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Future-proof? Adopt a customer-centric approach

Sutherland’s Romy Nash discusses why insurance firms have five years to either develop a customer-focused approach or lose market share
Sutherland’s Sonia Sedler

Traditionally, insurance companies have competed on product or price, either directly or via intermediaries. By 2023, however, this is set to change and customers will place a higher value on experience rather than product or price.

This is a huge opportunity for innovative insurers. Those that get it right will thrive, and those that don’t will see their market share consistently chipped away.

To give customers an experience they really value, organisations need to take a customer-centric approach.

Technology can help to improve the user experience to a certain extent, but a combined approach of people and technology is needed to truly benefit the customer in a meaningful way. Simply introducing technology without a thought for the customer will alienate the end-users.

New technologies introduced to the market, such as robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and machine-learning will only deliver business value if the customer is the focus.

One mistake often made is when insurance firms use technologists to design digital technology solutions. So now more and more organisations are starting to incorporate design-thinking and conduct customer journey mapping exercises to develop a better understanding of the customer.

Customer journey mapping synthesises what happens in the customer experience, and explores how a consumer interacts with your brand from origination to completion and beyond.

Sutherland combines the skills of psychologists, anthropologists, strategists, ethnographers, designers, film-makers, software engineers, product managers, service designers and many more, to listen to what customers are saying, and to understand the pain and pressure points they are facing.

We bring together design thinking, insurance domain expertise, and a deep understanding of business processes to get to the simplified solutions that work for you and your customers by:

  • Researching the problem and understanding customer journeys, their pain points and the potential for creating new, more positive experiences
  • Using creative ideation techniques to generate insights, brainstorm possible solutions and go beyond conventional thinking
  • Creating rough prototypes, or piloting new ways of working, to test and refine service concepts based on representative feedback.

Once organisations take a customer-centric design approach that puts people at the centre of the problem, they can produce insights to design and develop relevant customer experiences. The most innovative insurance companies align this to business requirements, allowing them to rethink and rebuild smarter processes, and design the right mix of digital technologies.

Research has suggested that companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement retain an average of 89 per cent of their customers. That’s compared to only 33 per cent for companies with weak omnichannel strategies. By harnessing the skills of your most valuable asset – your employees – you can deliver digital technology at scale and speed, giving the end-customer an exceptional omnichannel experience.

Sonia Sedler, managing director for Europe, at Sutherland explains: “Our clients tell us Sutherland has helped them to rethink their activities by taking a holistic human-centric approach and analysing the potential customer value in each process, versus alternatives such as process changes or software solutions.”

Customer centricity will be the difference between the victims and survivors in what remains a difficult environment for the insurance sector.

The industry must pay attention to its customers, anticipate their needs and exceed expectations across each channel of engagement. Organisations must also look within to ensure business operations are efficient, effective and agile enough to deal with the ever-increasing complexities in serving its customers.

The survivors of this industry will ensure that when they engage with their customers, they deliver consistent, personalised and memorable experiences across every customer touchpoint at scale, while keeping a laser focus on operational excellence across every business function.

Sutherland will be discussing the future of insurance at TINtech 2018, the sector’s leading digital, technology and innovation conference, on June 5 in London. 

To learn more please visit www.sutherlandglobal.com/our-work

or contact Romy Nash, Europe, Middle East and Africa insurance sector director, at Sutherland

Romy.nash@sutherlandglobal.com

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