Insurance CMOs must enhance the customer experience

Some 74 percent of insurance marketers interviewed for the 2014 Accenture Interactive CMO Insights survey say it is essential or very important for their company to deliver an effective customer experience, but only 64 percent think they’re doing a good job.

Many of their customers are similarly critical. Less than 33 percent of those surveyed in the 2013 Accenture Consumer-Driven Innovation (CDI) study rate the services that insurers provide via smartphones as excellent, and less than 40 percent say the same about their tablet services. The clincher is that 40 percent of personal-lines P&C customers are “very” or “somewhat likely” to switch providers “in the next 12 months”, while 35 percent of life customers are likely to take out a new policy with a new provider.

The CMO Insights survey—which includes a sample of life and P&C insurers—shows that insurance marketing executives recognize the improvement of customer retention and loyalty as their most critical business issue.

Eighty-four percent agree that this is “extremely important” or “very important”. This finding is unsurprising in the light of customers’ propensity to switch.

Despite this background, the CMO survey paints a picture of insurance CMOs who are not keeping pace with market and technology trends that demand they take a new approach to the customer experience.

For example, the CDI survey highlights the shopping, switching and technology usage behavior of the younger consumer generation as both a significant challenge and an opportunity for insurance marketers. Yet insurance CMOs rank “responding to shifting consumer demographics” relatively low on their list of business priorities.

Likewise, insurance CMOs seem to be treading water when it comes to leveraging social media as a digital channel, especially considering that 48 percent of insurance customers in the CDI survey said they rely on social media comments when buying insurance.

Furthermore, only 49 percent of insurance CMOs feel they are using mobile effectively, despite the fact that 46 percent and 37 percent of customers are already interacting with their insurance providers using tablets and mobile phones, respectively.

Insurance CMOs could do more to take command of the opportunities to delight customers and drive superior business outcomes using digital channels. This is a digital transformation that requires an outside-in or customer-focused orientation. A good place to start is to identify customer needs and expectations that are not being met.

My colleague, Jean-François Gasc, has also been exploring this research in some blog posts. Read his thoughts here.

Explore the data with our interactive data tool and, for more information, register to download: CMOs: Time for digital transformation.

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