Insurance: improving multi-channel customer relations by switching to omnichannel

6 April 2021
admin
The proliferation of digital usage has imposed digital innovations on insurance companies to offer their customers a diversification of touchpoints. However, this is no longer enough to keep up with the behaviors and needs of members and subscribers. The insurance world and its traditional multi-channel customer relationship must evolve towards omnichannel. Here are some explanations.
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What is a multi-channel customer relationship?

A multi-channel customer relationship is one in which multiple communication channels are used to either request something or respond to a request. In the insurance world, as in all other areas of business, the multi-channel customer relationship is therefore the foundation of any digital strategy. It aims to cover the entire market and develop sales.

In the case of insurance, digitalization has forced brick-and-mortar companies to go online to reach ultra-connected Millennials. This diversification of digital touchpoints is accompanied by a diversification of services: banks and insurance companies tend to merge to capture an increasingly volatile customer base.

Communication channels for multi-channel customer relations

Multi-channel customer relations were born out of the advent of ICT, which quickly rivalled the telephone in exchanges between insurance companies and their customers. The latter prefer their online customer space or one accessible through a dedicated application on their smartphone, emails, online chat, contact forms, comments, etc…

This enthusiasm for the Internet and its multiple contact options is explained by the flexibility and accessibility of insurance services. In this sense, multi-channel customer relations create value for the customer and performance for the insurer. Moreover, while the Internet is the primary source of information for consumers, it is also highly valued for the less engaging nature of digital communication.

From multi-channel to omni-channel: an inevitable paradigm shift

While the insurance world and its multi-channel customer relationships were still in their infancy, the rapid evolution of technologies and changing consumer habits were already forcing a paradigm shift. The era of the customer relationship was over, giving way to what is now called the “customer experience”.

This new vision puts the customer at the center of their insurer’s interest and attention. But how do you orchestrate all these channels? How do we make this 2.0 communication fluid, where the multiplicity of exchanges risks creating a loss of value in a regulatory context that favors contract cancellations, as under the Hamon law?

Le cross-canal : une étape décisive pour les assurances

Suite logique de la relation client multicanale, le cross-canal ne s’intéresse plus à développer de nouveaux points de contact avec le client, mais à intégrer les canaux disponibles dans le parcours client afin de le fluidifier. Car, les outils digitaux imposent de redéfinir l’expérience pour la rendre cohérente et homogène, notamment au prisme du design thinking.

Si la complémentarité entre les canaux est particulièrement importante pour les entreprises développant le click-and-collect, par exemple, elle peut également être décisive pour les assurances. Leur relation client multicanale ne peut en effet ignorer la tendance du ATAWAC – Any Time, AnyWhere, Any Condition – qui multiplient les occasions de vendre leurs garanties, sans aucune qu’il y ait la moindre interruption de service pour le client.

A 360° view of customers’ expectations and needs

Immediacy and ubiquity, favored by new technologies and the multiplicity of information channels, lead to a strong expectation of customers for transparent and increasingly value-added services. To achieve this, insurance companies must therefore focus on their overall experience through the complementarity of their different digital channels and agencies.

This complementarity is indeed accompanied by a harmonization of the customer experience, which is served by a constant concern for its optimization.
The fusion of channels into an omni-channel thus makes it possible to develop a very detailed vision of each of its customers. It is then possible to advise them in a unified way, but also to advise them on a wide range of products. This targeted strategy leads to a higher customer retention rate and an optimization of insurance product subscriptions. Omni-channel also makes it possible to collect as much data as possible, contributing to the continuous enrichment of customer profiles for extreme personalization of the services offered to them. Finally, it allows the company to use blockchain technology to simplify its administrative processes with its policyholders and third parties such as brokers.

In summary, understanding the evolution of approaches is essential to understanding the value of omni-channel for insurance companies. By adopting this strategy, new technologies provide them with a much better knowledge of their customers, but also contribute to the development of new, fully personalized insurance services. These are all competitive advantages that allow them to build loyalty in a context where consumer versatility is increasingly pronounced and facilitated by a regulatory context that is favorable to them.

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