The generation that grew up with Harry Potter expects magic from their insurers in terms of the customer experience.

The insurance industry has never operated in a vacuum, and this is truer now than ever before. The interconnectedness of today’s world means insurance must not only respond to customer needs, but anticipate those needs even before the customer is aware of them.

The generation weaned on Harry Potter and Amazon is hard to surprise; they expect their customer experiences to be magical. For insurance, this means customer experience design is becoming a key factor to differentiate in a fiercely competitive market.

Fjord, is Accenture’s global service design consultancy, builds innovative digital experiences and services for a wide range of industries. Each year it takes a step back to look at the meta trends in its field – the Fjord Trends 2015 report outlines critical design issues for the coming year.

The big prediction for 2015 is that successful organizations will form connections between services, devices and places, with an eye to minimizing the seams between them. The report uses a single word to sum up its prediction for the year: Ambition. Companies that can truly deliver on this ambition with a phenomenal user experience will become this year’s consumer darlings.

The 2015 Fjord meta themes have huge implications for insurance companies. Over the next five weeks I will be examining each trend and its implications for insurers—and I’ll use real-life examples of what some insurers are doing to match their ambition with delivering a unique user experience.

Trend No. 1: Designing for seamless experiences between physical and digital channels and across devices.

As creatures of the connected world, we toggle between devices as much as we change environments. The gaps between all of these spaces are where the customer experience might be fragmented; Fjord identifies four types of potential gaps:

  • The gap when we lose our bandwidth;
  • When we move between devices;
  • When we’re handed over between different services and channels; and
  • When our digital data has changed and must be updated.

The gap between physical and online spaces is especially challenging for insurers that never thought of themselves as customer-centric tech companies. Users expect a unified brand across all touch points, and therein lies the challenge.

A good example of a business that is minimizing these gaps is Spotify, whose offline mode is especially efficient for users shuttling between online and offline environments.

This is happening on the insurance side as well. Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP) is a simple air travel insurance plan, available online or through a mobile app, that protects against missed connections, delays, lost luggage, and waits on the tarmac, for only $25 per single round-trip flight. Communication and claims take place through the buyer’s mobile device, with real-time flight updates and policy information.

Fjord Trends 2015
Read the report.

To smooth out gaps in the customer experience, Fjord recommends:

  • Including in service blueprinting an analysis of fundamentals like source (and bandwidth) of connectivity and time spent in any given mode.
  • Considering organizational readiness, strategic overview and people in your organization who believe in the cross-channel experience and can see it through. Who minds your gaps?
  • Respecting the cognitive workload for users—the best services respect and remember the user’s input by learning from it over time and not getting digital amnesia.

Next week I will discuss how leading players and insurers are using a customer’s journey to spark new service offerings.

For more information, download the full survey results of the Fjord Trends 2015 study.

 

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