Insurers must work across departmental silos to unify customer experience

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Customer centricity for product and process design defines the insurer of the future.

Increasingly, insurance is becoming an experience-led industry. Today’s customers are keenly aware of changing social, environmental, and technological influencers and their associated risks. They are looking for new risk-control products and services as well as advice in the face of emerging risks.

Capgemini’s recently published World Insurance Report (WIR) 2019 explores some interesting trends. A significant chunk (55%) of policyholders say they are ready to explore new insurance models, but only 27% of insurers are considering new approaches. Of policyholders surveyed as part of the WIR 2019, 41% said they were interested in usage-based insurance and 37% were willing to explore on-demand coverage.

An insurer’s success depends on agility, speed to market, and the ability to align quickly with customer needs. The experience provided by an insurance carrier is often a differentiator when it comes to customer selection. Not surprisingly, more than 80% of insurers across sub-sectors said evolving customer preferences were the most critical factor driving the need for digital agility.[1]

Insurers must work across departmental silos to unify customer experienceSource: WIR 2018

Most carriers have a mechanism to design and improve their customers’ experience. These days, digital channels are being leveraged to cater to the growing tech-savvy demographic. However, I believe the addition of digital channels is not enough. A comprehensive view of customer touchpoints is necessary – with brand as a foundational element to ensure consistency across products and channels.

Insurers must work across departmental silos to unify customer experience

Today, the customer journey focuses on individual touchpoints made as intuitive and personalized as possible. A unified approach to touchpoints can be challenging, however, because of the highly siloed nature of departments that deliver various services. Each department is responsible for a different part of the customer lifecycle as illustrated in the (not comprehensive) example below.

Insurers must work across departmental silos to unify customer experience

For example, a customer may talk with a distributor in person, look up product information online, or call the contact center to submit a claim. At the insurer’s end, however, the different departments that handle these processes are not tied in with the whole. The challenge? How to align all customer touchpoints to deliver a consistent product/brand experience.

Firms with a digital team can work to design a consistent user interface (UI) across all digital channels. And while the team may create and maintain the overall experience across the lifecycle and touchpoints, customer experience extends far beyond digital channels. In addition to the quality of the UI design, customer satisfaction is influenced by factors such as the questions asked before they get a quote, and the relevance of the advice or even tone they get when they call the helpline.

The product design department is the focal point in the creation of a well aligned and consistent customer experience across lifecycle, product, and brand. At Capgemini, we believe “experience is the new product.” It is critical to think through all elements of the product as well as the customer experience during the design process. However, the mandate of product designers focuses on viability and profitability, so they cannot be solely responsible for customer experience.

Today’s insurers have a combination of a few operating models for developing customer experience and new product design. A business division or a cross-functional team usually initiates the design process to ensure that concerns are broadly addressed and meet business and market requirements.

Source: Capgemini Financial Services Analysis

However, insurers need to put customers truly at the center of their product design efforts and develop a unified vision of the customer journey. Design thinking – an iterative process that strives to understand end-users – is one such approach that can help. Instead of optimizing individual touchpoints, the methodology is based on end-to-end redesign. This philosophy must be incorporated at product conception by involving different departments with the help of experienced architects.

Some insurers have recognized the usefulness of this approach and are training personnel on human-centered design. For example, leading Australian insurance and wealth management firm AMP transformed its innovation processes to incorporate design-thinking principles and has trained 700 employees on human-centered design.[2] Similarly, to convince young adults to buy life insurance, MassMutual designed a program that resembles an online class with digital budgeting and financial tools plus a curriculum for investing.[3]

Success for the insurer of the future will be based on superior customer experience. However, to achieve it, insurers need to move past silos and keep customers at the center of their processes and design. They must provide a consistent experience across channels, touchpoints, and products to retain customers and stay ahead on the innovation curve. Product management and customer experience management must work in harmony to give insurers a competitive advantage in the new world.

For more details on how Capgemini is helping insurers transform their customers’ experience please visit https://www.capgemini.com/service/digital-services/digital-customer-experience2/experience-design

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[1] Capgemini, World Insurance Report 2018, https://www.capgemini.com/service/world-insurance-report-2018.

[2] Lockwood Re:Source, “How a 185-year old insurance company re-framed innovation,” November 15, 2017, https://lockwoodresource.com/how-a-185-year-old-insurance-company-re-framed-innovation.

[3] Digital Surgeons, “5 Big Organizations Winning with Design Thinking,” January 25, 2018 https://www.digitalsurgeons.com/thoughts/design-thinking/5-big-organizations-that-win-with-design-thinking.

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