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Articles

Why the Personal Touch in Claims Communications Makes all the Difference

BY Chris Miller

In this hyper-connected, hyper-competitive environment where everything and anything is reviewed and scrutinized online, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to compete on product, price or service alone. With this in mind, the concept of customer experience (CX) has become key as organizations battle to remain relevant and deliver against increasingly challenging customer expectations.

Stacks of statistics point to the dramatic advantages that companies of all industries can achieve by creating personalized, relevant, and targeted customer communications. But reaching that goal is difficult when you depend on complex legacy technologies, cumbersome systems, and specialized expertise.

However, these efforts to streamline the claims process are essential if carriers hope to differentiate themselves in a marketplace that’s increasingly commoditized and prone to quick customer churn.

But carriers need to do more than improve the agility of their claims handling. To truly succeed in enhancing the customer experience, they’ll need to assess whether they have the ability to create content that will resonate with customers—content that’s both highly relevant and personalized.

Consumer expectations are evolving.

The growing expectations of consumers centered around convenience, personalization, and transparency are driving technological innovation in the insurance industry.

Today’s customers now expect better communications. They want to know their insurance company has a unified view of all their claims with them. But the lack of connection between data systems means that carriers can’t make the best use of the data they have to understand customer needs and preferences, and in turn, optimize customer interactions. Instead, carriers often end up flooding customers with too much of the wrong information.

Disjointed marketing efforts risk leaving your customers with the impression that your company is interested in selling them your services, but not interested in understanding their actual needs or acting as their trusted advisor—a reputation that, in this day and age, no company can afford.

In order to stay ahead of the game, insurers should adopt an approach that will enable those closest to the customer—such as an agent, broker or adjuster—to easily reference customer claims conversations, or otherwise personalize the correspondence they send within defined rules that ensure those communications remain compliant, while retaining a consistent look and feel with other customer communications sent by the organization.

But the reality is that developing a truly customer-centric communications strategy is no easy feat, and involves a commitment to collaboration, as well as the right technology and governance to support ongoing consistency of content.

Customer experience (CX) is key.

For insurance organizations, the quality of the claims communications experience will largely define the customer experience and determine whether a carrier will see customer retention or churn. By taking the necessary steps to ensure that your claims correspondence is consistent, timely and highly personalized, you’ll be in a strong position to differentiate your insurance organization in today’s competitive marketplace.

However, companies like Amazon, famous for giving customers what they want, how they want it, and when they want it, have changed consumer expectations on many levels. Consumers now expect to communicate with companies in a way that is personal and relevant to them—even when it comes to bills and statements.

So how can insurance organizations go about making this happen?

1. Business-user control.

Let’s face it: making even the simplest change to a legacy document, like an invoice or a statement, can take weeks or months and cost thousands. And making significant changes or improvements is often out of reach of a typical business user. These days, insurers need the ability to create personalized messages and customized content using text, graphics and images—without requiring IT. In an ideal world, your organization should be able to control the entire messaging lifecycle for all customer communications, both print and digital, and centralize and more easily manage complex message variations, versions, and languages in a cloud-based environment.

2. Multi-channel experiences.

Whether you want to communicate in print or use online, mobile or social media, you need technology in place that makes it easy to reach customers with multi-channel communications in any format. Business users and marketers need to be empowered to easily set up personalized and targeted messaging for use across multiple communications and channels. Once the content has been created, they can then deliver messages to your customers based on their behaviors, preferences, or demographics with business rules in plain language so you don’t have to be a programmer to deliver the right message to the right customer, via the right channel.

3. Leverage data to enhance the CX.

Customers want a seamless experience regardless of how they engage with you—whether it be online, via an app, a call center or in person; and they expect the personal information and data that they have made available to be used appropriately by organizations to deliver relevant experiences.

While this may sound simple enough in principle, most organizations are only using a limited amount of data to try to understand their customers. In fact, most organizations would likely admit to using a fraction of the valuable data available to them, and they will often analyze it using basic tools or spreadsheets that fail to provide a single view of the customer.

What’s needed is an approach that allows organizations to concentrate on delivering superior customer experience, by achieving relevance at every touchpoint based on an understanding of each individual customer—a segment of one.

In the age of now, customers want the call center to know when they have just been on the website. They want brands to adjust their marketing strategies if they’ve made a complaint or negatively reviewed a product or service. This means using data about what’s already happened as well as what’s happening now, to predict what’s going to happen in the future, what the best outcomes will be and make profitable and accurate decisions at each point of customer interaction.

Organizations have huge amounts of data at their fingertips that they can use to predict and plan, to shape products, services, and messages. However, there will be moments when a decision needs to be made in real-time as to what the right content, message, offer or recommendation for an individual customer might be. The organizations that get this right will be the ones that survive.

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