The Customer Experience Should Be Anything But Spooky


As someone who did not grow up with computers, I must admit that the world of digital marketing seemed a little sinister. How was it that soon after ordering coffee beans online, ads for coffeemakers suddenly appeared in my social media feeds? It was only when I learned about digital marketing algorithms that I was no longer spooked by those pop-up ads, but more importantly understood how today’s digital marketing strategies are designed to establish tailored, meaningful customer connections. Today’s group insurance carriers, like the major players in the greater data-driven world (Amazon, Netflix, etc.,) are collecting data for more human-centered user experiences and using complex, omnichannel platforms to establish customized, emotional connections with clients.

Developing A Supernatural Customer Experience

Like so many of today’s modern enterprises, group benefits insurance is grounded in technology, with omnichannel platforms necessary for ongoing digital interactions. For group insurers to successfully compete in a crowded and commoditized industry, human-centered, data-driven connections must be at the core of key touchpoints. Onboarding, benefits selection, and the overall claims experience must reinforce an emotional connection to drive revenue and long-term retention. Recent research has proven as such: a survey of roughly 430 multigenerational group insurance customers about their emotional connection to their group benefits providers revealed that only 24% felt extremely connected to their group benefits carrier, while 19% felt no connection at all. This was derived from other relevant questions about quality of service, technology and tools provided, and how likely customers would recommend their carriers to friends. Most telling of all was the question that asked customers about how their primary group benefits provider performed in terms of emotional connection, in areas such as responsiveness, insight, and trustworthiness. Not surprisingly, carriers that are considered “Digital Enthusiasts” in terms of digital persona use scored highest, while companies considered “Digital Laggards,” in terms of digital persona use scored the lowest.

What this research confirms is that digital customer engagement matters, and that despite its ongoing efforts, the group insurance industry still has room for improvement. So how can group insurers raise the bar of customer connection to drive revenue and customer retention? The best methods are through more data and analytics to deliver experience at scale, to facilitate emotional connections that resonate throughout the customer base.

The data and analytics behind personalized customer engagement rely heavily on personas, semi-fictional representations based on market research and insurers’ first-hand knowledge about existing customers. Personas actualize customer segments and are incredibly valuable, especially when shared with developers, user experience, QA, and product owners, to design and enhance the development and customization process. Advanced analytics that also parse vast amounts of data can provide additional information on what individual consumers need and determine their most suitable and personalized experiences.

It’s Alive! Creating Emotional Connections

As major players in the surrounding data-driven world repeatedly up the ante on what customers can expect from a digital customer experience, group insurers will need to continually enhance their own digital services to keep pace. Human-centered design approaches with a focus on the interactions considered “moments of truth” from quote to claim are required to create exceptional experiences. This way, client interactions are “experience led,” rather than “systems led,” to enable deeper emotional connections that can also be measured for effectiveness and long-term impact.

Final Thoughts

It makes sense that the customer experience is the most important driver of customer loyalty. Customers need an emotional connection to cultivate a long-term relationship with their providers. To bring the customer experience to life, no mad scientist is needed; group insurers require measured, individualized customer data and analytics to build powerful digital and emotional experiences that resonate and invigorate the long-term group insurer/customer relationship. There’s nothing scary about that.

See how Vitech’s group insurance solutions implement superior customer experiences for sustained digital engagement.

1 “Making a Deeper Customer Connection,” Craig Weber, Cognizant, August 2022
2 Ibid.

About the Author

Patrick Lyons

Patrick Lyons is Senior Vice President at Vitech Systems Group. He leads Vitech’s Insurance Account Management and has extensive experience in advising global insurers in developing and implementing comprehensive business and technology strategies to achieve differentiated market performance. Patrick has held leadership positions at leading insurance companies as well as multinational consulting firms, where he led consulting initiatives for business transformation, organizational change management, and business and IT strategy.