Insurers have long recognized that customer data is their most valuable asset. In today’s digital world marked by an explosion of data and data sources this is truer than ever, but with ultimately different objectives. Where the value of customer data was once measured by its usefulness in selling a product, today its value stems from how it is used to improve customer engagement across all digital and traditional channels.
The insurance industry is changing at a rapid pace. An aging population and fewer new customers create intense competition, making growth more difficult and pressuring margins. A younger generation of empowered customers, accustomed to Amazon-level service with every interaction, demand seamless and instant information across every touchpoint. Also, commoditization is making it more difficult for insurers to compete on the attributes of their products and services.
Instead, customer experience is emerging as a key brand differentiator; consumers might not easily differentiate policy small print, but they can quickly ascertain whether the way they’ve been treated matches their expectations. For the insurance marketing organization, creating a customer experience to match those evolving expectations becomes a market imperative. Creating a hyper-relevant, personal experience for the customer across all engagement channels is the key to competing in a digital world.
It’s All About Data
Insurers are taking note of the digital imperative to become closer to their customers. This can be seen in their investments. A Forrester Global CX Industry report notes that 52 percent of insurers are investing in technologies that will help them understand customer behavior across channels and devices, and 38 percent are devoting resources to increase or enhance customer engagement, education, or loyalty. The business case for this type of expenditure is clear. Experian shows that contextually relevant messages can result in up to seven times higher conversion rates.
So, what’s the holdup? As marketing professionals will attest, optimizing customer experience is easier said than done. The issue is data. Or, more specifically, bringing all customer data together and using it to formulate a deep understanding of a customer. And it’s not just the traditional 360-degree view of the customer, compiled from information such as years to retirement, age and number of kids, occupation code data, and make and model of vehicles, among other attributes. A next-generation 720-degree view of the customer is needed that includes non-structured data that captures every customer interaction, social media comments, Internet of Things (IoT) data and other touchpoint information. The goal is to know everything there is to know about a customer and their household relationships.
An Omnichannel Experience
Changes to customer journey mapping reflect marketing’s effort to provide engagement touchpoints that align with customer expectations. Static, linear mapping is falling by the wayside because customers are not responding to unsegmented marketing initiatives. Customer journey mapping is evolving to an almost spontaneous omnichannel experience that is shaped in real time, based on fluid interactions, and enabled with machine learning capabilities.
According to a recent study from CMO Council sponsored by RedPoint Global, a lack of systems that leverage real-time data was identified as the biggest gap between strategy and execution for marketers in optimizing the customer experience. A customer data platform that leverages those systems is the key to creating hyper-personalized engagements and power a seamless, omnichannel customer experience. Business benefits for insurers include the ability to combine customer channels, optimize call center workloads, use telematics data to derive prescriptive and predictive value, and utilize social media to introduce new products and services.
Real-time, synchronous interactions is the future of customer-facing insurance, powered by data, analytics, and omnichannel orchestration that together provide insurance marketing organizations with the ability to engage in a personalized and contextually relevant manner with every customer across all touchpoints.
I will cover the topic of connected insurance in greater depth as a speaker at the Connected Insurance USA Summit, Nov. 28-30 in Chicago. You can find me and the RedPoint Global team at booth #11, and watch a replay of my webinar presentation, “Hyper-Personalization in Insurance: The Key to Competing in a Digital World” here.