Improving the Customer Experience with Clean Data
October 26, 2015
As competition grows in the insurance sector, carriers and their agents are looking for new ways to build and maintain customer relationships. Insurers who can consistently deliver a great customer experience have an advantage that sets them apart in a competitive marketplace — an edge that can persuade customers to stay with the current insurer rather than opting for a competitor who offers similar coverage for less.
Most insurers only have contact with customers when the policyholder files a claim; however, It doesn’t have to be that way, and in an increasingly connected world in which customers expect personalization and remain in constant contact with family, friends and business associates, it shouldn’t be. Thanks to a growing set of technology tools, insurers can now reach out to customers using automated voice, text, social media, email and other platforms to communicate with customers about a variety of issues.
For property and casualty insurers, customer communication initiatives related to catastrophic events can be an excellent way to increase customer safety, improve service levels and strengthen relationships. Before an impending event, such as a hurricane or wildfire, companies can reach out via automated voice messages, text, social media or email to warn customers to stay safe and provide pointers on property documentation. After events occur, companies can again reach out to customers to let them know the location of mobile service centers and provide tips on filing claims.
When insurance company executives consider these communication options, the vast majority of them immediately grasp the potential for strengthening relationships with customers and improving satisfaction. But that requires accurate data. Executives, without exception, worry about the quality of the data they currently have because customers rarely communicate with their insurance company except when they have a claim to file - this time lapse, between contacts, often results in outdated information in the database, including old phone numbers or addresses and incorrect mortgage holder information.
To implement a truly effective customer outreach program, insurers need up-to-date contact information (including landline and mobile numbers), customer language preferences, mortgage holder information, communication preferences (e.g., text, automated voice, etc.) and information on covered property, such as whether it is a primary or secondary residence. In addition, insurers should obtain customer consent for company outreach and commit to respecting customer preferences and boundaries.
But before any of that can happen, insurance companies need clean data. So what’s the best way to ensure that the information on file is accurate and up-to-date?
As part of their daily operations, companies come into contact with customers, and virtually every transaction is an opportunity to update customer information as well as gain insight into preferences and obtain consent for future contact. But since only a small percentage of customers will contact the company in a given year, most insurers will require a more proactive effort to clean up their database.
It’s now possible to securely and efficiently improve the customer database using a third-party vendor. By leveraging existing records and using automated voice and other technologies to contact customers, verify data and secure consent for future outreach, vendors can transform a database that is riddled with inaccuracies into an up-to-date records repository that insurers can use to build and strengthen relationships — typically for less than $0.20 per updated record.
Once insurers have clean data to work with, they can not only proactively reach out to customers who may be in harm’s way, but they can also use the data to consult with customers about changing family needs, contact them about policy lapses and changes, reach out to address late payments and much more. Accurate data combined with customer consent makes it possible to deliver service proactively across the board.
A recent industry outlook report from Deloitte indicates that while insurers are better positioned for sustained growth in 2015, capitalizing on data will be one of the key challenges they face in the future. That challenge will accelerate as new sources of data come online. To pursue growth opportunities, manage risk effectively and build the customer relationships they’ll need to thrive in the 21st century, insurance companies should take the initiative now to clean up their data and put it to use. Companies that embrace the possibilities of data can deliver a better customer experience — and gain a competitive advantage in the new data economy.
About the Author
Founder, President & CEO of SPLICE Software, Tara Kelly (@tktechnow), has a passion for enabling clients to engage in a meaningful, Data Driven DialogTM with their customers. An open source activist and recognized user experience designer, Tara Kelly served as a board member for the International Board for Voice User Interface Design and the Canadian Cloud Council.
Edited by Peter Bernstein