White Paper: Customer Experience And Web Self Service For The Insurance Industry.
IR Kn OwlE dgE S ERIES August 2009Customer ExperienceManagement and theInsurance ProviderA Blueprint for Online &Multi-Channel EngagementInsurers that fail to exploit a web site as anessential channel option will risk customerdissatisfaction and a weakened competitiveposition by 2010 – Gartner Research
Customer Experience Management 1and the Insurance ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel EngagementThis knowledge paper examines and exploresthe key elements that will allow insuranceproviders of all types to continue to evolve Consumers of all ages aretheir approach to addressing the questionsand concerns of their unique customer base. continuing to use the web asPerhaps now more than ever, one of the best ways their primary conduit to everyto differentiate your organization in the insuranceindustry is through exceptional customer service, type of insurance program, frombeginning with your contact center and webproperties, and extending out to include assisted property and automotive, tochannels, mobile and new media as part of a next life, disability, health, travel andgeneration, multi-channel approach to managing thecustomer experience. virtually every other type of insurance.Whether the journey begins on a smartphone,via a new social media channel, directly on yourcorporate web site, or via a direct call to your contactcenter, best practices demand speed, consistencyand a truly uniformed approach to managing In this competitive market, customer attrition iscustomer interaction. not only due to the increasing usage of the Internet to shop for services. Another significant factor ofThe Web as the Lynchpin of a Multi-Channel customer loss can be attributed to poor contactCustomer Experience center customer service.To say that the web has become an important toolfor customer interaction would be more than just A study by the Claes Fornell International Group,a “minor” understatement. The insurance industry an employee and customer satisfaction consultancy,is facing a veritable explosion in the number of showed that nearly 61% of insurance customersonline customer service interactions over the who have had a bad contact center experience willcoming years. Due to the increased convenience, consider switching companies, and 26% said theyindependence, speed and value of the Internet, will definitely switch companies because of a badconsumers of all ages increasingly are using the call center experience.iiweb as their primary conduit to insurance plansand services, from property and automotive, to life, And, a Genesys USA Consumer Survey furtherdisability, health, travel and virtually every other highlights the high stakes of customer service.type of insurance need. In this survey, 48% of U.S. consumers said that customer service has the biggest impact on theirAn insurance report by Capgemini reveals that loyalty to a company, and 44% said that a poor31% of non-life insurance customers have changed contact center experience was the sole reason theyproviders in the last five years.i Consumers are stopped doing business with a company.iiigoing on the Internet to compare prices, assistedby the growing popularity of data aggregators that When compared to other industries, satisfactionpresent insurance products as undifferentiated with insurance contact centers is lower than levelscommodities sorted by price. Also, the power of found in other industries including banking,the web has extended its reach to include mobile telecommunications and catalog retailers (seetechnology that allows insurance customers to Figure 1 next page). Overall, the insurance marketengage with their providers wherever and has a lower satisfaction level than the aggregate ofwhenever they choose. all industries.iv
Customer Experience Management 2and the Insurance ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel Engagement Figure 1 Satisfaction with Insurance Contact Centers is Low Compared to Other Industries Industry Satisfaction with Overall Industry Contact Center* Satisfaction**Health, property and Aggregate of all industries 71 75casualty and life insurance Catalog retailers 80 74+companies have contact Banking 77 77center satisfaction scores Cell phone service 69 70that lag catalog retailers, Cable and satellite television 68 62banking, cell phoneservices and cable and Insurance 68 75++satellite television. Personal computers 64 77 * As measured by the Call Center Customer Satisfaction Index ** As measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), using the same methodology + Score represents ACSI for retail industry overall, not just retailers ++ Includes health, P&C, and life insuranceFor most if not all insurance institutions, increasing With Opportunity comes Challenge:customer satisfaction online is just good business. the Multi-Channel RealityNot only do such solutions and strategies promote The picture is not all rosy however. As more anda seamless, multi-channel experience for the more transactions, sales and service interactionscustomer, they also provide the institution with the in the insurance industry continue to involve theability to improve both overall loyalty and bottom Web, your organization’s opportunity to influenceline savings by moving customers to the most cost customer perceptions about brand, net promotereffective service channel. score, loyalty and advocacy increasingly begins online. The new reality now demands that organizationsIncreasingly, the web sites of insurance providers of all types provide rapid, concise information toof all types have a fairly large impact on the overall customers across a variety of self-service and assistedsuccess of the entire organization. Insurance channels, and this can be a daunting mandate.providers can and should strive to differentiatethemselves on service that, more often than not,involves the web at some point during any salesor service engagement. So it’s critical that the Many insurance providers areexperience be productive and be in line withcustomer expectations. not able to provide a truly consistent experience acrossSatisfied online customers are more profitable,more loyal, and more likely to engage in positive multiple channels duringword of mouth, and if they increase their use of any given inquiry process.the web site for informational and transactionalservice, cost savings increase through the valueof right-channeling.
