Picture yourself in the office on a Wednesday; it’s sunny, 78 degrees outside, and you are talking with your customer, Kaitlyn, whom you haven’t spoken to in roughly six months. Kaitlyn called to request adding her son, Peter, and his new Honda Accord to her auto insurance policy. You are able to retrieve her profile in your policy admin system (PAS) to find just enough information to answer her questions. You have a short discussion about Peter and throw in a few good-humored jokes to alleviate some of her stress about her son’s safety being on the road.
Upon disconnecting with Kaitlyn you think, ‘that was a really great call’! You were able to touch base with a customer you haven’t spoken to in a while and add a new vehicle to her policy. Just then, you realize you’ve only accessed the auto insurance screen and completely overlooked updating Kaitlyn’s home and life insurance coverage. As it turns out, she has three lines of business with you and relies on your counsel to address her insurance needs. Why can’t your PAS see it that way?
Why must it be so difficult to have one, 360-degree customer view?
Let’s start by examining why a 360-degree view of the customer is not just a good idea, but essential for your business. Customers are thirsty for as much information as they need (yes, need). The fact is, the majority of customers look to their agent as the expert, to provide them with the information necessary to ensure they are covered in the event of an accident, unexpected home emergency or worse yet, the loss of a loved one. To the customer, this is all covered under one question, “Am I OK if something happens?”
The unfortunate truth is that with legacy systems and numerous mergers across the insurance industry, many policy admin systems are piecemeal at best and lack a comprehensive view of the customer. So, when Kaitlyn calls your office, she expects that you have the full picture of her business with you; unfortunately that is not always the case. The alarming fact is that having a 360-degree view of your customer is not a new concept! This idea has been around for years; however, now that there is a concentrated focus on customer experience, the necessity of achieving a single customer view is top of mind for insurers.
If this is what customers want, why don’t insurance companies give it to them?
The short answer is usually, “we’d love to” and “it’s complicated”. The long answer deals with integrating systems that for years have never communicated with one another. A 360-degree customer view consists of the following: a customer’s personal information, any policies and products they’ve purchased, claims information against those products and any previous communication history with that customer. That sounds easy enough to produce; however, existing IT systems don’t necessarily function that way. Legacy systems might reach out to several different databases to pull the information that customers need. This not only takes time, but it fails to provide a holistic picture of existing customers because each system only shows a piece of the whole picture.
Furthermore, independent agents often service customers across multiple insurance companies. Imagine having one holistic view of a customer, what would that be worth to you? This would not only save time for you and your staff, but it would also allow you to ask the right questions at the right time for the customer; ensuring they have the coverage they need as their lives evolve. For the customer, this enables them to rest assured that all of their insurance needs are met.
West Monroe Partners helps our clients work through these challenging issues each day and we tackle it from a three-pronged approach. For more information on our solutions and how they can help, visit our insurance and customer experience practice pages.