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, Author: Craig Fuher

Delivering a Modern Commercial Insurance Customer Experience

Over the last decade, we’ve seen the first stages of a revolution in the insurance customer experience. So far, agencies and insurers that implement customer experience (or CX) strategies have grown their book of business and increased revenue. 

It can be hard to find ways to stand out and grow your business beyond competing on price alone in a heavily regulated market. Luckily, research shows that customers rate their experience with the company as highly as pricing. Customer experience presents a great way to outshine competitors without cutting profits down to zero. 

Commercial lines can cause even more difficulties in optimizing the customer experience. Small business owners and startups may have severe budgetary restrictions. Larger, more established businesses may have ingrained methods on how they prefer to conduct business. It can leave everyone from the agent to the wholesalers to the carrier scrambling to improve satisfaction. 

Let’s look at how any company with the right growth mindset can give their customers the experience they deserve and improve retention in the process. 

Revisit Your Customer Journey

Knowing and understanding each and every customer touchpoint is the key to creating an efficient and effective customer journey. Sequencing each touchpoint throughout the CX will show you how much work the customer needs to do before they understand your product and how it solves their need. Using metrics you already have gives you a starting point for modernizing your client’s journey and providing a seamless buying experience. 

A report from the IBM Institute of Business Value points out that “42% of customers don’t fully trust their insurer, and most insurers (60%) agree that their organization lacks a CX strategy.”

IBM Insitute of Business Value

If only 40% of insurers across all specialties agree that their company even has a CX strategy, you already have a competitive advantage. That number does not account for insurers with a customer experience strategy who have not taken the time to implement it well. By testing and refining your CX, you can put your company in the top tier for providing an excellent customer experience.

Each point in your customer journey can become an opportunity to show transparency, a cohesive message, and follow-through – critical elements to building trust within the business world. 

Check Assumptions Too

If the process should be three touchpoints for a claim and CMS data is showing an average of six, then you have an opportunity to streamline the process. 

You can also use surveys. One of the fastest ways to get valuable feedback is not asking what someone liked about your process or what could have been better. Instead, ask about what was frustrating or what they didn’t like. 

People find it easier to complain about something than to solve it. Once you understand the issues in your customer’s process, you can take on the task of solving the pain points they have revealed. That strategy will be easier (and less expensive) than guessing and not seeing results. 

An Insurance Customer Experience Strategy

Having someone responsible for designing, measuring, and improving customer experience will ensure a positive experience for your customers and not just a “nice to have” or at the bottom of your to-do list. However, building a customer experience strategy takes a deliberate, multi-department approach. 

Customers travel from sales to underwriting and perhaps to claims. Three departments, three different goals, and three different customer experiences. And likely, not all positive.  A designated CX person can help the company maintain a seamless, simple experience for the insured. 

A recent McKinsey report found that “in the past five years, US auto insurance carriers that have provided customers with consistently best-in-class experiences have generated two to four times more growth in new business and about 30 percent higher profitability than firms with an inconsistent customer focus, in part because satisfied customers are 80 percent more likely to renew their policies than unsatisfied customers…”

Even though that statistic comes from auto insurance, commercial insurance follows the same buying principles of people doing business with people they like. Implementing an insurance customer experience strategy can help lead to growth and increased retention.

Measuring Customer Experience KPIs

Not every measurement can link to customer satisfaction. Keeping track of CX KPIs (or key performance indicators) in each department will help your customer experience person identify areas for improvement and, by extension, increase revenue through retention

You might consider: 

  • % of sales from renewals vs. new 
  • Satisfaction survey comparisons for both digital claims and traditional claims
  • Post-claim policy cancellations and renewals

Another result of the McKinsey study on insurance CX found that one company implemented an expensive new telephone system to reduce wait time. However, they found that customer satisfaction remained the same. Did they waste time and money implementing the new system? Or were they just not focused on the right issue?

That company later found out customers want a consistent touchpoint when they call. So they used the technology in their new system to route customers to the same customer service agents each time they called. 

What they found was their customers were much happier with the consistency. So, even though they found the new technology was ultimately useful, the actual issue was not the wait time, but speaking to the same person. The lesson here? Always ask customers first. They’ll tell you what to make better. 

Online, Self-Service Options

Part of digital transformation for any insurance business, be it a small agency or large brokerage, involves leveraging the technology that allows agents to support their clients better. Digital agencies have never been about replacing agents. Great insurance technology supports both agents and their clients by automating the tedious administrative tasks, lets agents sell online 24/7, and leverages data tools to understand what clients want. 

Even general agencies and wholesalers can streamline and automate their processes. Agents appreciate the ability to compete with instant quotes and reduced timeframes but with quality, custom policies. 

Since we’re focusing on commercial insurance customer experience, digital tools allow customers to access streamlined and proactive support functions. They can get instant quotes, use live or bot chat functions, and even take advantage of instant underwriting decisions – when available. 

Whether you’re in charge of customer experience for a large corporation or part of a small independent agency, providing online self-serve options gives the clients the number of touchpoints they want with your agency in the way they want them. 

It does not have to be an overwhelming transition either. Agencies of all sizes have a variety of options that can fit into their existing workflow to minimize the learning curve and still increase efficiency and customer satisfaction. 

Don’t Forget Cross-Selling

Commercial insurance provides a beautiful opportunity to customize, upsell, and cross-sell which can be trickier for commercial insurance agents. Reducing risk ranks among the top concerns for many business owners

Digital tools make this even more accessible. Other industries like travel and food delivery systems have been using this strategy for a while. 

But since we’re focusing on customer experience, coverage reviews can provide opportunities to plant seeds for cross-selling. That can take time to come to fruition, but getting the customer satisfaction rating up, thereby increasing customer retention, gives you that time. 

Omnichannel Presence for Touchpoints

It would not be a modern commercial insurance customer experience without mentioning omnichannel presence. Omnichannel presence simply means providing customers with multiple channels where they can contact you to shop, ask questions, etc. 

For example, a small business owner might prefer email communication to phone calls. While others may like the benefit of being able to quote a commercial policy directly from your website. Still, others might look to LinkedIn recommendations to find the right agency for their insurance. 

The bottom line is the more ways prospects and customers can contact you, the happier they become. 

With Talage our submission management platform provides ways for you to manage digital submissions, be it from your own agents or from clients submitting quotes via your website, to communication options, data and analytics, and more. Learn more about integrating digital tools into your customer service design by clicking the button below to read more. 

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