Customer Experience Management 3and the Insurance ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel EngagementThe insurance industry needs to embrace online Online, the Status Quocustomer experience management, and adoptnew and innovative ways to manage the customer does not Sufficeexperience in the emerging multi-channelenvironment. With the web as a new channel, Damaging Effects of POOR SITE DESIGNproviders will be able to gain new insight into Although the online growth trends for insurancecustomer value. They will be able to leverage this providers continue to trend upward, and multi-information by tapping in to the unique insights that channel customer experience has taken on a neware sometimes only available via online interactions. meaning in recent years, many web sites are notThis type of web to multi-channel customer designed with a clear customer focused approachexperience strategy is now readily found in the and as a result struggle with navigational elements,financial services market. layout, content that reads as collateral, site depth and complexity, static FAQ’s, and the ubiquitousThat said, many insurance provider web sites are not site search that returns numerous links. In addition,designed using a customer centric process and as a many providers offer a ‘disjointed’ customerconsequence users cannot find relevant content and experience across assisted and self-serve channels,information quickly. In addition, many insurance with information flow in the contact center oftenproviders are not able to provide a truly consistent lacking continuity to web interaction.experience across multiple channels during any giveninquiry process. For example, providing customers A recent Jupiter Consulting survey revealed that 54%with the ability to seamlessly transition between of consumers visiting a web site came looking foronline and offline (self-service and assisted channels) product and/or service information. Once on theis often non-existent for many insurance providers. site, a third of customers had a difficult time findingThe resulting frustration causes consumers to either the information they were looking for, and the topleave and go to a competitor’s web site or re-connect three reasons that customers leave sites early arein a more expensive channel – such as email, phone directly linked to poor site design and service flawsor in person for example. (see Figure 2 next page). Site Search and FAQ’s Prove Inadequate Most corporate search platforms often do little to help the situation. Approximately 63% of consumers continue to be frustrated with web site search because it cannot understand the real question and 57% believe search results are not related to their specific topic of interest.v As most of us know from experience, web site users who utilize search often have to hunt and peck through large numbers of possible links to find answers buried somewhere in the detailed content of search results. Static FAQ systems, the other pervasive alternative, only deal with a subset of questions and require visitors to “find a question”. Many self-service solutions today lack relevance, speed and accuracy. Research indicates that approximately 47% of customers are looking for a faster navigation path and 33% want a tool to provide a single accurate response or advanced FAQ (see Figure 3 next page).
Customer Experience Management 4and the Insurance ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel Engagement Figure 2 Site Visitor Frustration Can Lead to Devastating Results: Lost Sales and/or Tarnished Brands leave the website and go to a competitive website 45% Be less likely to visit the site again 45% Be less likely to buy from them online 40% leave the website and give up 24% Contact customer service via e-mail 24% Site visitors are more likely to opt for Have a more negative overall perception of the company 21% an alternative site Contact customer service via phone phone regarding my experience 18% than both to contact Be less likely to buy from them offline 18% customer service. Tell others about my negative experience 16% I have never been dissatisfied 4%Question: If you find yourself dissatisfied with your ability to find the 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%necessary information you sought when first arriving on a website or aspecific product/service page, which of the following are you likely to do? Percentage of Site Visitors(Select all that apply) Select responses shown. Figure 3 Effective Navigation Tools Resonate with Site Visitors Ability to easily navigate from home page and find what I seek 47% The ability to send an e-mail to customer service 36% Frequently Aked Questions (FAQ) web page 33% Question box that enables you to enter a question and get a single, accurate answer 33% Search tool that offers a list of search results 30% Text-based online chat 13% Call back option, where I enter my information 47% of customers are and phone number and customer service calls me back 13% looking for a faster navigation path A link to information About US that is easily found 12% and 33% want a tool none of these would be helpful 8% to provide a single The ability to make a phone call to the company via my PC, cllicking a accurate response or button and talking through my computer’s microphone (VoIP) 5% advanced FAQ. Other 2% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Percentage of Site Visitors
Customer Experience Management 5and the Insurance ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel EngagementInsurance Customers are Goal Oriented 3. ASK: Relates to customers seeking assistance toCustomers come to interact with insurance provider correct or rectify a customer service problem –web sites and service agents armed with a goal often caused by a failure to meet customer needsin mind, and usually they have a specific context and expectations in the DO and BUY categories.associated to their visit or inquiry. We can group Example: ASK (Goal Oriented) - a customer hasthese key objectives into three major categories: a dispute with the timing of a bill paymentDO, BUY or ASK. The definition and an example made online. A customer may have theof each of these three categories are as follows: following ways of asking the same question: • Can I report a bill payment problem online?1. DO: Involves the desire to perform a task that leads • How do I report a bill payment issue?to the customer engaging in an assisted or self-service • How do I correct a billing error?transaction online or started online and concluded inanother channel. • What action should I take to correct a Example: DO (Goal Oriented) – when a customer payment problem online? wants to expand their insurance coverage with the provider. During this process a customer may The DO, BUY and ASK goal categories help us have a simple question which can be phrased in understand that there is a solid link between numerous different ways: customer intention and customer action, often in the form of a question or search • How do I expand my life insurance coverage for information. More importantly we learn to cover long term disability? that while there is often only one common • Can I also get disability insurance through destination or piece of information that will you? allow customers to achieve their goal, they • Do you provide disability insurance? often travel down a number of disparate • Who do I contact to extend my insurance paths to get there. coverage?2. BUY: Involves any task related to the intendedand/or final purchase of a product or service – thismay start and conclude online or in anotherchannel, and often requires multiple channels tocomplete the process. Example: BUY (Goal Oriented) – when a customer wants to purchase travel insurance for an upcoming vacation outside the country. During this process the customer may have a question which can be stated in many ways, for example: • How do I purchase travel insurance? • Can I purchase insurance for travel? • What do I need to buy travel insurance? • Where can I buy travel insurance?
