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By Shashank Singh, Digital Transformation Officer, Prudential Financial [NYSE: PRU]
Like it or not, Insurance traditionally had never been an attractive forum to talk about customer engagement and value journeys. The traditional metrics of customer satisfaction had always been retention rate and if the retention rate of an enterprise exceeds the competitive benchmark, it generally used to lay the yard stick.
Question is – Is it good enough?
Is it good enough to map the customer engagement only through retention rate in this digital marketing world? Consumers are seeing the thinning engagement horizon of financial services and they want similar experience whether transacting a retail banking account or buying an insurance product or shopping on e-commerce platforms. Consumers are getting more and more demanding, e-transaction focused, want everything through “few clicks” and let the engagement engine service them.
Below are few effective strategies to navigate through the digital insurance customer engagement cycle.
1. Understanding before engaging
It’s pertinent that customer engagement can’t start without understanding the needs of your customer. Hope you would agree that understanding is the key to the customer loyalty. In typical insurance world, traditional segmentation is inadequate to understand the customer in detail, which would include demographics dimensions like age, income profile, employment and location.
To better understand the customer in today’s digital world, enterprise should:
• Map the customer journey through their lifecycle
• Establish the connection or event when customer abandons the services
• Create customer-centric services organization to map and deliver the contextual services based on “specific demand” of the consumers
• Create value-tree of his / her family, referrals, friends or any associated members so that the enterprise can understand the experience in more totality, to assess the “overall demand”
To complete the customer understanding, be prepared the measure the effectiveness before and after the sale.
2. Create true consumer personas
As stated above, generic customer segmentation will yield to generic results and outcomes, wherein the result-set can be generalized to wider group of customers, rather than specific customer needs. Henceforth, creating value journey or customer personas will be generalized. Example, customer persona for male adult with age between 25-40 years will be same irrespective if social profile, personalisation or preference is different between these adult male members.
Good personas are representation of good customers. A good persona accurately reflects your target customer’s age, location, goals, social behaviour, emotions, which will result in shaping the better or contextualised products.
To create true and effective buyer personas:
• Don’t assume that you know your target audience. The target audience needs to be mined, understood, patterned and then shaped according to the target segmentation which the enterprise would prefer
• Update personas frequently and see the results
• Review the results based on the updated contents, as sometimes the content may vary the persona definitions
• Create the full journey map i.e. from the interest to the sale closure. Sometimes half-baked personas like buying a product may not show accurate results
3. Apply Intelligence in Customer Engagement
Optimized or contextualised customer engagement is no more a thought but a reality in the digital engagement world.
To better understand your customers' motivations and buying habits, you can leverage a customer intelligence platform to quantify and analyse your customers' spending habits based on demographics, analytics, and data mining.
Relying on an organized and actionable collection of customer data (customer intelligence) is important to understanding the motivation of a particular group of customers and driving higher ROI from your marketing campaigns.
Internally, this customer data can be generated through customer interactions, whether online through browsing histories or in person at different touchpoints. Externally, data can be gathered through several different sources, falling into one of these three categories:
• Personal demographics: Age, income level, debt level, educational profile, marital status, etc.
• Geographic demographics: Rural areas, big cities, small towns, etc.
• Attitudinal data: Survey results, contact centres, reviews, etc.
• Situational customer data: Location, time of engagement, and device type.
4. Marketing in the Digital World
Traditional methods of digital distribution may help but will not gain a lot of traction in the consumer society. Enterprises should look at different elements of digital marketing to connect with the digital mobile social consumers.
• Video on-demand in-demand
• Social media influencers
• Social media stories, themes
• Content marketing
The crux is to integrate marketing activities into customer lifecycle. Given the way the complexity of marketing and digital marketing has increased, techniques like customer journey mapping for different personas are increasing in importance to help define the most relevant communications and experiences for different touch-points in the customer journey.
Reach > Display, Search, PPC, SEO, Content Marketing
Engage > Campaign, Offers, Lead Nurturing, Marketing automation
Convert > Remarketing, Personalization, CRO
5. Measure success
Nothing better than understanding if the hard work has paid off, which would mean measuring the customer satisfaction levels. There are 3 different KPIs which needs to be measured:
Net Promoter Score (NPS) – it is a measure of how many customers would recommend (promote) your brand to others. More customers promoting product or service would mean positive score. Customer referral scheme would be a handy way to push the NPS score into the positive zone
Overall satisfaction Index – it can be percentile, points or index based rating, wherein you would be able to measure the overall satisfaction (either for offered products or services) has done compared to last the periods. Example, if the satisfaction index has dropped 10% on the claims efficiency, which would mean claims administration process is not efficient and it needs radical customer focus or transformation.
Brand Equity – it is also a handy measurement to understand how the overall brand has done compared to the competition or historically. Example, if the brand equity research (generally done by the third-party) has shown result that the score has increased from 78% to 85%, which would mean that more people are aware of the product or services being offered.
6. Finish off with a survey
Customer is generally pissed when going through a “canned survey” – it’s boring, mundane and create no value-add for his time. Key fundamentals of a great survey are:
• Be crisp and ask about specific question, rather than throwing platter of questions
• Don’t project or force organization’s point of view
• Use ready-made choices
• Complete the survey in less than a minute
• Send the overall survey results in due course – don’t just collect and forget to send the results
There are great tools available in the market to conduct fly-based surveys, wherein the survey can be initiated in matter of minutes and results can be auto-distributed to the participants. It is not a bad idea to throw some brownies (loyalty points) for customer to invest the time during the survey.
The Next Step
The era of consumer engagement in insurance is well underway, and now is the time to seize this exciting growth opportunity. Winners will be those who best connect products and services with the needs of consumers and make the insurance buying experience as natural and smooth as possible. How do you get there?