From insurance coverage to companion: becoming the customer’s mobile friend

in Advisory, 26.04.2018

Customers’ expectations of insurers are changing rapidly. They demand swift, direct support no matter where and in what situation they are. Utilizing mobile technology is central to your ability to meet their needs. Are you confident that your mobile-based customer experience is up to the task?

Life is becoming more mobile. Serving your customers instantly – at any point of need and wherever they might be – is no longer a ‘nice to have.’ It is an expectation. Having a mobile policy and payment overview or accident reporting are only the most basic building blocks. Seizing the opportunity involves going much further. This requires a good understanding of your customers’ journey, their needs at any given time, and the ability to provide personal and situation-specific support in their ‘mobile moment.’

The race is on

Quick, easy and to-the-point solutions are the name of the game, as customers are increasingly willing to switch to the supplier who can best help them in a particular situation. no country’s insurers yet have a clear lead in this, the race has begun and the first game changers are not far away, given the initiatives being hotly pursued in the US and Asia in particular. Disruptive new start-ups are making inroads into the market by focusing on niche operations or segments such as quick-to-buy or mobile-only auto insurance. On top of this, the US digital giants are making concerted efforts to move further into financial services. Currently through payment processing, but experience tells us they will not stop there. It is no great leap to find them offering banking and insurance products directly to consumers, supported by a powerful data processing capability. Consider what advantage you could build with the staggering volume of individual customer data and insights that these technology giants possess.

Connecting the dots to create the bigger picture

Swiss insurers have the basics mostly covered. They also have the market reputation, resources and technical platforms to reach the next level. While start-ups can successfully grab parts of the overall process, only the larger insurers can connect the dots and offer combined solutions across insurance types and along the full customer journey to achieve a truly unified, personal customer experience. Not all insurers have the expertise to do this alone, however. Some that lack the in-house knowledge are aiming to do so by collaborating and investing with start-ups to fill the gaps. But even here, only a full integration of these point solutions into a single mobile app experience can deliver the integrated to-the-point personal service that customers demand.

Decisive action required to reach the next frontier

From analysis to action. From point solution to all-round customer experience. Perhaps not to the extent of Apple or Google, but as an insurer you hold extensive data about your customers. The key is to better harness this information to understand the customer’s context at any point in time and to provide the appropriate digital services in response. In particular, it’s time to extend services beyond insurance coverage to providing support for real-life challenges. To help with all aspects of a house move, for example, or safer travel and living, or improving family health, or making car buying safer by providing a fake-proof, blockchain technology-based auto service history.

To get to the next level requires investment in digital capabilities, not only at the shiny front end. A solid back end and customer portal is a necessary basis for creative, truly customer-oriented thinking. It’s about offering convenience. A mobile app is the perfect way to deliver it, anytime and anywhere. And to open up opportunities for upselling and new offerings. For instance, a cellphone will know immediately when it is at an airport or has crossed a border. The trick for the insurer is to get their travel insurance offer in front of the customer as soon as this happens.

The opportunity is huge for insurers who get it right. Being closer to your customer will not only result in enhanced customer loyalty (assuming their experience is positive), but a better understanding of their needs will lead to improved sales chances. But time is running out, and even the best-rated insurer can be passed over if it fails to keep up with competitors to provide a targeted service in the moment of need. Insurers need to embrace change by providing targeted mobile services for all relevant situations, while correctly incentivizing employees to smoothen the customer’s journey between channels. In these times of rapid change, it can be too easy to see technology as a threat. It is not. It is an opportunity to be grasped with both hands.

 

 

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