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Blog: Getting personal with digital

Ben Legg, Open GI

Is the fear of losing a personal connection preventing insurance brokers using digital to help create the experience customers expect?

We all know that customer expectations have transformed. They had been slowly evolving, but changes in their behaviour during the Covid pandemic have since seem them accelerate over the last two years. Customers’ digital use and interactions are now firmly embedded into everyday life.  They are used to instant access, being able to order anything and everything online whenever they want.

Customers have the same expectations when researching, purchasing, and managing insurance. They want the speed, access, and convenience they experience every day.

The insurance industry has been slow to embrace digital however, so brokers have been playing catch up for some time. Yet, for some, part of their reluctance in fully committing can be attributed to the fear of losing that personal touch which differentiates them from their competitors.

Brokers who have embraced digital can more easily meet quickly changing customer expectations, but on our experience, they do not forget the essential role the personal touch can play too.

Creating the digital experience

When creating new customer journeys and user experiences, brokers need to review their business and look at the problems they are trying to solve. Digital can help – but it will often only be a small part of the solution.

For example, a niche provider of insurance for mobile phones with a low value, high volume product must implement a 100% digital customer journey to make it viable. That digital journey needs to enable a quick yet simple customer experience that delivers the right policy to the customer in minutes.

When selling personal lines insurance like motor or home, digital applications have become essential in creating an efficient customer journey. Supporting them with elements of personal customer support and expert advice helps in creating the holistic user experience customers love.

Automated workflows, quote-and-buy websites, and customer portals are just some of the digital solutions and applications that can help create a flexible and efficient customer journey.  A quote-and-buy website delivers the instant access customers expect by allowing them to browse quotes and purchase policies online at their own convenience. Customer portals make all the policy information available to view and be managed online by the customer, whenever they want or need it.

The availability of policy documentation online is not only simple to use and convenient, but it has huge environmental benefits too. The reduction in paper usage and the energy savings in delivery are important to customers, as well as businesses, as net zero approaches. There is also a greater understanding that customers want to use businesses that are environmentally responsible, and this can only enhance their user experience. 

The lack of any personal support during the customer journey can, however, be frustrating for the user. How many of us have unsuccessfully tried to speak to a person on some of the large eCommerce websites? 

By including the possibility of talking with one of the expert teams by phone or even an online chat function, this will remove frustrations that could negatively impact customer experience.

Combining digital solutions with expert, personal support when required will result in a broker that can add tangible value.

Commercial and the personal touch

The customer journey for purchasing commercial SME insurance is different to the personal lines categories, so the balance between digital and building the personal relationship through expert support changes again.

By relying less on automated workflows and quote-and-buy websites, an accurate view of the business and an assessment of the risks involved can be better achieved with an open conversation with open questions. This will ensure the right information is discovered more quickly, leaving both the broker and customer feeling confident that the right policy is produced.

Once the policy is accepted, the documents can be sent to a customer portal for easy access, reference, and management, perfectly combining digital applications and the personal connection to create that all important customer experience.

Undoubtedly, digital can help deliver great user experiences, but when creating your customer journey, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It is what is right for your business. Your customers have expectations and digital can help meet them, but by making expert advice and support always available too, you are also ensuring the personal touch is here to stay.

Ben Legg is chief product officer at Open GI and is taking part in our webinar on 28 February 2022 which explores how digital technologies are driving rapid change within the insurance market whilst also creating new opportunities for tech savvy brokers.

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