Customer Experience Management 6and the Insurance ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel EngagementThe Expanding Figure 4 Customer Interaction EcosystemInteraction Ecosystem Self-Service Assisted ServiceAssisted and Self-ServiceThere is a lot of confusion surrounding the key Internet Contact Centerchannels and interaction points that can most • Search • Agentseffectively influence the customer experience. • Contact Us / Ask Us • EmailFor many insurance providers, both the web and the • FAQ • Click-to-chatcontact center must now deploy a variety of strategies • Virtual Assistant • Click-to-talk • Instant Answers Cross • Collaborative browsingand technologies in order to service their multi- Channel • Help • Lead Generationchannel customer base. Defining the key elements of • Web Content • Call Center Platforman effective customer interaction ecosystem will help • Databases • Enterprise Platformbring some clarity to the situation. • Secure site • CRM Platform • Applications, Tools • Virtual Assistant and Calculators • Instant AnswersMost customer interaction platforms (see Figure 4)require the capability to manage customer queriesacross two primary sub-categories: Intranet • Search1. Assisted Service – Assisted-service provides or • Ask Usenables human interaction with customers via phone • FAQ • Virtual Assistant Supportor face-to-face interaction as well as the Internet (email, • Instant Answerschat or click-to-call). This type of service is generally • Helpbest suited to the sort of complex, multi-faceted • Contentinteraction that can best be executed by trained • Databasescustomer interaction personnel.2. Self-Service – Self-service solutions offer supportvia electronic means and allow customers toaccess information quickly, or perform simpletransactions, often over the Internet. Self-servicesolutions can include status quo offerings such as sitesearch or FAQ’s, or next generation solutions such asvirtual assistants or instant answer agents.Part of the role of self-service is to transition qualifiedsales and service leads to the most appropriateassisted-service channels. It is worth noting thatemployees and call center agents also have self-serviceneeds that functions within the contact center,branch platforms or Intranet.
Customer Experience Management 7and the Insurance ProviderA Blueprint for Online & Multi-Channel EngagementThe Right Channel –The Right TimeCustomers want the option to be able to transition The Road toward Next Generation Customereasily from self-service to human assistance (via Experience Capabilitiesemail, click-to-chat and click-to-call, etc.) to get help Today’s leading insurance providers should deployand advice for more complex products, services both the technology and the customer engagementand transactions. Ideally, this should and can be processes to allow them to:accomplished in a single session with no loss of • Identify the customer goalcontext or information. For an insurance provider, Actively and intelligently determine thethe goal is seamless cross-channel information customer goal by engaging them onlinedelivery. For the provider’s customers, this translates (increasingly regarded as the seminal first pointinto a positive customer experience. of customer interaction) • Equip the customer with access to quick, consistent information A positive cross-channel Provide customers with an effective solution so experience can substantially that they may self-serve increase First Contact • Connect the customer to service channels Provide a natural and consistent cross-channel Resolution rates escalation at the correct point in time relative to the product or service complexityA positive cross-channel experience increases • Provide consistent answersthe ability to achieve first contact resolution. Offer consistent information and overallUnderstanding early stage web activity, customer experience throughout the interaction, acrossqueries or online information requests can allow multiple touch-points and interaction platforms,providers to segment customers and move those including emerging channels such as mobile textidentified as key prospective customers quickly to a messaging and new social media channels suchseamless cross-channel experience to complete the as Twitter and Facebooksales or service interaction that much quicker.Most insurance providers are nothing if not multi-channel businesses, and as such they must addresstheir customers’ needs as they progress through theirjourney towards achieving their goals. Best practicesdemand that organizations be equipped to managethe customer experience via the preferred channelof the customer – whether it’s online via self-service,online via assisted service, or offline through a phoneor in person.For some insurance providers, this process can behindered by silos of informational hierarchies – withmarketing owning the web site, contact center owningmany of the customer interactions and with neithercommunicating effectively with the other. Or, silosmay exist with technology systems – each group hasall the information but getting the information out tothe customer is the roadblock.