9 ways to make data collection easy and painless for insurance customers
There aren’t many win-win situations in life, but digital data collection is definitely one of them. There is no question that transitioning to digital data intake saves valuable resources and optimizes processes for insurance providers. But insurers aren’t the only ones who benefit—digital data intake journeys make data collection a breeze for customers as well
However, like most things, digital data intake delivers the most value when it’s done right. We’ve put together a list of nine ways you can optimize digital data intake and make data collection easy and painless for your insurance customers.
1. Make it easy to understand
Traditionally, insurance intake forms were long and complicated, across the board. Most customers couldn’t really navigate them on their own and relied on agents and middlemen to interpret them and protect their interests.
But the days in which complicated industry language added to a company’s prestige are long past, and insurance is no exception. Cross-industry UX influences, together with the rise of insurtech providers and self-service insurance options are driving a clear trend toward using simple language in insurance. That means avoiding jargon-y industry terms in data collection and explaining what you need with the language you would use if you were talking to a friend or family member who isn’t in the insurance industry.
2. Go omnichannel
Customers today expect businesses, including insurance providers, to meet them where they are. Different customers prefer different channels—some gravitating to mobile apps, others to social media, and others to standard websites. Furthermore, individual customers often use multiple channels. In fact, research by McKinsey shows that many consumers, especially younger ones, don’t even think in terms of traditional channel boundaries, but rather evaluate companies by their ability to provide a seamless experience across channels.
That’s why it’s important for insurance providers to have a presence on multiple channels and allow customers to choose the channels that best suit their needs. Transitions from one channel to another should be friction-free, creating omnichannel journeys that customers can start on one channel and complete on another.
3. Keep it to the minimum
The longer a process, the more likely a customer will become frustrated and jump ship. That’s why it’s important to keep every insurance data collection process as short as possible and only ask for what is essential to fulfill a specific request or process an individual claim.
Insurance providers often collect unnecessary information thinking that they might need it in the future. In most cases, that’s a mistake. If additional information is needed for future activities, it can always be added, instead of burdening customers in the early stages. In general, it’s better to break complex processes down into manageable steps—more on that later.
4. Make it personal
Every customer is different, so why should their data collection processes be identical? (Hint—they shouldn’t). Insurance data collection should utilize conditional logic, data collected at earlier stages, and predictive analytics to adjust customer journeys in real time and customize them to the needs and preferences of each customer.
For example, if a customer indicates that he or she is a homeowner, questions related to his or her home should appear. However, if the customer is not a homeowner, there is no need to confuse them by presenting those questions.
5. Follow UX/UI best practices
Insurance data collection should always utilize the best user experience and user interface practices. Those include, but are not limited to:
- Breaking complex processes into small manageable steps: Presenting an entire form at once can overwhelm users and cause them to abandon the process. That’s why it’s usually better to break data collection into smaller sections that the user can complete individually.
- Specifying formats: There are multiple formats for common data fields like dates, phone numbers, and addresses. Don’t assume that customers know what format is required—clearly illustrate what you need and guide them as they fill in each field.
- Making error messages actionable: It’s not enough to let users know that something has gone wrong during the data collection process. In order to prevent frustration, make sure that your error messages also let users know how to fix the problem.
- Designing for mobile-first: Chances are that many of your customers will be filling out forms on a mobile device. Make data collection processes friendly to a small screen, with large buttons and clear labels.
- Letting customers complete forms at their own pace: Customers are busy and often can’t complete an entire process in one sitting. Make sure to include a save feature in data collection processes so they can return to a form without having to start all over again.
6. Make it easy to get support
Even with the best UI and UX, some customers may need additional support. That support can be automated using technology like chatbots, but in other cases, a customer may prefer to interact with a live agent.
When it comes to digital data collection, live agent phone support can be enhanced by offering co-browsing. Co-browsing allows the agent and the customer to share a browser window so they can both see the screen and fill in the form together, preventing misunderstandings and completing processes more efficiently.
7. Respect customer privacy
The relationship between customers and insurers is based on trust, and if that trust is broken, it can be hard to repair. So when customers provide personal, sensitive information, it’s important to assure them that it won’t be shared without their permission.
External actors aren’t the only issue for customer privacy. Even within your company, employees should only be exposed to customer data on a need-to-know basis only to respect customer privacy.
8. Collect and store data securely
Insurance providers hold sensitive customer data that could be very detrimental were it to fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, insurance providers are often targeted by cybercriminals and other bad actors.
That’s why it’s critical that insurance providers collect and store data securely to protect it from unauthorized access or theft. This includes using best practices for digital security and physically securing any on-site data or servers.
9. Train your team
Systems and policies are only effective if they are properly implemented. Insurance providers should always make sure customer service teams are knowledgeable about the company’s data collection and privacy policies so they can support them at all times and assure customers who express concern. Security training should be provided on a regular basis to address new and emerging threats and tactics and prevent unintentional exposure and errors.
These are just some of the ways that you can make the data collection experience friendlier and smoother for insurance customers through digital data intake. Elements like e-signatures, in-line validation and more also enhance and improve the data collection experience. With digital data intake, the sky is the limit!
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