We know that 70% of digital transformations fail due to a host of reasons including poor planning, a big-bang approach, a lack of business knowledge and poor implementation. In my experience, one factor stands out from the rest when it comes to the success or failure of an IT project: the digital customer journey.
Getting the digital customer journey right means understanding and intelligently shaping every step of the process a customer goes through when engaging with your business; from the moment they reach your landing page to their post-engagement experience.
There is a massive opportunity in the insurance market right now for a player of any size to leapfrog the competition by creating a world-class customer journey, particularly in the B2B space. The industry has to date offered a poor experience in terms of digital tools that are years behind the quality that clients are used to when using services such as seamless personal banking apps or travel-booking websites.
I would argue that creating a world-class digital customer journey involves three elements: personalisation, information-sharing, and seamless self-service.
PERSONALISATION: “THIS WEBSITE ‘GETS’ ME”
Personalisation at scale requires an investment in customer data and analytics, along with the smart deployment of AI and machine learning. Ideally, your platform should be able to recognise a customer, understand their usage patterns and preferences, and seek to offer a better experience at every stage of their digital journey.
In insurance, the Holy Grail of personalisation is to replicate the experience that a customer would have if they phoned their dedicated account manager. Customers value account managers because they are deeply familiar with their business, understand their preferences, and know how to use this information to anticipate the clients’ needs. Whilst the value here comes from very “human” factors: relationship-building, familiarity and understanding, a highly personalised service can be achieved in a digital environment with the power of machine learning.
Personalisation is not only good for customers, but good for business. A 2019 McKinsey report found that personalisation can deliver revenue increases of between 5 and 15%. I personally believe the potential is even higher.
INFORMATION-SHARING: “I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING MY INSURER KNOWS ABOUT MY OPERATION”
In the age of big data, customers should not have to reach out to your organisation to request the information they need. Instead, it’s up to data-rich insurers to shift from data-hoarding to information-sharing. This means making data visible and available so clients have it at their fingertips when needed; real-time, on-demand and available 24/7.
Within the next five years, the richness of data that insurers can provide to their customers will be a key source of competitive advantage in the industry. This does not mean simply sending a monthly spreadsheet-based report; it requires the creation of digital tools such as customisable dashboards that feature real-time data that will help drive loss prevention.
At present the biggest opportunity for digitisation involves shifting risk advice from a face-to-face service to a digital offering. Again, this experience will need to be highly personalised, and will be enabled by a rich stream of real-time data flowing from connected insurance devices (IoT), the client’s history, industry benchmarks, and outside factors such as geopolitical risk. Once mastered, a digital risk advice service has the potential to be incrementally more valuable than that provided by a human because AI can track and interpret infinitely more data streams than any human operator.
SEAMLESS SELF-SERVICE: “I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PICK UP THE PHONE TO GET THIS DONE”
Clients of every size want their self-service tools to be as good (or better) than the service they would receive by phone or face-to-face with your business. Self-service portals must be seamless, highly intuitive, require no training, and should be a pleasure to use.
What should be included in a self-service portal? Everything that your business offers, with no exceptions. If there’s someone in your organisation who says “we’ll never be able to automate that”, I’d remind them that the same thing was once said about AI’s ability to read human emotions, predict fashion trends, and curate our music playlists.
With the right data and technical knowledge, there is nothing that your organisation provides manually that cannot be digitised and automated. A self-service portal in insurance should provide clients with access to policies, billing, claims processes, admin forms, analytics, and the ability to alter their insured portfolio quickly and easily.
Keep in mind that a self-service portal and wider digital customer journey should complement rather than replace your human service. Some clients will always prefer to talk with a human rather than a chatbot, and it is impossible to predict every potential client need when building your digital tools. But you can learn from these interactions to further improve your digital offering by tracking and analysing customer behaviour to recognise the point at which they abandon the digital service to seek human assistance.
UNDERSTAND YOUR CUSTOMER
My final piece of advice is that you should never assume you know what your customers want. Invest in customer research before beginning any IT project, then take an incremental approach to building your digital tools, continuously testing, collecting user feedback, and making improvements along the way.
Even after launch, collect information through website analytics and customer experience surveys to keep your finger on the pulse of customer expectations in regard to the digital journey they experience when they interact with your business.
Get in touch with NORIA today to discuss how to put the digital customer journey at the heart of your next IT project.