The digital insurance experience is giving a whole new meaning to that clichéd but true motto, “The customer is always right.”

Today we talk endlessly about the “customer experience,” and how the use of digital technology is supposed to improve it. And it’s true: businesses that truly understand and implement digital technology across their organizations can provide their customers with unparalleled service with a highly personal touch. But too many carriers apply this thinking only to enhancing their products and services, and their channels and marketing, in an attempt to give their customers something better.

That’s not enough for today’s consumers. Empowered by the digital world, they’re smarter than ever: researching, shopping and cost-comparing like never before, using tools like mobility and social media. This new empowerment creates customers who are more likely to switch insurers if better products, service, personalization and yes, price, can be found elsewhere.

Instead of the traditional “inside-out” or organization-centric approach to product development, insurers today need to be asking questions like, “What does the consumer really want? What do they value? What can I offer them that will make a real difference to them?”

And insurers need to be prepared to sometimes hear answers they might not like. When you take an “outside-in” approach to customer service, it can shine a harsh light on your product offerings, your capabilities, even your organization structure. But it’s indispensable if you want to develop a growth plan based on actually serving your customers.

Accenture’s recent Claims Customer Survey found that 30 percent of insurance customers are likely to defect from at least one of their insurers in the next 12 months. Our Consumer-Driven Innovation Survey shows that 80 percent of customers find personalized products and services an important factor in selecting a new provider.

The good news? You can be that new provider by shifting your business focus from inside-out to outside-in. This is the true essence of the customer experience, the crucial component of a digital business strategy aimed at achieving growth.

You can learn more about how to become a digital disrupter by downloading The Accenture Innovation Survey and customizing the survey data with your preferences with our interactive data tool. You can also follow my series of videos on YouTube, and my Twitter feed @JohnMCusano.

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