By: Wimpie van Der Merwe (CEO, Global Choices)
Companies often struggle across digital channels because they are not sufficiently informed of the real needs and preferences of customers across the omnichannel journeys they create. Technology is transforming our world rapidly and is revolutionising our working environments, creating new and exciting opportunities for companies and society as our physical, digital and biological worlds merge.
These ever-evolving changes cause the blurring of lines between humans and technology, which is causing new underlying frustrations, anger, stresses and uncertainty. Customers now have an unprecedented number of ways to engage with companies, from traditional methods to a choice of digital channels.
A total omnichannel transformation strategy is required to address rising complexity, to create an excellent customer experience and customer care, and to manage operational costs.
What really matters to customers
Companies across industries are adopting a more customer-centric posture and re-evaluating their customer care strategies. While care has traditionally been viewed purely as a cost centre it is apparent that customer interactions and experiences are key in shaping customer impressions of the insurance company and its products or services. Today’s customers are omnichannel and they want seamless transitions and a consistent experience from one channel to the next. They want customer care functions that can excel at:
- Empathy is a vital component of customer care and it is even more important in insurance. A lack of empathy can be found across the industry as it is easier to focus on the numbers than on people. Customers want to be treated well throughout their lifecycle relationship with an insurer and with every interaction across your omnichannel
- Loyalty- It costs more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. Insurers must create value at each renewal as renewals can be regarded as poor value for customers. Insurers should be focused on building a two-way loyalty relationship with their clients.
- Insurance products that add value to the customer’s life- Insurers should be able to illustrate the value in any insurance product from the customer’s perspective. If they can’t – it’s probably not a good product.
- Responsiveness- Customers want immediate care and assistance from their insurance company when they just experienced a risk event. They want the confidence and confidence that their risk event will be taken care of from the emergency event to the claim’s resolution- service guaranteed.
- Clarity of pricing – Customer want to know where their money is going and what additional value insurers are creating for them in exchange for an increased premium. They want a clear understanding what they are intitled to. The key is to facilitate customers to connect to their future selves and make the impact of their decisions tangible to them to drive informed decision making.
Optimise the end-to-end customer journey and care
A major customer perception is that the insurance industry players engage with them in a siloed manner- selling them individual product lines or solutions, driven by remuneration structures, and not addressing their holistic needs. Today’s customers are increasingly expecting a more meaningful and diverse value proposition and trusted relationship. They are looking for a partnership to assist them or advise them to achieve their personal objectives and protection.
These trends all conspire to make omnichannel customer care more challenging and complicated. Live agents are not going away as they are important for more complex interactions with customers. Digital channels are invaluable if executed and integrated correctly but can create issues that increase demand for live agents when poorly managed. Your omnichannel transformation require that each channel is optimised for each customer interaction that can vary significantly by customer type. To achieve that companies must seek to understand what really matters to customers for an effective strategy that requires an in-depth understanding of what customers truly want.
Customer preferences require omnichannel transformation
The push to omnichannel emanates from the evolution of customer preferences and needs as more digital channels emerge. As customers become more integrated with technology and their comfort with digital channels evolve, they will still require live agents’ interactions especially the older generation . If insurers are truly committed to customer journeys and build capabilities, to provide seamless services, and have a single view of the customer across the different channels, they will be in a create position to delight their customers for years to come.