we knew it. And because of this, today’s consumer now has more control than ever and expects simple, efficient experiences from every brand they encounter across all industries and verticals.

When today’s customers interact with their insurance carriers, for example, they expect ease and efficiency. And while the agent relationship will always be an important aspect of the value chain, for the first time in more than 20 years, a JD Power survey found that digital-first interactions positively impacted customer engagement and retention more than agent interactions.

The only way insurers can achieve this level of change at scale is to invest in digital transformation initiatives. As partners, Smart Communications and Guidewire have helped more than 85 carriers do just this – building out the necessary strategies and technologies to respond to customers’ ever-changing needs. In fact, Smart Communications is the only Customer Communications Management provider that Guidewire resells directly. This shared history provides unique insight into how brands can reimagine customer engagement and achieve success.

This blog post explores three ways insurance carriers can better engage their customers through digital channels – ultimately enhancing the entire, end-to-end customer experience.

  1. Adopt an agile approach. Even prior to the COVID-19 health crisis, organizational agility was already seen as a competitive differentiator, as it allows teams to launch products and services and respond to changing market conditions quickly. However, the pandemic and subsequent remote working environments have amplified the need for agile processes. Agility requires true cloud technologies, which provide instant elasticity to meet peak demands without hefty hardware investments, real-time provisioning to meet changing internal needs, increased speed to production and scalability to meet the complex needs of the enterprise’s centralized customer communications strategies.
     
  2. Build a connected ecosystem. An integrated technology stack allows insurers to glean the most insight about their customers, which is necessary to create meaningful and tailored experiences. Recently, Forrester identified “ease of integration” and interoperability as the most important purchase criteria for today’s digital buyers. Siloed solutions not only create a disjointed customer experience, but also limit the ability of internal resources to have a 360-degree view of the customer. Using plug-and-play accelerators (such as those available on the Guidewire Marketplace or the Smart Communications Conversation Cloud Marketplace), systems can ‘talk’ to each other and trigger faster responses – providing insight into both inbound and outbound communications to enable insurers to set themselves apart from the competition.   
     
  3. Empower employees. Employees serve as the ‘face’ of the brand, as agents, brokers, call center staff and more are often interacting with customers on a personal and individual level. For many insurance carriers, there is a disconnect between what their employees want to deliver and what they can provide – they are hampered by complex code-based personalization techniques and “thick-client” installed technology that doesn’t scale for all customer-facing employees. When adopting new technology, innovation and agile approaches, it’s critical to ensure employees are trained and empowered to deliver exceptional customer experiences at every touchpoint.

Digital transformation has changed the way consumers do everything, from watching movies to getting a ride, and insurance carriers need to catch up. It’s time to go beyond customer communications and start thinking about two-way conversations. Insurers should take a strategic approach to how they interact with customers, deploying a digital approach to engage with individuals on their preferred channels. Customer conversations are critical to shaping a brand’s customer experience and adopting the best processes and technologies to drive change will ultimately set companies up for success.

Find out more about how Smart Communications can complement an existing investment in Guidewire InsuranceSuite: www.smartcommunications.com/guidewire. Check out Smart Communications’ solution available on the Guidewire Marketplace and download the Guidewire eBook Building an Ecosystem to Improve the Customer Experience 

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