Mapping out customer journeys in insurance for better customer experience
Customer expectations are growing, and digital journeys are becoming an increasingly important part of how insurers engage with customers, understand their expectations, and ultimately deliver on them.
The digital customer journey is a complex process involving multiple technologies, job functions and touching upon various internal processes.
Due to its complexity, it is important to trace the customer's steps throughout their entire customer journey. Customer journeys should be well planned and coordinated so that the customer experience is easy to understand and reflects customer needs at each step.
Customer journey mapping can help insurers plan where technology will support these needs, ensuring a smooth digital customer experience via a well-planned digital strategy. In short, customer experience mapping helps companies focus on what matters to customers and avoid wasting resources.
What are customer journey maps?
Customer experience mapping is a simple concept that provides a powerful insight into how customers interact with the brand when buying insurance products or dealing with claims.
A digital journey map is a visual representation of the customer's experience as they interact with the different stages, touchpoints, and branching points within an insurance brand or organization. It's a visual representation of the "big picture," showing how customers interact with your brand or organization, what they expect from you, and where you need to improve.
Customer journeys are usually mapped out in chronological order. For example, onboarding new customers during the first couple of weeks after a new policy purchase.
Customer journeys can also be mapped by specific customer goals, such as the digital claims journey, or personal details update journey.
Customer journey maps can also include customer sentiment - for example, how likely customers are to recommend the brand.
By mapping out every step in the journey insurers can identify the main touchpoints and show how these shift across different channels.
Why map digital customer journeys?
Digital journey mapping is quickly becoming standard practice in industries such as eCommerce and travel, but its value in the insurance industry has yet to be fully exploited.
Improve customer experience
Customer experience mapping helps insurers understand what an ideal customer experience might look like and where they need to focus their efforts to deliver on customer expectations.
Customer segments can be identified and understood, with metrics to monitor how different groups experience the journey.
Customer journey mapping should be an integral part of every insurer's digital strategy. This way, the experience can be monitored, optimized, and improved on an ongoing basis.
Improve business outcomes
Customer experience maps can be used to identify areas for immediate improvement, but they're also a great way of identifying long-term opportunities for growth.
Customer experience mapping can help digital insurers improve customer retention, increase cross-sell opportunities and up-sell potential, reduce customer churn and drive cross-sell, and improve the overall customer experience.
It isn't just about improving customer satisfaction; it's also an opportunity to build loyalty and improve product, service, or value propositions that influence future customer decisions.
Boost customer engagement
Customer journey maps help insurers identify high-value digital touchpoints where customers engage the most with their brand.
Customer journey mapping can also help insurers understand opportunities or areas of improvement across the customer experience, allowing them to shift the focus from one channel to another and monitor actual performance against customer expectations.
Mapping out customer journeys helps insurers prioritize resources and ensure that they deliver a consistent experience across all channels at all times.
Better understand your customers
Customer experience mapping provides a way of understanding how customers engage with the brand across different channels and points of interaction. It helps identify where customers get lost along their way, enabling insurers to improve business processes.
Mapping out stages in the digital insurance journey
Customer journeys are typically mapped out against the customer lifecycle so that you can identify opportunities for improvement across different stages of the journey.
Stage 1: Customer awareness
Customer journey mapping at this stage focuses on how your brand is perceived in the market and what customers know about you when they first start looking for a product.
Customer experience mapping can help insurers identify opportunities to increase first-time engagement, such as marketing campaigns on specific channels.
Customer experience mapping can highlight the importance of improving search engine results (SEO) during this journey stage. In that case, creating more content that ranks highly on Google searches becomes increasingly important.
Or it can show that too many potential customers drop off while waiting for the customer service representative's answer. In that case, the most important next step is adding self-service support options.
Stage 2: Customer decision
Customer journey mapping at this stage focuses on how customers look for products or compare your brand to other insurance providers.
Customer experience mapping can help insurers identify opportunities to increase customer engagement, such as cross-sell and up-sell campaigns across different channels.
Customer experience mapping can highlight areas where future improvements could be made during the product comparison stage, for example, through improving the design and layout of the website or app.
Stage 3: New policy acquisition
Customer journey mapping at this stage focuses on obtaining a product and the amount of customer effort involved in the process.
Customer experience mapping can help insurers identify opportunities to improve customer satisfaction, such as simplifying the purchase process using digital channels.
One of the common areas of improvement is turning clunky PDF documents into user-friendly digital journeys. Replacing friction-laden interactions such as data and signature gathering with seamless digital journeys is an effective way to improve the overall customer experience.
Customer journey mapping can help insurers identify opportunities to simplify the new-policy acquisition process and reduce customer effort through the use of digital channels that allow immediate policy issues, support self-service policy acquisition, and provide timely real-time support when needed.
Stage 4: Customer experience during product ownership
Customer journey mapping at this stage focuses on the service provided to customers during their use of the product, focusing on several key areas:
- How post-purchase activities influence customer future actions and behaviors, for example, how the performance of an insurer's claims service affects customer retention.
- Identify how customers' use of products and services might change over time, such as expanding coverage to new areas of risk after life events such as a wedding, the birth of a new child, or moving into a new house.
- Highlight areas where customers get stuck, such as with online checkout pages on your website or apps. It can help identify areas where customers need more guidance when using your products or services, such as claims handling or product information.
Customer experience mapping can help insurers identify opportunities to improve customer satisfaction and reduce customer effort by providing support throughout the lifetime of a policy.
It also highlights areas where improvements could be made later in the life cycle, such as claims processing or renewing a policy. An insurer can strategically identify high-value actions such as setting up digital channels to speed up payments, or providing better support after purchase, for example, through online tutorials or FAQ sections.
Stage 5: Customer retention
At this stage, customer experience mapping focuses on how customers perceive and engage with your brand after they've used your product for some time.
The mapping process starts with identifying opportunities to retain customers, for example, through marketing campaigns targeted at existing customers. This can highlight the importance of cross-selling during this stage of the journey.
Stage 6: Customer experience during product end
Customer journey mapping at this stage focuses on whether customers stay with or switch to another brand after their contract expires.
For example, it can highlight opportunities to increase customer satisfaction, such as opportunities to support customers better through the claims process, such as simplifying the claims forms and providing web chat facilities and real-time support.
The importance of having a clear digital journey strategy
Customer journey maps are a useful ongoing tool to support customer experience management throughout the customer lifecycle.
As customer engagements go digital, insurers need to map out their digital journey strategies in line with the needs of customers. Customer experience mapping is essential for embedding a digital strategy that supports business objectives.
Taking time to map out digital customer journeys in advance ensures that the end-to-end customer experience is well planned and implemented and will drive successful outcomes. In short, customer journey maps are a useful ongoing tool to support Customer Experience Management throughout the customer lifecycle.