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Customer Experience for Insurance Providers Requires a Human Touch

Written by Alida

Published July 22, 2021

Eighty-five percent of insurers are deploying customer experience (CX) initiatives throughout the customer journey, according to an IBM study. Yet, 42% don’t fully trust their insurer. So, why aren’t current CX efforts building trust? They aren’t sufficiently demonstrating that they understand their customers. 

As a CX leader, it’s time to think about how you can incorporate the human touch into your organization. The human touch is about showing that there are real people behind the brand and the digital tools who recognize the customer as a person, not just a number. It’s also about truly understanding customer needs and proactively designing experiences based on their feedback. 

Here are four things you need in order to transform digital experiences into human connections.


1. Buy-in for an enterprise-wide CX strategy

With heightened competition and product commoditization, CX is the new battleground in insurance. Yet, 60% of insurance executives agree their organization is lacking CX strategy. IDC states that CX is the second most important priority for the C-Suite. If it isn’t a top priority already, work to make it one. Successful CX programs need boardroom visibility. 

Once your leadership team is on board, make it an organization-wide priority. Create a CX vision and strategy underpinned by tangible business outcomes, such as improved net promoter score and increased customer lifetime value. Equally important, communicate your CX program to employees, contracted agents and brokers, partners, and customers. To leapfrog competition, it’s going to take a bold CX vision. 


2. Continuous feedback from consumers 

Listening is a key element of curiosity. What do customers think about the new chatbot you introduced, enhancements to your claims process, customer support staff, or the overall experience? You can find answers by making customer feedback part of your day-to-day process. 

Embed listening posts across your digital channels—website, customer portal, mobile apps, and social platforms—to seek in-the-moment feedback as customers and potential customers interact with your brand. This approach helps you garner broad feedback and identify patterns on topics you and your customers care about. You also develop a better understanding of your digital audiences in the process. 

A related strategy is to establish and nurture a digital insight community of customers that gives you deeper insight into preferences, motivations, and behaviors. 

AIA Singapore shifted from a slow and expensive traditional research method to a digital insight community that gave them the ability to engage customers repeatedly over time. It allowed them to understand “why” their customers make the choices they do and the factors that influence future financial decisions. 

Competitors can easily replicate digital channels such as a website or mobile app. However, experiences that you design based on deep understanding of customers are not just hard to imitate but also move the needle for your business.


3. Action that demonstrates empathy for customers 

Customers interact with you through multiple digital channels and along nonlinear paths—a stark difference from the decades-old agent-driven model. A customer journey mapping exercise is one way to introduce enterprise-wide empathy that helps you and the teams walk in the customer’s shoes. You can identify areas of friction (for customers and agents), gain alignment across functions, and build consensus on how to address problems and opportunities to design improved experiences. You’re better positioned to provide enhanced omnichannel experiences that empathize with customers and offer improved flexibility. 

Manulife Singapore, as an example, leveraged the concept of customer journey mapping to move away from “we think we know what our customers want” to an outside-in approach, putting the customer first. They saw a 15 points improvement in their Net Promoter Score.

A closed feedback loop program is another strategy to make empathy inherent in your organization. With rapid customer adoption of digital channels, you still want human intervention when things don’t go right. Make it easy for customers to provide feedback. 

More importantly, you need a way to gauge hundreds and thousands of customer feedback incidents and follow up on those that demand action. Follow up action helps you quickly rectify negative customer experiences and prevent customer churn. You can also underscore positive experiences to boost customer and agent loyalty. Ultimately, great CX is about making your customers feel heard and valued. 


4. Honest communication 

Honest communication brings your brand values to life. In the customer journey, policy selection, claims and billing stand out as key moments of truth. Customers appreciate transparency during these phases, while agents seek efficiency. Give customers and agents easy access to information they need. Consistency across communication channels drives customer confidence and trust. 

Measuring program results, comparing progress against stated goals, and transparently sharing results with your stakeholders (even if you have areas to improve on) also builds trust among employees and customers. 


Bring it all together

Realizing the human touch in the age of digital insurance involves understanding what’s truly important to people. CX is not just the act of transforming from paper-based processes to digital. Neither is it only about product features. It’s about understanding the whys behind the whats, about your customer truths, and putting them into action. 

The human touch creates a competitive advantage for your business. 

We can help you excel in these four areas and build a CX program that will set your business apart. Learn how Insular Life kickstarted their CX journey in this webinar hosted by Forrester CX APAC.