Group Insurance Obstacles: Best-in-Class Strategies For Avoiding Poor Digital Customer Experience
A good friend of mine from my undergraduate days describes himself on his social media accounts in a rather distinctive way: “Just an analog guy in a digital world.” Without getting into a lesson about the evolution of technology, much less my friend’s age, the fact is that we are all living in a digital world, with digital technology a ubiquitous part of our lives. In this new world, consumers have developed increasingly high expectations for the digital customer experience they receive from companies, due to the handful that have set a very high bar. Group insurance companies have recognized this and have therefore doubled down on the focus and budgets they allocate to their digital customer experience, knowing that those with poor digital customer experience put their businesses’ futures at risk.
Although insurers with leading digital customer experiences vary by size and target market, the one thing they have in common is that they focus their entire platform — including their philosophies, ethos, business model, people, culture, processes, and technologies — on the delivery of value to their customers through digital services and compelling experiences.i They do this through several best-in-class strategies. By implementing them, these companies show that they understand how a leading digital customer experience makes for good business, and that good business in a digital world can ensure loyal customers and consistent, long-term growth.
Not surprisingly, group insurers with leading digital customer experiences have a clear understanding of their product’s value proposition. They know their product’s worth in their marketplace, can easily articulate its strengths and differentiators, and will not hesitate to further test and repeatedly adjust their value-based hypotheses.ii These insurers also recognize that a strong digital customer experience to support that value proposition is critical. Together, these two elements make for proven customer loyalty, greater cross selling, up-selling, and lifetime value measures.iii
Insurers with leading digital customer experience also recognize the power of partnerships and affiliate marketing. A network with greater digital reach results in a larger platform for product education and promotion and can help build trust in the expanded marketing ecosystem.iv This trust can also translate into new customers, which in turn yields new customer data; perhaps the element necessary for developing a best-in-class digital customer experience. With more customer data comes more potential insights into customers’ digital buying habits, likes, dislikes, and the subsequent larger patterns that insurers can use to develop strategies for better customer engagement.
But valuable data shouldn’t live in a silo. As such, insurers need to have this data and its mined insights available for all company members to study to develop greater digital engagement strategies. Some insurers have taken this one step further and have created a position, or larger department, responsible for curating this information and building on it through focus groups, surveys, and other methods to develop actionable strategies. Ideally, these strategies result in more initiatives. Companies with leading digital customer experience often have many potential initiatives under development simultaneously and use a “test, learn, and move on” process to manage their portfolio of ideas.v
The Technology Foundation
It goes without saying that companies with leading digital customer experience leverage advanced technology to serve as a state-of-the art foundation. Straight-through processing, native configurability, as well as natural language processing, with embedded ML/AI technology, robust APIs, and data pre-fill capabilities, are all a part of the critical technology for internal and external participants.vi
As today’s modern digital ecosystem continues to evolve, customers’ heightened digital customer experience expectations will keep pace. Group insurers with leading digital customer service know that to retain their leading edge, they need to continue with the best-in-class strategies that have served them well. A comprehensive understanding of their product’s value proposition, a network of partnerships for affiliate marketing strategies, a constant stream of customer data, leading to actionable insights for greater client engagement, and a next-generation technology infrastructure will keep these companies in good stead for years to come. Although digital remains only one part of the spectrum of customer experience, forward-thinking insurers know that it is one of, if not the, most important component requiring their attention, dedicated efforts, and long-term investment.
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[i] “Beyond the Use Case: Best-in-Class Digital Insurance, An Industry Review,” Dan McCoach and Karlyn Carnahan, Celent, pg. 1
[ii] Ibid, pg. 5
[iv] Ibid, pg. 11
[v] Ibid, pg. 25
[vi] Ibid, pg. 20