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Insurers are drowning in customer information, but coordination can be tricky

It is no secret that customers are an insurance company’s most valuable asset, and that smart insurers know the rewards of developing a strategy to personalize the communications they send to customers through both print and electronic channels.

When organizations use what they know about a customer to communicate one-on-one, the customer experience will be a positive one, with retention and loyalty the happy result.

It is not difficult to find content about customers in an insurance enterprise. In fact, insurers are drowning in it. The difficulty is creating a centralized system that keeps track of customer data, policies, riders, transactions and other critical information.

Having access to such information, however, allows carriers the opportunity to create an effective communications and messaging strategy that supports the cross-selling and up-selling of product lines and a true understanding of the long-term value of each customer.

Such information also provides support to brokers and customer service representatives who must carry the message forward when conversing with policyholders. Successfully connecting with customers using everything you can possibly know about them delivers a specialized view that will engage any policyholder, and the benefits to the company can be found in the bottom line.

But for many companies, this initiative can present a variety of technical challenges.

Linking the different silos of information a company has about its customers often requires a reexamination of business processes and the purchasing of technology to make it possible.

If you are ready to implement an enterprise-wide messaging strategy, before you invest, it pays to know what to look for in a solution to manage the information effectively. The following are four major questions your company should take into consideration as you evaluate the technology that is right for your organization.

o Does the technology feature robust content and trigger capabilities?

Content represents the information that will be presented in the printed or electronic document, while triggers are what allow you to add “intelligence” to your one-on-one communications process.

In most insurance organizations, content can be drawn from multiple systems. The technology must provide a means to access this content, as well as to create content.

For personalization to occur, a robust trigger solution will provide a framework so users can add conditions that can be applied to selectively include only relevant content for the recipient. An effective combination of content and triggers can be used to create a wide variety of personalized and customized document solutions.

o Does it offer workflow abilities?

To improve efficiencies and improve time to market with critical customer communications, several stakeholders (including front-line personnel such as brokers and agents) should be a part of the content management process of your messaging strategy.

Look for technology that allows for collaborative authoring. This means that different users with different skills can easily add personalized content from a desktop or through a Web browser to create customize documents on demand.

For example, an insurance company could develop an interactive, Web-based system for creating presentation booklets with personalized messages for recipients as a part of its messaging strategy. Such technology could allow field offices to produce customized presentations for individual clients while maintaining a consistent look and feel that is important to the company image.

The same can be done for policy generation and similar documents. Workflow will enhance your messaging capabilities, streamlining the creation, approval and timely delivery of your content.

o What delivery options does the technology support?

Since you are dealing with a variety of policyholders–young, old, tech savvy and not–the technology you choose must be able to deliver your messages through the channel of your customer’s choice.

It is important to seek out a common platform or infrastructure that supports a coordinated approach for a multi-channel delivery model. That way, not only will you be able to reach customers through print/mail, Web, branch or call centers, you will be able to reach them with consistent messages, created once, regardless of the chosen channel.

With the need for customer connection at an all-time high, it is critical to have technology that allows you to easily enable your messaging strategy across all channels.

o How extensive are the managing and tracking capabilities?

Having the ability to know who is receiving your information and what they are doing about it is a key factor to implementing an effective messaging strategy. If you can’t measure it, you can’t make it better.

The technology you choose must have the ability to track who got what as well as customer responses to calls to action. A state-of-the-art tracking framework will then be able to prioritize and incorporate relevant messages based on that knowledge when the next document is created.

Look for a solution that automates this process and ensures that you have the metrics you need to make appropriate decisions.

Today’s document management platforms are a new breed of technology for sure, but once understood and in place, the payoff can be substantial when it comes to connecting positively with customers with targeted, relevant messages.

Nick Romano is president and CEO of Toronto, Canada-based Prinova Inc., a provider of strategic consulting, design, document engineering and systems integration for companies in financial services, insurance and health care. He can be reached at nickr@prinova.com.

“Successfully connecting with customers using everything you can possibly know about them delivers a specialized view that will engage any policyholder, and the benefits to the company can be found in the bottom line.”

Nick Romano

Linking different silos of customer information often requires a reexamination of business processes and a change in technology.