Opinion: The Online Customer Experience Defines Insurance Brands

What makes a brand successful and enduring? That’s the question Andre Symes from Genasys Technologiesis looking at as the year draws to a close. Time to relax, recharge your company’s batteries over the festive season, and then come back stronger and smarter in 2020. 

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A distinctive, easily identifiable and memorable name is a starting point for sure. But a brand is more than a name and a logo.

The success of any brand is based on the deep connection it builds with its customers. A brand that can build a strong, positive and emotional connection with them will help it gain loyal customers in the long run, which brings a competitive advantage. Without that bond, a brand and its products and services simply become a commodity.

It’s always been the case.

Looking around me now as I sit on the train, everyone is pretty much glued to their smartphone reading, listening to music, catching up on a TV show, ordering their groceries, maybe even buying insurance. A few decades ago, many would have had their head stuck in a newspaper.

In the days before the internet, before online purchases and customer experience were dreamt of, newspapers were a hugely influential medium and there was a massive battle to create brands around them. So what did the publishers do? They found a way to connect with their customers. Believe it or not, the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia were started to create that connection in order to boost sales and lure readers away from rival publications. The colour of the newspaper pages were even reflected in the leaders’ jerseys.

Move forward several decades and the explosion of online content driven by the inexorable rise of the smartphone threatened the very existence of newspapers. Yet the most successful brands have defied the odds and survived. How? They continued to build their connection with their readers but shifted the focus of the customer experience online.

The online customer experience has arguably become the driver of brand survival so in an industry with millions of customers in the UK alone, how true is this in our world of insurance?

At a recent conference that I attended, a marketing executive for one of the big UK insurers said “insurers are not bad at marketing as such, but they have needed to be good at marketing.” This has become ever truer today as our customers can now reach their insurer instantly 24/7/365 through their smartphone. And if they can’t, they will use it to complain through social media channels.

Most insurers have recognised this and by teaming up with the right tech partner, the quote and buy user journeys are incredible these days particularly in the personal lines space. The team at Genasys Technologies has built customer journeys that can quote a bind a motor policy in less than two minutes, with no human interactions from the underwriter. Cost of client acquisition has been brought down and frictionless buying is the name of the game.

We all know that keeping an insurance customer is more cost effective than getting them in the first place. We also all know that keeping them hinges on two things. The first is an external and difficult to influence factor – the cost to the customer. Unfortunately we’ve seen this lead to issues like dual pricing, and that’s not going to end well for anybody. The second are internally influenced factors: mostly client interaction and the biggie…. claims!

When it comes to interaction, insurers have to find a way to connect with their customers on a deeper, more regular basis to build trust and loyalty particularly now that consumer decisions can be swayed by a talking meerkat.

Driving regular online contact through digitization of as many processes is equally important, which brings me on to the claims experience. It’s an acknowledged fact that the value of an insurance policy lies not in the paper on which it is written, but in the experience the customer has when it comes to making a claim. If you want to keep them happy and loyal, pay valid claims and pay them quickly.

And this is the area where I think the emergence of insurtech is having a far more valuable impact and an area that is rich for exploitation by insurers to support and improve the online customer experience.

Take our experience in motor insurance for example. Using a collection of tech, rules and artificial intelligence Genasys Technologies has been able to setup configurations where a claim can be assessed, estimated and paid before the person has even gotten out of their car to berate the person who bumped into their car in traffic.

Adoption of tech into the claims experience is the next step in the evolution of the digitisation of the insurance market, and it’s not on the horizon but already here. Brands that want to survive and thrive need to have a strong digital claims strategy in place, now, because the guys across the road may already have one.

This content is produced in association with Genasys Technologies

About alastair walker 12121 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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