Digital heralds seamless experiences but still needs the personal touch
“Does the fear of losing a personal connection prevent insurance brokers using digital to help create the experience customers expect?” asks Ben Legg, Chief CPO at Open GI.
We all know that customer expectations have transformed. They had been slowly evolving but with changes in behaviour during the COVID pandemic, they seem to have accelerated over the last two years. Customers’ digital use and interactions are now firmly embedded into everyday life. They are used to instant access, being able to order anything and everything online whenever they want.
Customers have the same expectations when researching, purchasing, and managing insurance. They want the speed, access, and convenience they experience every day.
The insurance industry has been slow to embrace digital however, so brokers have been playing catch up for some time. But for some, part of their reluctance to fully commit can be attributed to the fear of losing the personal touch that can differentiate them from their competitors. But those brokers who have embraced digital can more easily meet quickly changing customer expectations and in our experience they don’t forget the essential role the personal touch can play too.
Creating the digital experience
When creating new customer journeys and user experiences, you need to review your business and look at what problems you are trying to solve. Digital can help, but often it will only be a part of the solution.
For example, a niche provider of insurance for mobile phones, a low value, high volume product, must implement a 100% digital customer journey to make it viable. That digital journey must enable a quick and simple customer experience that delivers the right policy to the customer in minutes.
When selling personal lines insurance like motor or home, digital applications have become essential in creating an efficient customer journey. Supporting these with elements of personal customer support and expert advice help to create the holistic user experience that customers love.
Automated workflows, quote-and-buy websites and customer portals are just some of the digital solutions and applications that can help create a flexible and efficient customer journey. A quote-and-buy website delivers the instant access customers expect by allowing them to browse quotes and purchase policies online at their own convenience. Customer portals make all the policy information available to view and be managed online by the customer, whenever they want or need it.
The availability of policy documentation online is not only simple to use and convenient, but it has huge environmental benefits too. The reduction in paper usage and the energy savings in delivery are important to customers, as well as businesses, as net zero approaches. It is also being more understood that customers want to use businesses that are environmentally responsible, and this can only enhance their user experience.
The lack of any personal support however during the customer journey can be frustrating for the user. How many of us have unsuccessfully tried to speak to a person on some of the large eCommerce websites? Including the availability to talk to one of the expert team by phone or even an online chat function will remove frustrations that could negatively impact customer experience. And by combining digital solutions with expert personal support when required, a broker can add tangible value.
Commercial and the personal touch
The customer journey for purchasing commercial SME insurance is different to the personal lines categories, so the balance between digital and building the personal relationship through expert support changes again.
Relying less on automated workflows and quote-and-buy websites, an accurate view of the business and an assessment of the risks involved can be better achieved with an open conversation with open questions. This will ensure the right information is discovered more quickly, leaving both you and your customers feeling confident that the right policies are produced.
Once the policy is accepted the documents can be sent to a customer portal for easy access, reference, and management. By perfectly combining digital applications and the personal connection, you can create the all important customer experience.
Undoubtedly digital can help deliver great user experiences, but when creating your customer journey it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It is what is right for your business. Your customers have expectations and digital can help meet them, but by making expert advice and support always available too, you are also ensuring the personal touch is here to stay.