6 ways insurers can quickly spin up remote servicing capability during the COVID-19 crisis
As Robert Burns wrote, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” And 2020 is proof of that statement.
Companies started the year with plans such as:
- Ways to grow the business
- Projects for digital transformation
- Strategies for improving customer experiences
Whatever those 2020 plans were, they are of little use now. How companies did business in January of this year is not how they will be doing business for the foreseeable future. Given that 25% of the world’s population is under some form of lockdown due to COVID-19 restrictions, most business will be conducted through digital channels.
Is the insurance industry prepared to operate in a digital world? According to Forrester Research, the industry’s customer experience is marginal at best. It ranks lowest in 15 out of the 19 categories surveyed. Clearly, insurers need to work on their customer experience, and for 2020, that means focusing on their digital experience. How can insurers create digital experiences that resonate with their customers?
Focus on customers is still crucial
No market segment is the same. Corporations are concerned with surviving losses and protecting property. Local agencies may be struggling because of limited resources. Individuals may be anxious over health, home, or vehicle coverage. Customers’ personas have changed because their priorities have changed. Before rushing to put “something” out there, rethink customer personas. What do the different market segments need today? What will they need a month or a year from now?
With that information, start creating a superb customer experience. Although circumstances may have changed, customers’ expectations have not. In fact, their tolerance for failed experiences may be less as they struggle with the stress and anxiety of a changing landscape. So what do customers expect?
- About 70% of consumers and 82% of business buyers expect a company to understand their needs. Failure to meet this expectation results in a lowering of brand loyalty.
- Customers expect immediate responses. Real-time responsiveness is important to 64% of consumers and 80% of business buyers.
- Experience consistency is essential to 75% of consumers. Consumers expect their experiences to be the same across multiple channels, with 73% indicating they would switch brands if their expectations were not met.
Insurers must keep these expectations in mind as they move to create an outstanding digital experience.
Strengthen relationships by using digital channels
In December of 20219, Forbes predicted that a top trend for 2020 would be thoughtfulness in business relationships. That prediction could not be more accurate. Making stronger connections isn’t about technology; it is about the psychological and emotional connections that a brand creates. People want to know they matter, which is why understanding customer needs is the number one customer expectation.
Thoughtfulness is part of the softer side of customer experience, which is harder to measure. Yet, customers want to build relationships and make emotional connections. Making those connections is especially important when social interaction is limited. If these links can be established, customers will show more brand loyalty beyond 2020.
Thoughtfulness in business requires a customer-focused culture. Everyone must be dedicated to providing the best experiences for customers. The best way to ensure that happens is to show thoughtfulness within the company. The current environment is an excellent opportunity to show that thoughtfulness.
Support your employees
Just as a customer-focused culture makes for a better customer experience, an employee-focused environment makes for a more productive workplace. Some suggestions for creating a thoughtful workplace include:
- Better meetings. It’s no secret that most employees find meetings to be a waste of time. This attitude may be exacerbated by virtual meetings, especially if employees are new to the technology.
- Shared experiences. Finding ways for employees to connect beyond work creates a sense of community, even if it’s virtual.
- Collaboration. With more remote workers, effective collaboration becomes essential to productivity. Invest in collaborative tools and encourage employees to use them.
If insurers show employees that they matter, employees will show customers that they are valued through remarkable customer experiences. If insurers want customer relationships to last, they need to be thoughtful in their responses.
Build trust by showing you are doing everything possible
Customers want to trust the companies they do business with, but most people question an organization’s trustworthiness. They’ve been disappointed in the past; they don’t want to be in the future. Today, trust is even more critical. How companies respond to the pandemic will determine how people view their trustworthiness. This is especially true of the insurance industry, where people already have high trust expectations.
A 2019 survey on consumer trust found that:
- 60% of people believe tech companies put profit ahead of people
- About 65% of buyers do not trust the companies they buy from
- 41% do not trust a company’s marketing message
That’s especially concerning when 45% of consumers would not buy from a company that was involved in a scandal or behaved unethically. About 40% would never buy from the brand again. It’s crucial that a company be authentic and transparent in its actions if it wants to build trust. As insurers develop their digital experiences, they need to build trust in them.
Use the right technology to support you
If insurers want to create digital experiences that resonate, they need to focus on meeting customer expectations, strengthening relationships, and building trust. They need to find the right tools to deliver exceptional experiences. Although many companies focus on technology in their digital transformations, successful companies understand that technology is what makes the change happen.
Look into no-code platforms
As insurers begin to adjust to the new normal and try to create engaging customer experiences, they need to look to technologies that will allow them to personalize their customer interactions. They have to find ways to make people feel valued. By letting customers know that they are not a number, insurance companies can strengthen relationships using technologies that create agile environments to rapidly deploy new products, services, and information. By leveraging technology such as EasySend‘s no-code platform, insurers can deliver a digital experience that resonates with customers during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.