Surfing the digital wave in Financial Services
As we know, financial services is a rapidly changing landscape and there are many companies out there that will either fall victims to digital disruption or surf the digital wave and become champions of the future. Customers’ behaviours and expectations are ever-evolving too and with this challenge, innovative players are finding new ways to communicate and engage with their customers. In a recent FS Customer Survey from Accenture, two of the most important factors when choosing an insurer/bank were “speedy and efficient service” and “clear and transparent communications”.
“Providers need to work harder to meet their current and prospective customers’ needs, and to deliver differentiated and relevant product offerings via easy to use channels.”
FS Customer Survey Accenture
Pushing forward in differentiating with CX
Technology is out there that makes purchasing or receiving support from an insurance provider simple and human. One such technology is co-browsing which goes further than traditional channels in many ways. Firstly it enables agents to help customers in real-time, enabling a support experience centred on visual engagement. Why is this important? 65% of the world are visual learners. Not only can enquiries and issues be resolved more efficiently and swiftly, but co-browsing can compliment other channels, improving the overall customer experience (or cx for Claims Experience in my made up insurance jargon). Our customer Achmea is pushing forwards in differentiating with CX and use Surfly to improve customer acquisition, service and to improve x-sell & retention by enabling more meaningful contact with customers. Another insurance company that is leading the pack is Direct Line Group. They believe that the price-driven ‘race to the bottom’ has damaged trust and resulted in a poor claims experience for many customers. DLG is taking the focus away from price, instead emphasising its ability to solve customers’ everyday problems. Aviva is another forward-thinker and they recently shared that 50% of the claims that it handles could be made online.
A messenger pigeon is delivering your filed claim
Remember those days when your horse and carriage broke down over at Central Park/New York and you would need to fill in 15 pages of parchment just to file a claim and send it off by messenger pigeon? Ok, maybe the “good ol’ days” are gone but with all this technology at our hands, it’s surprising how many insurance companies still live in a prehistoric age and are not embracing the new communication channels: adapt or die. Sure, these organisations face process and cultural hurdles but someone has to be a catalyst, someone has to be what Henry Ford was to the horse and what Alexander Graham Bell was to the messenger pigeon.
The Great Wall of Forms…
Imagine you visit your insurers website, go to the claims section and suddenly a Great Wall of Forms scrolls in on the horizon of your MacBook screen. It is only natural to have questions on what to fill in with many claims forms out there. When blending co-browsing with traditional channels like a phone call, an agent can have the ability to view a customer’s screen and truly support their claim application or journey. Agents can switch screens as they please and swiftly guide customers to the information they require without compromising service levels. Combine this with video chat and/or make it even easier for the customer by adding a click to chat button on your claims page and you have a winning formula for satisfied and engaged customers.
Cost efficiencies are a big part of co-browsing benefits, because insurance companies resolve the problems of their customers on first contact, and help them instantly access resources and information they seek. Not only does it drive efficiencies but the quality of interaction would improve the user experience. The agent time is freed up to focus on more strategic work. Did I forget to mention that there is also a rare vendor out there that requires no-downloads, no plug-ins and no-installations from the customers side in order to provide a frictionless and secure session for the customer? (cough cough *Surfly* cough).
Investing in digital is the only way forward
Insurance contact centres are also being called on to fuel growth and digital sales within insurance companies are booming. Insurance products are also diversifying rapidly which will naturally require more of a human touch to inform the customer on options. Oh, and let’s also not forget about the increase in competition following years of deregulation and technological advancements. According to The World Economic Forum, sales innovation and investing in modern digital approaches is the only way forward in order to close the widening insurance sales gap – in the US it is estimated that there will be a 20% reduction in insurance agents by next year. Digitalisation can increase insurance sales by 15% and without a doubt, digital channels will replace and augment traditional channels. However, as insurance goes digital, more issues will arise.
Prospective customers who are looking for a quote are likely to have questions which can be resolved much faster if customers are not wasting time explaining where exactly they are stuck on the insurer’s website, especially as offerings expand. A few weeks ago this happened when I was speaking with a provider of cable TV and I ended up shopping elsewhere as it was too complicated and, as always, I had little time. In the fight for attention spans it is technology like co-browsing and videochat that will WOW customers and persuade them to buy.
How to build trust, swiftly
The Accenture article that I mention previously also makes a point that insurance shoppers still would like a face-to-face interaction given the often personal and sensitive reasons for purchasing insurance. They want to make sure that there is a human face, or voice, available to help guide their decision. Trust is one of my favourite topics, having written a Masters Dissertation on the topic. Trust is the precursor of any sale and there is nothing more trusting than being able to see the person you are buying from. Why on earth are call centres still trying to sell insurance over the phone (or even by email that I experienced with one Dutch bank lately)? An insurance agent using a co-browsing/videochat solution can swiftly build trust, confirm their customers’ purchase decision and complete the transaction on average 55% faster, not to mention the higher conversions.
Digital transformation score card for insurers
- Cost reduction
- Customer experience enhancement
- Speed to market
- Sales productivity
- Claims efficiency
“Effective engagement is inspired by the empathy that develops simply by being human.”
Keeping it human
A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across this article about “Eliminating the Human” thanks to the great Tim Ferris newsletter which I found very interesting. The author talks about the reduced meaningful interactions that are happening as a result of automation. In this article he mentions a book that I finally finished reading today, whilst lounging under the sun on a deck chair back home in my beloved Portugal: “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” which provides a thorough snapshot of how we got to where we are. It really is amazing how far we have come as humans, do we really want to throw it all away to the rise of chatbots and AI? Or, is there some light at the end of the tunnel and is there a way to preserve the human touch whilst driving real business value? Visit www.surfly.com, enter a website to co-browse and ping the generated link to a loved one, friend or colleague to see what it’s all about… Happy surfing