The role of customer data intake in the insurance customer journey
Customer data intake seems like a simple, technical process, but insurance providers are notorious for tedious, complicated paperwork. That’s why completion rates in insurance tend to be low, as customers often become frustrated or overwhelmed at some point in the intake process. And while many companies have transitioned paper forms into online PDFs, the process itself hasn’t changed much—it’s still very old school, and not very user-friendly.
Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. By changing the way you collect data, documents, and signatures from customers, you can transform the customer journey in insurance and have an enormous impact on the entire organization in the process.
Transitioning to true digital customer data intake requires more than simply posting existing forms on a website. Instead, it involves transforming forms and signatures into a guided, structured information gathering process that is integrated directly with other systems and eliminates the need for manual touchpoints altogether. With digital customer intake, employees can access the data they need, when they need it, and customers experience an intuitive, friendly process instead of the traditional insurance complexity.
Challenges that insurers face when collecting data via manual touchpoints
Not convinced that manual touchpoints lead to problems? Let’s look at some of the challenges insurers face when collecting data and signatures manually or with clunky PDFs.
Incomplete, missing, or wrong information
When humans are involved, mistakes will happen—there is no way to prevent them entirely. In the insurance industry, customers don’t always understand the instructions on a form correctly or may inadvertently enter information in the wrong form field or even make a careless typo.
These errors are only found later during review, at which point the customer needs to be contacted to redo the forms. This leads to delays, incomplete processes, and investment of countless staff hours tracking down the customers and helping them modify their data.
Negative customer experience
Manual data intake isn’t only inefficient—it also leads to a poor customer experience. That’s because processes with manual touchpoints take time, forcing customers to wait for responses to their requests for quotes, renewals, or claims. In the age of instant gratification, delays are guaranteed to cause frustration among customers.
And manual touchpoints do more than slow processes down. Since data from manual touchpoints is often siloed in separate systems owned by various departments, customers are asked to provide the same data repeatedly, often filling out the same form fields in every interaction with the insurance provider. This makes simple processes long and tedious, further detracting from the customer experience and increasing the chance that the customer will simply give up and abandon the process.
Savvy customers don’t have patience for what they perceive as avoidable hassle and friction—surveys have shown that poor customer experience is the top reason why customers switch insurance providers.
Customers aren’t the only ones who waste time with manual touchpoints. Manual data intake also leads to inefficient workflows within the organization.
Insurance providers offer a variety of products and services, and the information about the customer collected by each department is often siloed and fragmented. One department can’t easily access data generated by another, leading to unnecessary repetition of data collection and missed business opportunities. It also is more difficult to automate processes, as data has to be modified before processes can be automated.
Benefits of digital data intake
Digital data intake improves both process and workflow, making the information gathering process easier for both the customer and the insurer.
Digital data intake allows you to streamline and standardize the customer intake process, so that data is immediately available to the entire organization, eliminating the detrimental siloing. Not only is the data available, but insurance companies can also create automated workflows that make sure that the right data is pushed to the right staff member at the right time. This allows them to make the most of opportunities, assess risk efficiently, and respond quickly to customer queries.
Let’s look at some of the components of digital data intake and the benefits they offer.
Digital intake forms are interactive and give customers feedback in real time, rather than having to wait for a service agent to answer their queries as is the case with paper forms and PDFs. In addition, the form fields are automatically filled in with any information that the customer provided in other forms or documents, eliminating the need to provide the same information repeatedly. In that way, interactive forms make everything faster and reduce the amount of time it takes for a customer to complete a process while minimizing friction and frustration.
Real-time data verification
Furthermore, if customers make a mistake when filling out the form they know about it right away—they simply aren’t able to submit the form until all fields are filled out correctly. The customer isn’t left alone to figure out the problem either—interactive forms make proactive suggestions to help the customer find the correct option. The ability to validate data in real time eliminates most errors and delays in the process.
All information in digital intake is standardized and can be used across the organization in various platforms and business processes without the need for manual data entry or integration. Data standardization eliminates the problems created by siloing and the need to invest resources in complicated integrations.
The ability to gather required information upfront is also critical. Since the forms are interactive, if the customer selects an option that requires additional information, the relevant form fields automatically open up for the customer to fill out—no need to wait for the first form to be processed. With all of the relevant information provided upfront, customers can get the service they need quickly and easily.
Flexibility to change the process as needed
Business processes are dynamic, and insurance providers need to respond to opportunities and problems in real time to remain competitive. Paper forms are a hassle to update and distribute, and even PDFs require time to build new integrations that enable organizational systems to process data after a form is updated.
With digital customer intake, updates are simple. Any form can be modified in a matter of minutes to meet new needs and requirements. There is no need to build complex integrations, as all data is standardized and can be automatically integrated into company systems.
A PDF form stays the same, no matter who is filling it out. For example, customers who do not have children will encounter child-related form fields repeatedly, something they may find annoying or confusing. A customer who doesn’t own a home will be offered information about homeowners insurance, making the process clunky without providing any added value.
Digital customer data intake, on the other hand, is personalized to meet the needs and interests of the individual customer. If customers indicated that they don’t own a home in the initial intake, they won’t be asked about their home or offered products for homeowners. On the other hand, digitization makes it easy to proactively recommend relevant products to customers, and encourages them to use additional services that could enhance their insurance experience.
It’s time to revolutionize the insurance customer journey
There is no question that digital customer intake can truly revolutionize the insurance customer journey. Yet in order to realize its full benefits, it’s important to ensure that data intake is digital from end to end, with no manual touchpoints along the way. That includes manual touchpoints for gathering data that use electronic tools such as email and PDFs.
Creating end-to-end digital customer intake is easier than ever. With no-code platforms like EasySend, insurance providers can transform their insurance customer journey quickly and easily, utilizing a full toolbox designed specifically for the needs of the industry.