In the coming years, everything that can be digitized will be digitized. But there’s one thing that can‘t be digitized: The customer. To make the most of their digital investments – and avoid the ‘digital tipping point’ – insurers need to make customer experiences more, not less, human.

Here are three methods insurers can utilize to reclaim the customer experience in a digital age.

Identify the tipping point

Somewhere along the digitization spectrum lies the point at which the number (or, more correctly, the value) of customers who welcome the convenience and cost-efficiency of digital engagement is exceeded by those who feel alienated by its impersonality.

This ‘digital tipping point’ is different for every insurance carrier. It is located by comparing the value the insurer derives from digital with the costs of retaining and winning back customers who insist on a degree of human interaction.

A recent cross-industry study commissioned by Accenture Interactive found that 56 percent of digital experience decision-makers are planning to assess the impact of digital on the customer experience. Trends in customer loyalty, affinity and advocacy are good indicators of the current and projected health of an insurer’s relationships. And tools such as Accenture’s Digital Intensity Index can gauge customers’ digital proclivities. Together, measures of loyalty and digital intensity can help insurance companies understand whether their digital investments are creating satisfying experiences, and where to place their bets moving forward.

Every customer is a digital customer, each one with a different intensity and speed:

Every customer is a digital customer each one with a different intensity and speed

 

Re-think their engagement strategies

Before they can fully deliver differentiated experiences that customers find relevant and engaging, insurers need to look broadly at the current state of consumerism. Digital has caused the linear path to purchase to be replaced with a highly fluid and always-on shopping experience. Customers’ intentions, and the context in which they find themselves, dictate their channel preference at any given time.

In this new world, an insurer’s over-reliance on a particular interaction channel can backfire. What’s needed is a mix of digital and human experiences that realize the maximum lifetime value of the customers who are targeted. Insurers that build agile connection strategies that cross channel boundaries will not only be able to keep pace with the customer evolution, but also enable customers to engage via their preferred channel – and seamlessly switch to another channel if and when they desire.

 

Balance digital with human (or human-like) connections

Digital plays an important role in building enduring customer relationships. But so does the human touch. There are several ways insurers can be more personal:

  • Interacting with customers on social media and through apps on connected devices;
  • Providing content that is relevant to the customer and available on the channels that he or she uses;
  • Encouraging customer collaboration to provide input on product design and features;
  • Optimizing agent and customer-facing employee training to put an emphasis on the customer.

This last point must be a particular focus. Agents need to complement and be better integrated with the digital channels by providing customers with personalized advice and insight, cross-selling a wide range of products, and building deeper relationships with customers.

By incorporating these three key strategies, insurers can continue to make the most of their digital investments while keeping the loyalty of their most profitable customers.

To learn more, register to download the report: Digital Disconnect in Customer Engagement

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