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Insurers can put trust in their customer relationship with smooth digital interaction

The insurance industry has always had an estranged relationship with its customers, but most firms have come round to the fact that they need to be totally customer focused if they want them to stay. However, it's not just companies' service manner that needs to be reconstructed – customers expect an increasing variety of communications methods and a slick digital system is needed in order to provide that.

With traditional competition on price becoming a tougher game in the age of comparison sites, insurers are looking to use customer service as a selling point. That is not an easy proposition, as the customer contact involved in actually setting up a policy is minimal. So although the claims process is the part that is most labour intensive, it is the key to impressing clients. A customer making a claim is probably having a very stressful time following an accident. If a company can deal with the situation promptly and without fuss, that will impress a client to the point that they may stick with that firm for years and become a willing advocate. A bad customer experience will likely ensure that they and their friends will avoid that firm for life.

A strong enterprise content management (ECM) system maintains customer contacts across a variety of media, from telephone calls and forms filled out by hand and mailed in, to online forms and app content, to be placed on a single platform and dealt with equally. With all non-digital communications digitised at the earliest opportunity, all documents are made available to claims handlers across the organisation, so a customer following up a call can be updated immediately, without the need to make them wait, call them back, or even worse pass them on to a different office or department.

It doesn't matter how a customer starts a claim, with a solid ECM system their omni-channel journey will be the same, potentially finishing the process by a completely different method if it proves more practical. But that is just the basics: a digital, all-media platform can help insurers provide a service that appeals to the Facebook generation, while still catering to their parents.

For financial services and insurance firms which are fully focused on enhancing customer service, using analytics to understand their customer experience levels is the next step, and is also enabled by ECM. And insurers can go further still, using their ECM system to build trust with their customers. Trust is the key to a good relationship, because an insurer that trusts its customers can process claims quicker, and a customer that feels trusted will have peace of mind knowing that a claim will be honoured. Such a system can be built on the devices most customers now have in their homes and pockets: tablets and smartphones.

With high quality digital images available at the push of a button and easily uploaded, a visual database of high-value insured items can be created. Customers can then make a claim via an online format that includes uploading new photos of damaged items. This system makes claims easily verifiable, and customers know it is likely to lead to swift resolution.

What's more, the system is user-friendly, especially as many customers now prefer a digital input system to dealing with a person when it comes to making claim, as that can feel intimidating and unpredictable. ECM allows such image databases to be integrated into the business' existing policy administration systems, and with customer self-service, the cost is lower than traditional, less effective methods of recording insured items.

The way firms interface with their customers, and how easily and painless the ongoing interactions are, is a key component to their customer experience profile. It not only provides a selling point when attracting new customers, but it ensures high retention rates of existing customers, making the cost of business cheaper and helping to steal a march on rivals without squeezing margins.


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