Insurance isn't a physical thing. It’s a promise, a shared understanding, that an insurance company will be there for its customers when they need it — during an illness, after an accident or after some other trauma. Because of this, insurance isn’t a product most people like to think about when everything is going well.
If you’re investing in new technologies, this may seem like a problem. How can you get customers who aren’t thinking of insurance right now to use your new technologies? Why build a new application if your customers aren’t going to use it most of the time?
The answer is customer experience. People only file insurance claims after stressful events — illness, injury, accidents or other trauma. Your best bet is to invest in technologies that make customers’ lives easier when they do have to file or chase down a claim. If you give your customers an amazing, easy and convenient experience at their worst moment, you'll create a customer for life.
Here are three technologies that have the potential to improve customer experience for insurance clients:
- Mobile applications
- Business Process Management (BPM)
How? Let's go into more detail on each.
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Portals and the insurance industy
Portals are an important way to offer your customers access to documents, information and tools. Portals for insurance customers can offer any number of features. Here are three of the most important:
- Access to Documents: Do you know where your own insurance documents are? Most of us only talk about insurance when we need to prove we have it, ether to the police officer that just pulled us over or to the receptionist at the doctor's office. A portal solves the problem of missing insurance cards or crumpled-up, outdated proof of insurance. It doesn’t matter where your customers are — they can log into your portal, find and print out a fresh copy of their proof of insurance.
- Claims Management: Insurance claims are stressful as it is but the process of initiating and tracking an insurance claim can often exacerbate that stress. Customers may feel they have to jump through hoops to get claims information. Even locating records of a past claim can be difficult. A portal can eliminate that stress by allowing customers to see both their current claims and a history of claims. The portal can also allow them to communicate with you about claims and initiate new ones.
- Using mobile technology: Say a customer needs to initiate a claim from the side of the road, where they’ve just been in an accident. They can log into your portal but can they geo-locate the claim so that you can find them? Can they take a photo of their car’s VIN and submit that to you or will your portal make them type in 17 digits? Your portal needs to be more than mobile accessible. It should also take advantage of the technology your customers are constantly carrying with them.
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Why every insurance company needs a mobile app
Does your insurance company offer a mobile application? Most of the big insurance companies have gone mobile and with good reason. A mobile application connects customers directly to their accounts and to you. They can pay bills through their apps, file claims and even better, access an electronic insurance card.
Not every state allows electronic insurance cards, but many do, and your customers will thank you for building an app that lets them access an up-to-date card from their phones.
If you’re on the fence about offering a mobile app, think about the frustration your customers may feel when they’re in the midst of a crisis and can’t contact you without a phone number on the back of a card that may or may not be in their wallet. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to get in touch with you. An app is as easy as it gets.
The importance of business process automation (BPA)
Business process automation (BPA) is the sort of technology that should be invisible to your customers, even though it makes a huge difference in the way they interact with you. What is it? All businesses have some inefficient processes that are done manually by employees — like data entry or claims handling. Sometimes the manual handling of tedious, repetitive tasks causes errors in customer accounts. BPA uses technology to map out and automate your internal processes.
Take for example, the employee who has to aggregate customer information from two or three different systems. To get the right information into a form, the employee has to manually open two windows and input the information by hand. This is inefficient and probably going to cause errors — once the employee is tired, they are going to make mistakes. If they make mistakes, customers are going to start calling in, justifiably angry about errors. An automated version of this process would be more accurate and would free that worker up for more complex tasks and eliminate angry calls from clients.
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Customer experience, technology and the insurance industry
When you have a great experience with a business, what do you do? You tell your friends. You mention it as a counterpoint when someone is complaining about their own experience. By investing in technology that makes your customers’ lives easier, you’re giving your customers a reason to talk about you.
Interested in learning more about portals, custom application development and business process automation? Give Omni a call – we're Wisconsin technology consultants with experience in mobile application development, web application development and business process management. We can help you get started.
Ready to improve your customer experience?