In our latest Technology Vision report, we found that large companies are leveraging their capital and resources to embrace digital in unique and innovative ways. While there are many benefits to becoming a more digital insurer, the ability to shift from a product-focused to a customer-centric insurer is one of the most valuable.

From Digitally Disrupted to Digital Disrupter
Read the report.

Becoming customer-centric goes far beyond tailored e-mail campaigns or friendlier customer service representatives. It means that a deep and granular understanding of the carrier’s different customers and their needs consistently drives key decisions and actions throughout the organization every single day.

Perhaps no company represents this ideal better than Disney. Already a leader in providing a superior customer experience at its parks, the company is introducing a wireless tracking wristband to enhance the guest experience. This MagicBand will not only reduce waiting times for rides, it will allow customers to “touch to pay” for dining and merchandise. Customers can also preorder food, which is prepared as soon as they arrive at the desired restaurant. Through the bands, Disney captures a comprehensive record of the customer’s visit, allowing the company to gather additional data about customer behavior and preferences so that future visits and offerings can be tailored even more effectively. Finally, Disney uses this information to provide customers with a storybook of their journey once they leave the park.

It is this level of personalization and sophisticated use of data that customers are demanding from their insurers. Indeed, Accenture found that 80 percent of customers are willing to switch insurers for more personalized services. Customers have embraced the new digital ways of shopping and performing self-service. However, they want the consultative advice provided by agents and customer service representatives to be integrated with their digital experience in real-time. In addition, Accenture found that the majority of consumers are open to provide usage or behavioral information in exchange for more personalized products. Taking that trend further, consumers between the ages of 18-34 are even willing to pay a premium of 8.5 percent on average to receive these benefits.

Marketing as a digital leader

When backed by a robust technological infrastructure and data supply chain, marketing should be well equipped to drive this level of personalization throughout the policy lifecycle. This means that marketing can now incorporate data from every touch point from any channel into the data supply chain to create a more holistic picture of a customer. It can then enrich that information with data from outside sources to form a more complete picture of that customer’s situation and needs. That knowledge changes dynamically as further data is gathered, customer reactions are recorded and future behaviors are predicted.

The digital marketer has the opportunity to interact more frequently with customers, understand their reactions in real-time and realign their strategies accordingly. As a customer’s behavior changes or as upcoming life events are predicted, marketers can further align offerings and services to that customer’s needs.

Multiple touch points are critical

Traditionally, many insurers have two main touch points with their customers. These are the point at which the consumer makes contact with the insurer and purchases a policy and the point of policy renewal. Unless a claim is filed, consumers have little reason to think of their insurer until their policy is about to expire. This strategy does little to build brand loyalty.

Instead, insurers need to create multiple, interactive touch points throughout the policy lifecycle. These activities can include additional offers based on behavioral changes such as shopping for a new car or taking up boating. They can also be triggered by predicted life events such as a household member soon becoming old enough to drive or leaving for college. Touch points should go beyond offerings, however, to provide insight that is relevant to each customer. By tapping into the data supply chain or accessing behavioral information, insurers should be able to deliver unique insights that the customer finds applicable to their own situation.

Insurers can capture further information about a customer’s preference through more interactive marketing methods such as using in-ad surveys. These surveys allow marketers to determine not only if an advertisement appealed to a customer, but also why. That information can be fed back into the data supply chain, enriching the view of the consumer and allowing more targeted offerings or services to be quickly offered at the next touch point.

To reach customers effectively, insurers must have an omni-channel presence that incorporates the Web, mobile, video and social media. Users expect to be able to access content in the right display format regardless of the device they are using at the moment. These capabilities should be extended to agents as well so that the company consistently provides a high quality, personalized brand experience to the customer.

Advancements in digital marketing are ongoing and will continue to become more sophisticated as organizations learn how to better acquire, manage and apply data. For insurers, the time to embrace a customer-centric business powered by digital marketing is now. Customers are demanding more personalization. Those insurers that can meet that demand across all channels will start to look at the switching problem as a phenomenal opportunity.

Join me next week when I will outline how softening boundaries and the proliferation of apps is driving interactive marketing to an unprecedented level.

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