How Group Insurers Can Achieve Successful Digital Engagement
When today’s consumers consider which companies set the gold standard for powerful digital engagement, they most likely think of e-commerce juggernauts like Amazon and Google. By placing consumers at the center of the digital ecosystem through robust personalization, these giants make highly customized, omnichannel engagement possible. But this type of enhanced consumer interaction no longer belongs only to the unicorns; many group insurers wisely used the pandemic as an opportunity to modernize their digital user experiences by investing in advanced core systems to support tailored customer journeys. Coupled with important organizational strategy and decisive leadership, group insurers have been able to build the infrastructure for the powerful digital engagement that today’s discerning customers have come to expect.
The Ingredients for Group Insurers’ Success – Personalization and Omnichannel
When executed correctly, a personalized digital experience can lead to quick, clearly defined interaction, which ensures that the customer gets the most suitable product, advice, or answer. This tailored and seamless process is what provides the most value.
- Clear navigation and assistance throughout the online experience, in individual fields and processes;
- A clearly defined overview of any process steps, instead of an open-ended form; and
- Tailored pricing for any specific insurance product.
Currently, most group insurers are operating in a “multichannel” environment, which enables customer journeys across different communication channels. With omnichannel, those same channels exist, but focus on the customer in a unified, seamless, and continuous experience without any interruption, such as switching from an online experience to a phone call. Few insurers today have a seamless, sophisticated omnichannel experience, although many have it as a high priority in their near-term technical goals.
The Powerful Digital Engagement Roadmap
With the essentials for powerful digital engagement defined, what tools can insurers use to achieve this goal? Mainly, two distinct elements: personas and a journey orientation.
The value of personas is that they bring personalization to life; instead of multiple, intangible, and generalized customer characteristics, personas actualize customer segments. Once personas are established, it is important for insurers to cultivate on-demand advisors for different viewpoints and perspectives. Engaging with executives on goals for the personas is also key, for overall organizational awareness. Lastly, it is essential to systemically leverage this feedback for technical projects. From ideation, design, and test, until solution distribution, this feedback is incredibly valuable to establish benchmarks and determine performance and success rates.
A Journey Orientation
Another guidepost on the digital engagement roadmap is optimizing the customer journey, which can be accomplished by plotting multiple transactions. Since channel switching happens, it is also important to anticipate it: Are your customer service representatives prepared? Can they see customers’ progress to date before the switch? To do so, it is best to lean into advice and education, to move from transactional self-service to more broad support of the customer journey. Are the best advisory tools in the flow of self-help transactions, and do customer service representatives have access to them as they work with customers?
A Technical Foundation for Group Insurers’ Success
A strong technical foundation is a must, namely a digital platform that supports digitalization and omnichannel. For best results, a strong platform is comprised of six critical pieces:
- The administration engine. The core administration engine must be the system of record and source not only for data, but also for business logic. To ensure a strong core system, an API-first orientation is required to unlock ecosystems of technology providers, which is critical.
- Distinctive experiences. Digital experiences must be responsive and adaptive. It is important that digital experiences are contextually relevant and persona-appropriate to enable personalization.
- Data and analytics. The ideal setup is a data lake with first-party data and real-time third-party data. A data lake should be leveraged to provide insights to stakeholders including “what-if” insights from traditional, AI, and Machine Learning.
- Automation. Insurers should be able to drive workflows for all their personas, leveraging analytics and straight-through processing that enables the automation of best practices.
- Customer journeys. Consumers should be omnichannel enabled and have rich analytics that allow for test-and-learn methodologies to improve the overall core solution.
- Cloud/SAS. Insurers can experience zero to low downtime, as well as reliable, secure, and consistent updates, rather than on-prem infrastructure that can be costly and very quickly outmoded.
The final pillar to support powerful digital engagement is the organization, which ideally maintains an agile orientation and focused leadership.
Inherent in agile orientation should be an “MVP (minimum viable product) Prioritization,” where the MVP is always top of mind. Companies need to be extremely focused on always cutting scope whenever possible. They should also understand value drivers and optimize, knowing that it is perfectly acceptable to leave certain processes manual; sometimes complete automation can be a pathway to failure.
A foundational element of focused leadership should be strategic prioritization, from the key segments served, key journeys, critical technical investments, and scope of the MVP. Initiatives should commence with goals and priorities to guide the team.
The personalization, customer experience, and powerful digital engagement that today’s e-commerce behemoths provide have set a high standard for most group insurers to meet. With personalization and omnichannel, supported by customer personas, a journey orientation, and a strong technical and organizational foundation, group insurers can now achieve the powerful digital engagement to empower its customers and to maximize their own success.
For the accompanying “The Ingredients for Powerful Digital Engagement,” webinar, click here.