Lindsay Foster, Commercial Strategy and Transformation Director at AXA Partners UK & Ireland, explains the importance of business transformation, digitalisation of services and how to monitor customer needs:
As the world continues to develop and change at speed, businesses cannot afford to stand still or be complacent. AXA Partners recognises the importance of digitalisation and has worked hard to ensure that transformation is fully embedded within the organisation.
Customers have increasingly high expectations of the digital journey and expect real-time information and transparency on next steps; however, the insurance industry is falling behind in this area. For example, the fast-paced retail and entertainment sectors have been forced to innovate, due to the ease with which customers can switch allegiance, as well as their changing demands. As a result, this has driven customers’ increasing expectation of a seamless and efficient digital journey, across all sectors. Therefore, the insurance market has to respond now.
Why transformation is important
In AXA Partners’ case, a need to embrace a multi-channel approach was identified, but as with others in the insurance industry, there are legacy systems to contend with and so changes couldn’t be made overnight. The first step was to provide existing customers with a digital option for interaction. Over the last 18 months, the company launched new digital tools, eRescue and Home Manager, which allow customers to log their Motor Breakdown claims and track their Home Emergency claims online. Customers no longer need to speak to someone on the phone, and are updated in real-time at every step of their claim, providing full peace of mind.
Covid-19 has further accelerated the need for the insurance sector to be agile and meet changing customer needs. Organisations that already had a digital customer journey had an advantage, and the pandemic quickly exposed those who were unable to adapt quickly to changes in customer behaviour, as well as the new, working environment. Failure to evolve in line with these ever-changing expectations and grasp the opportunity to innovate, will only work against organisations and put their futures at risk. The last 16 months have been an unprecedented time for both personal and working lives. From a transformation perspective, businesses should reflect on what enabled them to adapt, what worked well for their customers and what learnings can be taken forwards.
Be bold and invest to realise customer benefit
Longer term, it won’t be enough to only improve digital offerings around the fringes of a business and customer journey. At some point, you have to be bold and invest in replacing legacy systems. AXA Partners’ investment in replacing core systems to manage the end-to-end customer claims journey will provide the business with a scalable platform, enabling continuous improvement and flexibility. eCare is a new Claims Management System, which underpins and integrates all digital tools, telephony and back-office systems throughout the business operation. This new, advanced platform, based on cloud technology, delivers an enhanced customer experience, a clear focus on vulnerable customers, as well as greater automation; allowing agents to focus on providing a seamless, empathic and efficient claims journey.
What’s more, the business has also invested in the recent launch of a new claims portal for their car excess cover customers, xClaim, providing a straightforward, intuitive and fully digital claims experience that meet the needs of today’s lifestyle.
Transformation is a broad term and one that many businesses have shied away from, not least because it’s hard to predict the future. Change is not linear. This means that when transformation goals are set, they should be based on delivering clear, valuable and measurable outcomes, whilst keeping an eye on the market and customer trends. Plans are likely to change, and the best thing that any business can do is to keep the desired outcome or goal front of mind, whilst being agile and responsive in its delivery, incorporating feedback from customers, partners and employees.
In order to make a lasting change, the full business needs to be on board to support the transformation agenda. You can’t be successful in changing your business if you are a silo’d transformation team. Transformation mindset and delivery capability should be embedded across the entire business, as part of a continuous change culture.
Transformation takes energy, commitment, passion and collaboration – but it will be worth it in the end!