It is midsummer, just past July 4th and Bastille Day, but not yet into the traditional August holiday season. While the pace rarely slows in our business, it’s sometimes possible – and definitely desirable – to take a few minutes at mid-year to ponder the “big picture.”
One thing that insurers should be thinking about – especially as they make investment plans for 2016 – is the “why” as well as the “what” and the “how much” of major systems projects. Sometimes the focus is on making existing processes more efficient, when the focus should be on establishing different processes altogether.
We find that an excellent guiding principle for these planning discussions is to keep bringing the focus back to the customer. Will technology investments under consideration improve the customer experience? Will such investments make it easier or faster for agents and brokers to access the information they need to respond to customer inquiries?
Resources are always limited, and there is never enough funding for all the projects that might be undertaken. But some big customer-oriented priorities we have been talking about include:
- Making sure that agents, claims processing team members, and contact or customer care centers have the same 360-degree view of the customer, so that they can provide information when it’s needed;
- Making sure that customers receive communications and data through digital channels, including (and especially) through mobile devices and smart phones, in formats that are free of cumbersome PDF attachments and other non-mobile-friendly features; and
- Making sure that social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter are effectively monitored for signs of customer dissatisfaction. As many insurers have learned, unhappy customers can be very influential on social media, and competitors are more than willing to listen.
Thinking about the big picture is an excellent midsummer and mid-year exercise. With the “why” in mind, it’s much easier to proceed with the discussions about which technologies to implement, in which order of priority, with the management and financial resources available.