Businesses today are driven under stiff competition with customer experience as the central focus. Thanks to the digital world, customers are more aware and open to numerous choices which are easily accessible – and they are just a click away! Hence, organizations are continuously challenged to think innovatively and deliver exceptionally to retain customer loyalty while building their customer base. This is the biggest challenge for all industries. Here, I have taken the insurance industry and their process of selling insurance policies to illustrate customer journey but this holds good for almost all industries.
The insurance industry is rapidly evolving with growing competition and stringent government regulations on affordability and transparency. The influx of new and potential competitors have further put the insurance organizations under increased pressure. While offering customized/personalized packages is a given to satisfy customers, assuring unparalleled customer experience throughout their journey can create the competitive edge.
The journey of a typical customer in buying an insurance product:
- A customer feels the need for an insurance policy by the influence of advertisements, awareness, or friends’ references on social media
- The customer gets into the insurance company’s product/ services details through web search, social media reference using computer, mobile or customer contact centers and finds the information which are targeted to his unique need or requirements
- Customer then enters his details to get the quote and additional details which are personalized to his requirements
- The insurance company reviews his details and accordingly provides the quote and sells the policy as per their business processes
- Customer reviews the quote, compares it with other competitors and gets feedback reviews from different review websites, social platforms and after getting satisfying reviews and price, he finalizes to buy the policy
- The customer and the insurance company completes all compliance, test, and payment to initiate the policy
- The company offers the option to manage his account using contact center, internet and mobile with unified experience
- Finally, the company continues to provide an experience that the customer shares with his friends & network through social media or word of mouth which can be leveraged to get more customers and build loyalty
The above mentioned customer journey requires the Insurance provider to support multiple touch points and channels (e.g. social media, mobility, internet) to interact with their customers, agents & offices. Also, to enable these touch points they use different technology solutions/ products, e.g. Portal, ECM, BPM, CRM and Analytics to manage their business along with their enterprise applications and provide continuous services and support internally.
This demands digital technologies and unified solutions:
- Emerging digital technologies (social media, mobility, cloud & analytics). Now, digital is everywhere – from individuals to organizations, mobile has become a widely used channel and enterprises adopt cloud to have faster deployment. Now, almost all organizations have their digital strategies to improve customer experience and operational efficiencies. One of the key issues for the CIOs is to optimize and realign their technology roadmap to get the best ROI from different products/ solutions which are already implemented by their organization and also leverage social media, mobile and analytics to improve their application and get participation from both internal and external customers.
- The unified customer solutions. The unified customer solutions are driven by the organization’s strategy to provide a single solution which covers the best of BPM, ECM, portal and business analytics to connect customer with their enterprise applications. These solutions should be integrated and dynamic enough to deliver focused information to customers (internal & external) through right communication channels. All information need to be delivered to customers through interactive and user-friendly portals, while effectively managing them through ECM solutions. All processes are streamlined and managed by BPM while they are monitored by Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) solutions that analyze real time and historical data using business intelligence. Further, such predictive analytics solutions closely support in making agile business decisions.
It is no different for insurance companies. They need to implement the best of tools within the organizations to have complete automations which include BPM, ECM, portal development and maintenance, and business analytics to ensure customer delight across all aforementioned touch points.
Most of the IT product (e.g. BPM, ECM, BI etc.) vendors are still focused on their core product functionalities and position themselves as a leader in one technology. Industries are opting for the best of the products for each solution. This arises the challenge of integrating all applications. Now, system integrators (SI’s) are building offerings which cover all enterprise application tools and digital technologies that integrate various systems and provide unified experience when navigating across different products using multiple channels.
The evolving technology trends such as big data analytics, mobile technology, cloud computing, and social media are transforming the ways in which organizations and individuals engage with one another, be it in sales, marketing, infrastructure or operations. Younger consumers are more connected, demanding and vocal as never before. The large and growing proportion of digital customers are technology savvy and demand personalized services and interactions through a range of information channels.
Now it’s imperative for all industries to continuously align their offerings and support the ever evolving technologies which is changing the whole ecosystem. Although most of the organizations take fast steps toward front-end changes to meet the growing expectations, they start having challenges and disconnect across the organization.
Most of the organizations employ multiple teams to manage these solutions across various departments and business units. These teams plan & manage their own budgets/ ROI for solutions/ services selection process & project life cycle based on their business strategies and roadmap with limited interactions. Such scenario leads to high chances of having different products and implementations for similar business activities. Also, continuous change in business is forcing organizations to improve their existing investment but mostly they start adding new tools/ solutions as existing applications will take time to improve and support the changes and respond to the market.
There is a need to have a task force for shared platform which should be represented by all key business groups for creating organization wide technology strategies, standards, best practices, reusability practices as well as the methodology for evaluating the technologies.