Effective service, polite staff and value for money drum innovation, says insurance customers.
Although many consumers express interest in the new bills offered by the insurance companies, carriers must still ensure that they provide the best value for money. It is clear that insurance customers want both "brilliant bases" and innovative "merged value proposals". Insurance companies that market themselves as pioneers of innovative technology, but neglect traditional customer service, risk alienating their policyholders.
Indeed, our Consumer Study in Global Financial Services found that consumers in today's digital environment still expect and value over other considerations fast and efficient service, quick problem solving, access to polite and knowledgeable staff and value for money. They believe that these conventional customer service functions are more important than, for example, loyalty programs, personal product recommendations or well-known brands.
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Consumers' insistence on high personal attention does not signal a rejection of the many digital innovations introduced by insurers. Not at all. It is simply a sign that consumers realize that they are holding their whip. They are increasingly expecting the kind of personal, simple and customer-friendly experience they already receive from GAFA, retailers and the rapidly growing range of insurance providers.
It is obvious that most consumers are not interested in innovation for their own sake. What they are interested in is the service improvements that innovation can provide.
Our research shows that most insurance customers want their suppliers to understand them better and use new technologies to improve the quality of their service and the range of their offerings. They are particularly keen to get quick and easy access to their insurance companies and the products they need, from a variety of physical and digital channels. Two-thirds of the customers we have developed said they did not remember how they communicated with the insurer, provided they could get what they wanted quickly and easily.
We have reached a tipping point in the insurance industry. Most customers now want to engage with their suppliers through a seamless suite of multiple service channels rather than being limited to using an office or branch network. Physical withdrawals will continue to be important but not as an alternative to digital channels. Instead, they will be key components of a package of channels that provide customers with the flexible service they demand.
The user experience, especially the speed and ease with which customers can engage with their insurance companies, becomes more important to consumers than the price and range of products available to them. Innovation should not be judged by its technical sophistication. Instead, it should be measured with the ability to delight customers. When I studied some of the 395 posts we received for the Efma-Accenture Insurance Innovation Awards, I saw some amazing examples of companies applying technology to delight customers. I really recommend that you take a look at the Efma Insurance Innovation database. It includes many impressive examples such as AXA Partners PLEEZ digital personal assistant that combines artificial intelligence and human skills to provide highly customized concierge services.
In my next blog post, I discuss how insurers can best develop a multi-channel distribution strategy that strengthens ties with customers. Meanwhile, I think you can find these links useful.
2019 Global Financial Services Consumer Study