Customer relationship management–already established as an essential, marketing-driven technology in insurance–is finding new life among agents and carriers thanks to vendors who are making their CRM products mobile.
Clarence Smith, an assistant vice president with Conning Research and Consulting Inc., Hartford, Conn., thinks the real benefit of mobile systems lies within a subset of CRM that he calls partner relationship management. This is the ability of insurers to exchange customer information with their agents and claims managers.
In insurance, its usually the agent, not the customer, who does business with the back office, Smith notes. If the CRM makes it easier for the agent to exchange data, that will benefit his company through more cross-sales opportunities and higher customer retention, he observes.
“The key is gaining the right information and using that to provide better services,” Smith says.
Siebel Systems, Inc., San Mateo, Calif. has added a wireless capability to its suite of customer relationship management products that it says can help insurers strengthen their sales and service capabilities.
The new product, introduced in March and dubbed Siebel 7 Mobile Solutions, gives businesses a way to bring CRM functions to the field, where sales people and claims handlers could use mobile phones and pagers, handhelds, notebooks and voice systems to synchronize data with their home offices, a company spokesman says
According to, Brian Stone, director of product marketing, mobile solutions, for Siebel, Siebel 7 includes a wireless messaging system that allows people in the field to use their phones or handhelds to exchange messages with each other or the home office. The system uses such technologies as short message service, telocator alphanumeric protocol (used for submitting numeric or alphanumeric messages through paging services) or standard e-mail, Siebel notes.
Another module permits real-time access to customer information in the back office, using wireless application protocol (WAP) or a Web browser on a mobile phone or handheld.
The ability to exchange and share client account and other information quickly significantly boosts sales force productivity and increases customer satisfaction, says Stone.
“Enterprises are recognizing the importance of CRM, and mobile is an integral component of that,” he contends.