Solution Partner Views
Quality Customer Experience Goes Beyond Digital
With all the talk and effort in the industry to deliver the ideal customer experience through digital channels, the reality is that interaction with customers won`t always be digital. Insurers would be well served to take a broader look at the customer experience to ensure that every customer touchpoint whether digital, hard copy or face-to-face offers a consistent quality, look and feel, and effectiveness.
It just doesn`t reflect well on a carrier when its mobile and online presence looks positively 21st century while printed communications look straight out of the 1980s or 90s. Confused policyholders can translate into unhappy policyholders and may be more likely to move to another carrier.
The days of customer interactions being limited to initial sale, claims, and billing are gone—as well they should be. Increased frequency and expectation of interaction, make it all the more critical that quality and convenience be achieved. How and what policyholders receive from their insurers directly impacts how they view their carrier and their ongoing decisions to continue to do business.
Millennials have led the way in expecting more at the time of initial purchase and before they renew coverage. They are looking for more than an annual premium notice. With more options than ever before they want greater access to personal files, more self-service, and 24 X 7 service. But other demographics are now following suit. Today`s policyholder—regardless of age—expects more choices, including an interactive relationship via portals, and faster more convenient communications via mobile devices.
While carriers are challenged to meet these new demands they cannot afford to forget that all communications are not and will not be digital. Print and mail will continue to be a necessity to doing business. While the instances and volume of print and mail may lessen significantly as digital continues to become more mainstream, there will always be some policyholder preferences and certain circumstances that make print and mail an ongoing part of the insurance business.
Let`s face it, even with the digital age upon us most people are still using paper to some degree and there will still be times when even a millennial policyholder requests a printed bill or policy. It could be the policyholder isn`t ‘connected` or for some reason they didn`t get the digital communication and for regulatory reasons you need to ensure they receive it.
As a company focuses attention and effort on the emerging world of digital communications they risk losing sight of how important print continues to be and subsequently overlook the implications of failing to have a single, unified approach to managing all forms of customer communications—regardless of the medium.
Additionally, if there is a disconnect between the look, feel, and messaging contained in digital versus printed communications the carrier will undoubtedly experience some negative effects and it won`t be the sort of customer ‘experience` they were hoping for.
While most may not notice if communications look and feel different depending on whether they are digital or print, there will always be those who will take note, including your competitors. How the company is represented through all forms of communication needs to be considered—whether digital, print, video, brick and mortar, or face-to-face. Achieving a consistent level of quality and message won`t happen by chance.
Beyond how the company is perceived via communications, there is the issue of compliance. If policyholder communications delivered via different channels are produced by different sources, processes, and technology silo, how can a carrier make sure that all are compliant?
Because print has been around so long, most carriers probably have a better handle on how to ensure regulatory compliance of printed materials than those delivered via newer digital methods. That said, compliance assurance processes put in place for printed communications also may need to be modernized to more easily translate to digital processes. Again, this calls for a single, unified approach to developing and delivering all policyholder communications, regardless of the delivery format.
The goal should be to maintain a viable and modernized approach to printed communications that melds with and reflects the look and feel of on-line and mobile communications. The longer-term goal would be to leave the choice between digital and print, or a combination, up to the policyholder or agent—where regulations allow. There may be times when a policyholder prefers a digital premium notice and other times when they prefer hardcopy. With the goal to deliver the ideal user experience, ease, flexibility, consistency, and choice will always be required.
Print communications shouldn`t be left in the dark ages as insurers strive for the ideal policyholder engagement and experience through digital. A holistic view of communications—including print should be included in the engagement and strategy. Like it or not, printed communications still have a long life ahead in our industry.