Digitalization and the emergence of the digital enterprise are unfolding as some of the greatest disruptions of all industries, including insurance. Many insurers indicate they are on the strategic journey to becoming a digital insurer, a key characteristic of the next-gen insurer, with investments in new websites, smartphone apps, or a social media presence. Unfortunately, many of these approaches are siloed and tactical, lacking a strategic framework to bring together a unified digital strategy and an omni-channel capability to drive consistent, connected customer experiences, regardless of the channel.
Current distribution demands and expectations are in a state of continuous, unstoppable change. Galvanizing this change is customer empowerment. Traditionally, insurers or agents shaped the customer experience. Today, it is shaped by the rest of the world, by companies like Apple, Zappos, Amazon, Google, Nike, and others. And as customers gain market power and increase their use of technology, their influence will expand and demand choice and collaboration … anytime, anywhere, anyhow, via any channel.
A unified digital strategy recognizes that all channels and technologies touch the customer in some way, and that the one-size-fits-all channel model is obsolete. Agents, brokers, prospects, customers, and partners all have different expectations on how they want to interact with insurers, but they have this in common: They all want a consistent, connected experience. In today’s new digital world, this means a serious commitment to providing real ease-of-doing-business based on customer expectations for every type of interaction, through any channel, via any device.
So how should insurers respond?
First, create a multi-channel business strategy, mapping out existing channels against future channel demands from current and new customer segments. This should include emerging needs for shared and integrated interactions across channels, business processes, and technologies.
Second, build a multi-channel technical framework that defines the technologies and integration points to drive a consistent, connected experience. This includes web to call center, agent, social media, or other channel integration to support online customers; online, real-time transaction processing capabilities across the value chain; and broadened customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities to capture and leverage new customer and interaction data.