7 benefits of digital data intake journeys for customer data collection in insurance
Traditional insurance providers often struggle with the question of whether or not it’s worth investing in digital intake processes that prevent inconvenient waits and paperwork hassles for customers. Do customers really prefer digital data intake to physical paper and PDFs? And even if they do, does going digital for intake really translate to business value? The answer is a resounding yes. Let’s look at some of the multiple benefits for both the customer and the company that you can expect to see when collecting data digitally via user-friendly digital journeys.
1. Meet customer expectations
Busy consumers don’t have time to sit on hold waiting for a customer service rep to answer a query. Whether they’re planning a trip and need travel insurance, or looking to buy a new car or home that they want to insure, they expect answers or services whenever and wherever they need them.
That’s because Gen Y and Zers, often called “digital natives”, are used to conducting a significant portion of their lives online. Whether it's socializing on social media, online shopping, or mobile banking, online channels are generally their default preference for whatever they need to get done. Older generations were more hesitant initially, but the social distancing requirements during the past two years have pushed even the most reluctant consumers online.
Consumer behavior is fairly consistent, and customers who are used to doing their business online expect their insurers to be available on the same channels they use for interacting with other businesses, such as websites, online chats, and even social media.
[.emph]Meeting their expectations is important because if one insurer isn’t accessible on their preferred channels, they will simply transfer to another insurer that is. [.emph]
2. Provide a better customer experience
When you’re always on the go, printing, signing, scanning, and uploading PDF forms can be extremely inconvenient and burdensome, especially for digital natives. When you can do most other things directly on your phone, physically printing a form—even a PDF that needs to be signed—seems like a relic from another era.
Digital customer intake turns that experience on its head. Forms can be integrated into a digital journey and completed easily, from anywhere and any device—no cumbersome printing required. Friction is reduced, allowing customers to begin their journey on the right foot.
Moreover, many customers today prefer self-service online insurance options when they’re available. Digital intake processes support self-service processes making them streamlined and intuitive. When digital intake processes are supplemented with other user-friendly elements like plain language policies, customers can sail through any process quickly and easily.
3. Improve the accuracy of data collection
Manual processes are inherently error-prone. Whether you’re filling out physical forms or entering data into a PDF, mistakes—from typos to misunderstanding the requirement to other errors—are bound to happen. And when a customer makes a mistake on a paper or PDF form, there is no way to catch and correct it in real time—it’s only discovered when there is a problem somewhere down the line.
Let’s look at a simple, yet extremely common form field like a customer’s home address. When a customer enters his or her address on a paper or PDF form, there is no way to verify that it has been entered according to post office classifications. If it was entered differently, the problem will only be discovered at a later stage, leading to delays in the process and a poor customer experience.
With digital intake, there are no delays because customer information is verified in real time. Since the forms are interactive, if a customer tries to enter inaccurate information such as an address, the entry won’t be accepted. Instead, the form will suggest other likely possibilities that the customer can use to identify the correct option.
4. Reduce processing costs
Manual forms can be extremely expensive to process, leading to high operational costs. Each form needs to be recorded and filed, and then the data it contains needs to be manually entered or scanned through various e-readers before it can be entered into organizational systems. Those processes require time and effort that translate into significant costs.
In fact, data from McKinsey clients indicates that companies can recover and redeploy as much as 35 percent of their data spend with better data management, including through digital customer intake. That translates into major savings over time.
5. Boost policyholder satisfaction
First impressions are everything, and there’s no way to make a better impression on new customers happier than quick, frictionless intake process. Even if there are glitches somewhere along the line, customers are more likely to remain loyal to the company if their initial impression during intake was positive.
The same is true if the customer is interested in purchasing additional products or services. When the forms customers need for the new offering are similarly accessible and pre-filled with all the information the insurance provider already has on the customer, filling in the missing material is a cinch. Customers can access what they need easily and are more likely to be satisfied with their providers.
6. Improve completion rates
We’ve mentioned how frustrating and cumbersome manual forms can be. And when customers get frustrated, they often give up and don’t complete the form at all. In fact, the average form abandonment rate in insurance is around 80%.
[.emph]the average form abandonment rate in insurance[.emph]
Digital forms reduce the chance of that happening. Digital intake journeys collect customer data through interactive steps that include helpful instructions reduce customer frustration and raise the chances that the customer will actually complete the form. Features like auto-fill make data intake faster and more efficient, further reducing customer frustration. Even more importantly, digital intake processes are not one-size-fits-all. Since they are interactive, they can dynamically adjust to customer input, further improving the completion rates.
7. Increase sales and customer loyalty
The first sale is only the beginning of a customer’s relationship with a company. Most companies, insurance providers included, would be wise to consider the entire customer lifetime value (CLV) beginning with that first sale, rather than looking at it as an isolated event.
Numerous studies have shown that it is much more expensive to attract a new customer than to sell new products to an existing one, which is why customer retention has become such a significant field. However, like most things, it has to be done right to be effective—if it feels to “sales-y” customers may become annoyed and decide to jump ship.
Digital forms are an important part of a positive dynamic in customer retention marketing. If a customer is offered a relevant new product, and the forms are already pre-filled with data he or she has provided in other intake processes, the new process is much easier and more accessible. As such, the customer is more likely to buy the new product or service.
Transitioning to digital data intake is easier than ever
The benefits are so significant that there is no question that digital data intake makes business sense for insurance providers. Luckily, with no-code platforms like EasySend, it’s easier than ever to implement.
EasySend transforms any customer data and signature intake process into an interactive, digital experience without tech or coding expertise. Organizations can streamline customer interactions, improve customer experience, and ensure data accuracy quickly and easily. Even better, with EasySend, data is available across channels and seamlessly integrates into internal systems and processes.