Interaction, service, emotion – digitalization is forcing insurers to change the way they think

Why should insurers slowly but surely rethink their current process for approaching customers? What will be important in communication in the future? Monika Schulze, Head of Customer & Digital Experience at Zurich Insurance Group and Marie McKelvie, Head of Content & Creative at AXA Insurance, discuss this issue in an exciting webinar on January 25th. Katrin Kämpfner has summarized the most important points.

"Business as usual is no longer an option" – the mindsets in the insurance economy require a change of direction, says Monika Schulze (Zurich). To increase company value and individual positioning on the market, there must be an increased focus on a certain goal: the customer. What sounds intuitive does not sound so simple in practice at the moment.

Nowadays, 22% of customers switch insurance providers. It is easy to understand when you think about your own insurance products: once they have been purchased, they very rarely require additional contact with the insurer. Communication with the customer nowadays is still very low in most cases. Monika Schule reports that the Zurich Insurance Group only has one contact point with their customers per year – Insuretechs can boast twelve contact points.

Insurers are lagging behind in communication. This is a shame, because trust and loyalty–the foundations of the relationship between the customer and insurer that are achieved through regular communication–are intrinsically important. Reason being is the insufficient focus on contact and service for customers and, at the same time, the still-predominant, very pronounced goal of increasing sales and selling products.

It would be so simple to emphasize with one’s customers. Selling insurance may not be among the most exciting activities and it does not create any perceptible added value. Why should the customer continue to contact the insurer after the sale? Thus, a good starting point is frequent interaction and service-oriented thinking – insurers must offer their customers a clear reason, get back to them more often and make them remember us.

But how does one act in a service-oriented manner? This is already apparent in how people are addressed. Positive messages that convey a great feeling are far more favorably received than terrifying news. "We are more than happy to assist if your house should catch on fire" versus "We cover you in any life situation." Now whose product would you rather purchase?

Customer focus also means giving opportunities for interaction. One solution are customer portals that allow for the exchange of opinions and participation. The customer is the focus and feels valued due to their ability to communicate. Once their attention has been caught here, it is a matter of offering the right content and thus, consistently providing them with new and interesting incentives beyond the insurance duration.

In addition, social media are the perfect links and contact points for insurers – no other place nowadays has such a strong exchange of digital emotions and opinions. For example, annoyances about an accident are shared in real time. Why don’t insurers participate and emotionally appeal to customers by offering them the service that they would want the most in this situation?

Contact points clearly need to be revised and digitally augmented. The altered customer journey will be understood – to that end, interactions must be measured, customer segments and their respective behavior must be identified, and the following question must be asked when using digital alternatives: What do I want to achieve? What data do I wish to measure and analyze? Nevertheless, the goal is always to make the customer feel that they are valued and give them a positive benefit.

The insurance market wants to take advantage of the opportunities of connected business. mm1 assists insurers with creating and implementing new, digital business models and the path to greater customer retention.