3 Ways to Shift to a Direct-to-Customer Insurance ModelLast updated: May 7, 2020 | 5 min read
To date, brokers, agents, and wholesalers have been the main point of contact between insurance carriers and customers. But recent events and ongoing changes in customer expectations have started to shift this dynamic considerably.
Now, customers, especially millennials and younger generations, are looking for a digital experience that centers on their personal needs and interests, while giving them more control over the buying process. Top insurers and new market entrants that provide reliable information and self-service capabilities have become the market leaders, while carriers that rely exclusively on the agent channel to manage customer interactions risk being left behind.
There’s no denying that shifting to a Direct-to-Customer model requires plenty of time and resources. However, the benefits are proven to be well worth the effort. Here’s how you can transition to a more customer-centric approach that will boost acquisition, improve retention, increase operational efficiencies, and give you a competitive edge.
1. Create a Strategy
Before you can begin your transition to a customer-centric insurance model, you need to create a strategy outlining your goals, and how you plan to implement it across your entire organization. For your strategy to be effective, it’s crucial that every functional area within your organization – from marketing to claims to customer support – communicates consistently at every touchpoint for a seamless customer experience.
Consider modifying or updating your value propositions, product offerings, marketing strategies, technology, and communication processes to reflect your new customer-centric approach.
To create an effective plan, start by:
- Future-proofing your customer experience
- Integrating interactions across all channels, digital and print
- Investing in flexible technology
- Rethinking your processes
2. Find the Right Technology
When it comes to providing customers with the convenience, speed, and ease they need, technology is the best way forward. By using the right digital applications, tools, and online channels, insurers can maximize sales while delivering personalized experiences that engage customers and provide information in a user-friendly way.
Start by implementing a multi-channel strategy that includes web, mobile, social media, email, phone, and print. The best customer-centric models are often electronic-based and feature easy-to-use, responsive, two-way technology and content. Customers will immediately disengage if the communication or technology is difficult to understand or not sufficiently intuitive.
Additionally, technology must be standardized across the entire organization to ensure that customer touchpoints do not get blocked or stalled in a department or silo.
When reevaluating your technology to fit your new customer-centric approach, review the following systems:
- Core systems, e.g. your policy administration system
- Payment processing platform
- Customer communications management (CCM) platform
- Customer portal
Here are a few ideas to get started with your digital-first customer journey:
- Personalize the language, format and delivery channel at scale using advanced CCM
- Help prospects and customers understand their insurance needs, and help them make the right decisions with automated chatbots and live calculators
- Send mobile alerts and reminders to reach customers instantaneously
- Customize upsell and cross-sell activities using insight-driven technology and advanced CCM
- Offer online claim filing and management through highly interactive web-based forms and documents
- Allow customers to make quick policy updates and search for information anytime and anywhere with responsive web-based forms and documents
- Use social media to interact with your customers and provide references for potential customers
3. Enhance Your Customer Experience
Once your strategy is in place and you have identified the best technology to implement it, you can begin to fine-tune your customer experience.
Find out What Your Customers Need
To meet customer needs, you first have to know what they are. Insurers using legacy technology tend to struggle with this, as information is often siloed and inconsistent. By implementing modern technology, insurers can access detailed customer data, track interactions, and capture inbound information.
Pairing an advanced core system with a CCM platform will enable you to gather valuable customer insights, such as their preferences and interests. You can then use this data to optimize customization in communications and improve the overall experience for higher levels of engagement.
Create End-to-End Digital Experiences
A successful direct-to-customer (DTC) model focuses on meeting customers’ needs quickly and thoroughly. To do this, you need a consistent end-to-end experience. This means executive leadership, such as the CIO, will need to ensure technology can cut across multiple departments and functional areas to break down silos.
Maintain Support Channels
As you shift to a DTC model, it is still important to maintain support channels and licensed agents. Unique and complex situations will require trained professionals to ensure a satisfying customer journey.
To help agents deliver a faster, more efficient, and consistent response, consider supporting them with technology that streamlines access to customer information.
Now is the Time to Move
Customer expectations and the market are changing quicker than ever. So, when it comes to shifting to a customer-centric model, there’s no time to waste.
If you’re an existing GhostDraft customer who’s ready to make the move, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If you’re not yet a GhostDraft client but would like some assistance with your customer communications, one of our insurance CCM experts would be happy to help. Get in touch with us today!
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