Customer-Centricity in Insurance

Insurers must radically improve customer service if they are to combat the reduced profitability of products, the digital disruption of distribution, the competition from new, nontraditional entrants, and the rise of savvier, more value-driven consumers. Doing so requires taking a more customer-centric view of operations in three key areas.

When it comes to customer service, it’s no longer enough for insurance companies to aspire to outperform the companies within their own industry. Customers in today’s digital age expect insurers to deliver customer service that meets the standard set by digital giants like Amazon, Google, and Apple. They want shorter response times; seamless interaction; simple, understandable, and personalized service; the best possible quality; and more transparency and fairness. 

Given the high standards—and despite the even greater imperative to succeed—many insurers are falling short in customer service. To guard against losing customers to competitors and to attract new business, insurers must significantly improve their service standards and become truly customer-centric. 

This isn’t a simple task. Before insurance companies can move forward with better service delivery models, they must first look at existing customer interactions and take steps to significantly reduce negative impressions. 

The key is focusing on three critical dimensions of customer satisfaction:

  1. Speed. Customer concerns don’t necessarily need to be processed in real time, but companies must meet customer-defined expectations, which typically measure turnaround time in hours, not days. 
  2. Quality. Today’s savvy consumers won’t settle for a processing rate that is less than 95% error-free. That’s well beyond the 70-to-80% rate that most insurers deliver today. 
  3. Transparency. Insurance customers need to understand exactly where in the process their application or claim is at any given time. Transparency into processes affects customer satisfaction scores at least as much as speed and quality.

Meeting these basic expectations serves as the foundation for strong customer satisfaction, but it also enhances operations. When insurers reduce the number of negative customer experiences, they gain corresponding efficiencies and productivity in operations. Improved customer service results in less work, stricter processes, and fewer additional customer questions to be answered.

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