Customer engagement is the means by which a company creates a relationship with its customer base to foster brand loyalty and awareness. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, including marketing campaigns, content creation, and outreach via social media and wearable devices, among other methods.
Typically, engaged customers become repeat customers. In today’s digital world, customer engagement has evolved dramatically, and we instinctively relate customer engagement with the like of Amazon and its hassle-free e-commerce experience. For many, Amazon has set the benchmark by which we now assess any form of customer engagement.
As customers, we now expect an Amazon level of service from all of the companies that provide us with a service, be it renting a car, buying a home, planning a holiday or getting insurance.
Customer engagement hasn’t always been a top priority for insurers. In order to create a memorable customer experience, insurers are not only competing with fellow financial conglomerates, but also with the mind-set of a customer who wants the same immersive user experience throughout all their purchased products and services.
For insurers, the focus has traditionally been on the initial sales process and claims, with many minimizing their engagement with customers between those two points, on the basis that it costs them to stay in touch. The result of that attitude, and the industry’s hesitancy to embrace technological advances, is that engagement with insurance has waned.
How was Amazon able to achieve this status and how are insurers embracing the approach?
Amazon leveraged advancing digital technologies like social media, applied data science and machine learning to maximize customer engagement.
Some insurers are now looking at how they can also leverage data and innovative methodologies to better engage their customers. Personal line insurers are further along than commercial and specialty insurers in using digital means to engage and are investing time to research and analyze their market position to build greater brand awareness, and increase the relevant touch points between insurer and customers, which leads to increased customer loyalty in the long term.
Polywizz, one of our Startupbootcamp InsurTech London startups, analyzes a client’s entire insurance portfolio through deep learning, then cross-analyzes it with the information the carrier has on the customer to determine when a customer is over/under insured, giving the insurance agent/broker a better tool to cross-sell to existing customers.
Avi Yaacov, CEO at Polywizz said:
“Insurance is by nature based on low-frequency/high-attention interactions. To create a trustworthy relationship insurers should think about how they turn these few rare interactions into something that’s valuable and meaningful for the end-customer? The challenge is in the presence of knowledge gap between the insurers and customers, the added value insurers are able to provide usually revolves around coverage types that the customer doesn’t have with the existing insurer.”
The emergence of InsurTech startups has also brought about a considerable change in the customer engagement model. Startups are changing the basic insurance operation model with alternative business models, by implementing one fundamental element – personalization.
One of our Hartford InsurTech Hub startups, Rozie AI, offers an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to design personalized customer engagement and robust business intelligence solutions, for enterprises.
Sudha Meghan, co-founder, Rozie AI said:
“Rozie AI is all about meeting customers where they are and giving them the information services that they need, at their fingertips. Then it’s about remembering them over time and delivering them proactive care and anticipatory guidance for their engagement journey.”
“Insurers are already investing significantly in customer experiences, but it’s not always meeting the end consumers’ requirements. There are two things to consider: you need to deliver personalized concierge service to your consumers, and at the same time, be able to employ all of those insights for tactical and strategic activities for your organization. We need to make sure that when we’re delivering rich customer experience, that we’re not losing the audience across business lines or functions,”
added Vijay Dheap, co-founder of Rozie AI.
PicUp, a startup from Israel in the Startupbootcamp InsurTech London cohort, is an AI-powered optimization platform for B2C phone calls. Its real-time technology allows a personalized interaction without the need for an app to be installed on the user’s device.
Lior Shacham, CEO, PicUp said:
“We believe that consumers will prefer human interaction over bots and general help pages. While it is true that it is possible to speak to a real person on the phone in today’s customer service world, the process of actually calling, waiting on hold, and finding the right person to talk to takes ages. At PicUP, we strive to provide a platform that makes the phone call experience more attractive and user-friendly. We do this by cutting out long wait times, enabling a more accessible connection with a real person, and finally by adding an interaction layer to improve functionality via a schedule/defer call feature, a signing feature, and photo-taking mechanism to send necessary documents and information directly to insurers.”
The future of customer engagement in insurance
In the insurance domain, the customer engagement level had always been less than that of other consumer products as insurance was not tangible. To maximize profits and drive new opportunities, insurance companies must develop strategies to deliver a truly personalized experience. Every day brings new challenges and changes to the customer engagement model and insurers have to think far beyond the current horizon to achieve success and mark themselves as a unique player.
For most customers, insurance companies all look the same. You only need them when there is a problem and then you have to navigate through the legal minefield. As customers are looking to simplify and mobilize nearly every aspect of their lives, smart insurance companies are already hands on implementing the latest advancements in mobile and wearable technology.
TrueDime, a US startup in our Hartford InsurTech Hub program, provides self-employed individuals – including freelancers, sole proprietorships and small business owners – with a benefits platform that meets their unique needs.
“Engagement for TrueDime is about being there for our customers when they need it the most, as part of everyday life. Customer engagement is about providing what they need when they need it.
Customers typically engage with an insurer only when there is a loss. Our customers see us as partners, who are there for them through good and bad. We have that added context that we bring to a difficult situation, that helps us help them better.”
In comparison to fully disengaged or indifferent customers, an actively engaged customer is less sensitive to pricing and is more likely to stay with the insurance carrier. If managed properly, customer engagement has the potential to bring in substantial business gains for insurance companies. For those daring to rethink their customer experience, the upside to customer engagement will be huge.