Eighty-five percent of CEOs in the insurance industry say the pandemic accelerated their digital transformations, according to a recent global survey conducted by KPMG International. The survey revealed that eight out of ten people believe COVID-19 spurred the creation of digital customer experiences, new business models, and new revenue streams.
While the initial goal was to better serve customers during lockdowns, digital sales and service delivery are critical in helping insurance companies provide a streamlined and personalized customer experience while also tackling the increased threat of commoditization. Now more than ever, buyers view insurance as a product that delivers the same benefits regardless of the carrier, so the decision comes down to price.
Digital transformation is more than putting a digital skin on existing products and processes. It’s necessary to rethink the entire approach, from how products are discovered, to how they’re evaluated, purchased, and consumed. You need a communications platform that empowers your team, engages your customers, and adapts to the changing business world.
Changing Customer Expectations
In 2019, Bain & Company conducted a global survey of more than 174,000 insurance consumers that revealed using digital channels for business had increased by more than 60 percent. Factor in the global pandemic and the resulting shift toward online interactions, and that number is sure to have increased.
Other forces behind this digital transformation include:
- The demands of new consumers. Millennials are now the largest consumer group in the United States. As digital natives, Millennials expect more digital power, such as robust online storefronts from the brands they vet. Like many consumers, they also demand more from businesses in return for their money — they want (and expect) a smooth experience and an efficient process.
- The woes of outdated communications. While the digital transformation was already well underway, it accelerated during the pandemic as most workforces shifted to remote work. Businesses depending on legacy on-premises phone systems quickly learned a hard lesson about remote communication: there’s more to it than switching your office phone number to your mobile one or handling all communications by email. Employees need to be able to respond and triage service requests and connect with their fellow teammates in real-time, and customers want to be met and served how and where they want. Communication tools need to be flexible, nimble, and efficient across multiple platforms and applications.
- The “me” factor. In what seems to be an apples-to-apples product comparison, personalized service may be the true currency of insurance. Even if it’s considered a “rainy day” purchase, insurance is necessary for protecting what we value — where we live, the car we drive, the things we own, and, most importantly, the life and health of our loved ones. Customers need to feel as though they’re valued, and how they’re treated during the service process tells them a lot. Aside from product offerings, today’s customers look for a complete experience when they engage with a brand — from services offered to customized content and wellness check-ins.
Benefits of Cloud Communications
Cloud based communications platforms combine an enterprise-class phone system, unified communications (UC), and contact center capabilities into one platform. In addition, these cloud communications are delivered “as a service,” so insurance companies can rely on an easily accessible, affordable, always-on, and always up-to-date solution to help create the experience that today’s digital-savvy consumers expect.
Some of these benefits include:
Personalization. Personalizing products and services is key to staying relevant and competitive during the digital transformation. Today’s digital consumers are used to consuming content based on previous patterns (think movie streaming or online purchasing).
Personalization also involves meeting users where they want to be met. Not all consumers want a fully digital experience — they may want to “self-serve” by researching, purchasing, and filing claims on a digital platform, or they may seek answers using chatbots and databases. Other times, they may want to interact with a live person for these tasks. A cloud communications platform enables your customers to do all of this, starting with advanced call routing that directs them to the right department (i.e. claims or billing) or individual based on their needs.
A cloud communications platform can also flawlessly integrate with your customer relationship management (CRM) platform to provide inbound record matching and screen pops. This way, your team can instantly see your customers’ contact info, allowing them to offer faster and more personalized service.
One business number. A cloud communications platform assigns every employee a business number that serves as their identity for all communications. Business cards no longer include long lists of office, mobile, fax, or home numbers — businesses can be reached at one number. All communications go to and from the business number, even if the employees aren’t at their desks. Employees can also “hot desk” by logging into any phone in any office location, including their home office, using the number on their desktop softphone or personal mobile device. Instead of using their smartphone’s native capabilities, employees simply access the mobile app to ensure all communications use the business identity.
Having one number means that employees are easy to contact for collaboration — no more “round robin” calling. One number also means that customers know they’re talking to an official representative because the caller ID is your business name, and all communications stay in your communications environment where data privacy and security are assured.
Unified communications. Cloud based communications platforms also combine separate channels into one platform. Your team can call, chat, fax, video call, screen share, host a web meeting, and more — from one application. Unified communications eliminate app switching and streamline communications for your team, allowing them to be more productive and less stressed, and improving the overall employee experience.
Unified communications allow your team members to be more responsive, not only to each other but to suppliers, partners, and, ultimately, your valued customers. By providing your employees with the right communications tools, you’re also empowering them to deliver a better customer experience.
Ensuring Positive Interactions with UC
Cloud based unified communications bring the promise of “one call does it all” to life by delivering communications, collaboration, and contact center capabilities from anywhere, on any device and any channel. It enables faster interactions and more successful outcomes for insurance companies — from insurers and financial professionals to brokers and agents. The right UCaaS solution is the ideal policy to protect what matters: the experience of employees and their customers.
Contact us to learn how to optimize and personalize the employee and customer experience using the all-in-one Broadvoice b-hive unified communications platform.