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10 lessons in customer journey mapping for the insurance industry

Mapping a customer’s journey can be beneficial to insurers and is key to improving the customer experience. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Mapping a customer’s journey can be beneficial to insurers and is key to improving the customer experience. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Mapping a customer’s journey can be beneficial to insurers and is key to improving the customer experience, says a report from the International Quality & Productivity Center's Customer Experience Transformation: Insurance conference.

According to “Taking Customer Journey Mapping to The Next Level,” customer journey mapping equips insurers and agents to make the right strategic decisions at the right time during future transactions.

Related: 3 Insurance tech trends for building customer relationships in 2017

Customer journey mapping needs to be accurate and representative — which is complicated. Mapping can include complexities like multi-faceted relationships with individuals, various locations, obstacles, challenging needs and multiple product lines.

Successful sophisticated customer journey mapping will unlock opportunities to enhance customer strategies in a targeted, methodical manner, says IQPC.

Related: Insurers facing customer satisfaction challenge

Here are 10 lessons in sophisticated customer journey mapping for the insurance industry.

1. Start with the customer

Insurers should log what clients actually do, not what they assume they do. By tracking the actual trail of the customer, companies can see which aspects can go wrong at certain points, how they can be avoided as well as the things that can go right and how to enhance these occurrences. This map will be of much more use to insurers than a map which is essentially an estimation of the journey customers go through.

Related: Using IoT to better serve customers

(Photo: Shutterstock)

2. Segmenting: Get it right

It’s not enough to collect the right data; insurers also need to have a plan on how to use the data right in order to correctly personalize. IQPC recommends organizing data into different categories — but be careful not to make too reductive categorizations of customers. Instead, using data to sculpt personas will aid in predicting customer behavior.

For example, some have managed to achieve categorizations noting if a customer is of an applauding, neutral or skeptical nature, according to the IQPC report. Other fields of interest could include:

  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Nationality.
  • Occupation Standards.
  • Relationship status.
  • Loyalty and previous transactions with your firm.
  • Activity on social media.
  • Smart device usage.
  • Preferred communication channel.

These aspects are likely signals for a consumer’s wants in their specific life stage. With this understanding insurers can recommend and provide appropriate coverage options as well as field questions or issues and reduce losses

Related: 5 common CRM fails — and how to avoid them

(Photo: Shutterstock)

3. Look deeper

The report stresses the importance of really looking at the data with granularity. If possible, insurers should try going through the customer journey themselves to really understand. If they don’t track the journey with enough detail, insurers run the risk of missing important intelligence that can be gained in improving the customer experience.

Related: How carriers can leverage the power of big data

4. Locate the bleeding

When building the end-to-end proposition, it is important to think about the desired outcomes at each touchpoint, says Ingrid Woodward of Zurich. When insurers note a journey is not going well, they need to ask where does the bleeding occur that creates the issue, and how can it be stopped quickly? Identifying where the issues in the cycle are likely to occur can help insurers empower staff to correct them.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

5. Ditch the jargon

When communicating with customers, insurers should leave the jargon behind. For example, if an insurer needs to inform the insured that it isn’t possible to quote a particular policy or settle a claim, they should explain the situation simply and clearly to the customer, and look to offer alternatives and suggestions.

Related: Want happy customers? Then respond to them

6. Listen to employees

Employees on the front line have extensive knowledge of customer behavior because of their frequent client interactions. Utilizing information from employees on how things can be optimized on the customer journey will be most helpful when silos are broken and ideas are tested, however.

Related: It's the customer experience, stupid

(Photo: Shutterstock)

7. Offer customers availability, accessibility and seamless interactions

Insurers should ensure they can handle inbound leads from a range of sources to broaden the options customers have to interact with them, according to the report. Customer journey mapping can help direct where to place investments first to see the most traction. Smartphones are on track to bypass desktop computers as the number one medium for website visits, so it is important to have a website that is mobile-friendly.

More customers are expecting to be able to take steps in their journey outside of usual working hours. Agency nation notes that there are certain b2b services that facilitate out of hours calls and communications. 1 Fully digital insurer InShared has a virtual assistant online which answers 56 per cent of the non-claim contacts from customers.

Related: Adjusting the customer experience: The digital divide

8. Watch patterns for predictions

Each journey is different, but there are still common patterns within a demographic that can help shape journey predictions. This may incorporate timings of activities and what platforms or interactions should be used. These patterns can bolster forecasting abilities so insurers can be proactive in how they deal with consumers, says IQPC.

Related: Do your data analytics team members speak the same language?

(Photo: Shutterstock)

9. Make sure customer journeys and delivery models align

The insights from mapping the customer journey can help align an insurer’s delivery model and metrics with the average customer journey. If the two paths clash in any places, those need to be addressed to ensure that best practices identified by the data is integrated into the business.

Related: Survey finds insurers not fully realizing benefits of analytics

10. Don’t leave your map in a drawer

Customer journey mapping enables continuous improvement. IQPC suggests socializing journey mapping to customers for feedback. This way insurers can learn whether their mapping is representative to reality. Also, updates should be made to optimize the mapping and the KPIs used.

Related: The first three steps to improving your customer experience

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