5 Ways Insurers can Make On-boarding Customer-centric

Customer-centricity is a common theme in the insurance industry, but what does it mean in terms of the onboarding experience?
According to research from Metlife, enrollment processes that feel too complex cause many potential customers to feel intimidated. Roughly 40% of customers in their research agreed with the statement “I  am confused about some or all of the information regarding my benefits.” In fact, many terms that we in the industry take for granted are not well known by the wider population. A 2016 survey found that only 4% of Americans could correctly define terms such as “deductible, co-pay, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum.”
I’m an idealist. And I believe there is a way to approach customer onboarding which ensures both customer and provider are set up for long-term success. And that is as follows:
Rather than only trying to make a sale, the #1 goal of insurers should be to achieve the customer’s desired outcome.
With this approach, not only should the sale take care of itself, but the relationship is better positioned for long-term success.
Here are some key ways insurers can make their onboarding experience truly customer-centric.

1. Keep the process simple and information clear

The Metlife research also states that many customers today are confused and/or intimidated by the volume of complex information unloaded on them in the onboarding process.
Insurance is a service dedicated to looking after the things people care most about – their house, their family, their health. We have an enormous opportunity to build trust with potential customers from the outset by using plain language, decluttering the information landscape, and avoiding multiple contracts and touchpoints with a single master services agreement.

2. Offer tailored solutions

While generic insurance bundles can offer great value for money for the masses, customers nowadays demand more personalization. In fact, customers today say they are willing to pay more for personalized bundles based on a period of their life. In addition, up to 80% of customers would share personal information with their insurers to obtain personalized services.
As automation and digitalization of onboarding processes increases, insurers have a wide array of data available to both offer the right solution online, or feed agents with the right information for in-person consultation.

3. Offer the right expertise

On a surface level, you could say that expertise is a deep understanding of the product. But in fact, expertise can run much deeper. For example, empathy is a key tool in relationship building. For this reason, leaders teach skills to empathize with customers in a standardized service model such as UCLA Medical Center’s “C-ICARE” framework.
In addition to empathy, delivering a customer-centric experience means avoiding the hard sell. The customer’s objectives should guide the process and drive recommendations, whether the customer speaks to an agent, or enrolls online, solutions should be tailored to them.

4. Personalize the process

To consider a fairly obvious situation, your young first-time auto insurance customer may tend to look for and even sign up for coverage online. However, a retiree looking for health insurance may do initial research online, but require extensive face-to-face consultation as they move toward the decision-making phase.  

A seamless omnichannel approach is critical for both these situations and your onboarding process should cater to both these user profiles. Again, this is business critical. Accenture calls this “segment-specific opportunities to personalize offers, messaging, pricing and recommendations across physical locations, web, mobile or call center channels”.

If insurers don’t provide a personalized omnichannel experience, they will “risk forfeiting their share of diminishing revenue pools.”

5. Delight the customer with visual engagement

As we approach 2018, the ability to engage with the customer via the channel of their choice – in-app, on the phone, via video or chat, or in person – should be a given. But what if there was a way to move beyond simply connecting in the channel of choice and using digital tools to delight the customer at the point of interaction?
Consider this: Instead of merely interacting with the agent only through chat, call, or video, your agent simultaneously shares a webpage with the customer, fill in forms on your website, and highlighting parts of interest with a virtual marker. This takes the engagement to a level of clarity and personalization not often seen in the insurance enrollment process – and is a genuine point of differentiation. (Pro tip: You can try it out for yourself for free right now at this link: https://www.surfly.com/register/).  

Let me know what you think!
These are a few of the ways I have seen leading insurance companies create customer-centric onboarding processes. But I’d be very curious to hear your thoughts too. Do you have feedback or other ways insurers can ensure a truly customer-centric experience in the onboarding phase? Let me know below!