Today’s policyholders expect more from their insurers. They want a seamless, digital customer experience. Moreover, policyholders want to be able to connect with insurers through the channel of their choice.
Insurance companies have a crucial opportunity to leverage cloud communications to create a customer-centric experience.
Policyholders want digital insurance communications
At the dawn of the insurance industry, policyholders had to content themselves with a subpar customer experience. There wasn’t always enough competition to switch to a different firm, and even after the market expanded, the concept of a customer experience wasn’t mature enough to serve as a differentiator.
Today’s policyholders are empowered. They have smartphones and use social media; if they have a bad customer experience, everyone will know. Furthermore, they want their insurance companies to offer digital experiences.
Research from Bain & Company looked at over 170,000 policyholders in 18 countries over the period of four years. Between 2014 and 2018, the share of digitally active insurance consumers rose by 60%. Two years later, the number of policyholders conducting business online increased dramatically as a result of a global pandemic.
Even as the economy begins recovering from the effects of lockdowns and health restrictions, Bain researchers believe policyholders will continue to do business online. More to the point, they want to continue doing business online.
The authors of the Bain report noted that the insurers who will be best positioned in the recovery period will be those who use a variety of channels, including digital ones. They’ll show they can connect to policyholders and meet their needs.
What tools can insurers use to create a better customer experience?
A cloud communications platform offers a variety of channels, giving policyholders the flexibility to connect to insurers on their terms. Additionally, it enables employees at insurance companies to seamlessly collaborate, which plays a role in a better customer experience.
How can insurers leverage cloud communications to improve the policyholder experience? There are a number of ways:
- Give policyholders more channels through which to communicate
- Improve collaboration between insurance company employees
- Make it easier to share information between team members and policyholders
- Integrate with business applications to get a comprehensive view of the policyholder
- Streamline the insurance communications process by intelligently routing policyholders to the right person
- Ensure all branch locations have access to the same information
Giving policyholders more channels through which to communicate
Market-leading cloud communications platforms give policyholders a variety of channels to connect with insurance companies.
Policyholders can connect via:
- Phone calls
- Social media
- Video conference
Multiple insurance communications channels allow policyholders to interact with their insurers on their terms. That improves their customer experience because it gives them a measure of control over the interaction.
Improve collaboration between insurance company employees
One of the communications challenges insurance companies face is that departments operate in silos. Underwriters who work in different fields don’t tend to talk to each other about what’s going on with clients. As a result, policyholders don’t end up having a great customer experience because one set of underwriters doesn’t know what another set of underwriters is doing.
With a cloud communications platform, team members can communicate with one another and share information quickly. We’ll illustrate with an example: Julie calls her insurance company with a question about her premiums. The contact center agent she speaks to is able to connect with an underwriter to discuss the policy. Then, the agent is able to answer Julie’s question on the spot without having to call her back or transfer her call. Julie gets an excellent experience.
Increased collaboration makes the insurance company more efficient and more likely to provide first-call resolution for policyholders, solving their problems on the spot and thereby improving the customer experience.
Integrating with business applications to get a comprehensive view of the policyholder
When consumers contact a service provider, they expect that the company will keep a history of their interactions. Moreover, consumers presume that their service provider will refer to that information during an interaction to make it personalized and efficient.
The same holds true of insurance policyholders. When they contact their insurer, they don’t want the person on the other end to guess how long they’ve been with the company or what coverage they have.
Robust cloud communications platforms integrate with business applications such as CRMs. Insurance company employees have the information they need to handle an interaction with a policyholder at their fingertips, ensuring the interaction is tailored to the policyholder’s needs.
Streamline the insurance communications process by intelligently routing calls to the right person
No policyholder wants to be bounced from agent to agent when they reach out to a contact center to resolve a problem. When policyholders have a poor experience with insurers, they switch companies. Research from Accenture showed that 41% of policyholders that had difficulty with their insurance companies said they were going to find a new firm.
Cloud communications platforms feature intelligent routing. This technology transfers policyholders to dedicated customer specialists who can help them with their problems efficiently.
Ensuring all locations have access to the same information
One of the benefits of a cloud communications platform is that it ensures users have access to the same information, no matter where they are.
That means that an insurance company can operate a central location as well as local branches without worrying that data is inaccurate or out of date. Employees can access information from systems of record even if they’re not at the head office.
Create a better customer experience with RingCentral’s cloud communications platform
RingCentral’s market-leading cloud communications platform creates a better customer experience for policyholders by giving them flexible communication channels and boosting internal collaboration. To learn more, get a demo.
Originally published Aug 12, 2021, updated Aug 23, 2021