Customer Experience and the Data Dilemma

August 25, 2016 by Anne-Frances Hutchinson

Eight little words should become the mantra for any insurer intent on improving customer experience:

Get the data right and the CX will follow.

Life insurers, unlike their P&C counterparts, are still far from the day when every byte of customer data they collect can be integrated into contemporary workflows and transformed into a market share-building bonanza.

Customer experience will increasingly drive sales as insurers recognize that the age-old “sold, not bought” philosophy no longer applies to new generations of customers who will insist on taking control of their transactions.

There is near-universal agreement that creating great CX is the key to profit building in the sector. For example, 90 percent of C-level insurance execs responding to a joint Marketforce and VisionWare survey agreed with the statement, “the data revolution is making it more viable for insurers to differentiate on personalised service.”

Customer-Centric Differentiation in Insurance: Meeting the Data Challenge hammers home the common knowledge that customers are demanding flawless service that’s convenient, personal and delivers solid value for the price. Fortunately, the authors don’t stop there. “This will require systems that allow a single view of the customer across data that is currently held in disparate product and channel silos,” they add.

Two-thirds of the respondents agreed that insurers should focus on creating the ideal single customer view, 70 percent regret investing too much money on new data sources and analytics prior to having reliable baseline customer data in place.  

No wonder there’s a “once burned, twice shy” attitude in more than a few insurance company corner offices when it comes to data tech solutions.

  • 25 percent report being “significantly deterred” by previous failed projects

  • 75 percent admitted that the “failure of CRM projects to deliver a single customer view has deterred insurance firms from investing further to achieve that goal.”

  • 77 percent stated that technology mistakes have stymied past data integration projects

Among the other reasons participants cited for shying away from new data tech investments are:

  • Slow and/or poor ROI

  • High cost

  • High levels of complexity

  • Lack of understanding

  • Complexity of data integration

  • Difficulty of process change

  • No central accountability for data

  • Mistakes in technology selection

  • Unclear business outcomes

  • Weak board buy-in

Despite their reticence, over 76 percent of those surveyed “agreed their senior management should place more emphasis on the value of data as a strategic asset.”

The report’s authors rightly point out that the data dilemma requires more than technology to be resolved. “(P)eople and processes must also be aligned to deliver this corporate-wide vision.

This is often the hardest part of any change programme, so board-level buy-in and sustained executive-level sponsorship will be a prerequisite for success.”

Download Our White Paper on Bringing Big Data to Life Insurance

For the industry to move forward from a low-margin, high churn “necessity” purchase model to a much more lucrative two-way, personalized service model, life insurers will have to find their way through their existing data mazes and emerge with quality data.

As the report stresses, there’s no point to investing in new data sources until insurers “have mastered the quality, accuracy and accessibility of their existing data.”

To get comfortable with this sea change, we suggest gathering your key executive, tech and marketing stakeholders in the conference room, turning down the lights and chanting:

“Get the data right and the CX will follow…get the data right…”

Keep chanting – and digging -- until you get there.

At Captricity, we do more than chant when it comes to helping you access data from stovepiped or deeply siloed legacy systems. To see how our technology works for 50% of the U.S. top insurance companies, check out our Insurance Product Offerings.

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