Brokerage Ops the March 2021 issue

You Should Know Me Better by Now

Take the first steps to building a customer-centric insurance experience.
By Jamie Peers Posted on February 28, 2021

This could be with a significant other, a child, a parent or a friend. I’m pretty darn sure everyone has had that moment, likely many times over!

It is a fundamental part of our makeup as a human. We want to be understood in our relationships. We want people with whom we have a relationship to know our strengths, our weaknesses, our moral standpoints, our views on specific topics, how we will react to certain events and occurrences.

And why should our relationship with our insurance professional be any different?

The truth is, it shouldn’t.

Insurance agents and brokers have a wealth of information about each individual customer (whether that be a company or a person)—from birthdays, policies and claims to earnings and where they live. The data points are multitudinous, and putting them together builds a story about the customer—what that customer wants, how they will react to a given situation, what their pressure points are, and what they may need right now.

So, what are the complexities of implementing this, and how do insurance agents and brokers go about it?

  • Real time—In the midst of a heated debate, it doesn’t help much to have a response that requires more time to learn the person. Amid the boiling point, one ideally should know how to address the person there and then appropriately. The same goes for insurance. When a customer engages with the agent/broker, that advisor should know there and then where the customer is. This requires an immediate and consolidated view of the customer policies, claims, number of calls, age analysis, outstanding invoices to be paid, etc.
  • Business intelligence versus integration—To be clear, business intelligence is an amazing tool, but it is for the most part retrospective. It is still ultimately reporting in hindsight, as incredible a solution as it may be. Much the same as point number one, true integration horizontally across your systems is needed, vertical ETL strategies (extract, transform, load) into business intelligence are excellent and should be employed, but it isn’t the answer to knowing your customer in real time.
  • Implementation—It is all too easy to turn a blind eye to building out your real-time integration: “Where the heck do I start?!?!” The answer is to take on the customer-centric model one step at a time. Start with the easiest step, and continue to nimbly build out the model as you identify needs. Start with something that is bite-size; integrate your customers between your policy management solution and your CRM. Then move to fetching the policies and claims from the policy management solution into your CRM. Then integrate a copy of the customer call recordings from your omni-channel customer interaction solution into the CRM.
  • Customer-centric operations—Implementing the technology is a big part of the challenge. Changing the business’s approach and culture can be just as challenging, if not more so. Make sure the organization is on board with the changes as you roll out data interconnectivity. The organization has to buy in to leveraging the data provided comprehensively. Put a communication plan in place to tell the various departments in the business what is changing, how it’s changing, and why it’s changing. Having lots of data available and not using it is arguably worse than having no data at all. No one wants to end up with a white elephant.

By turning your real-time data integration strategy into a nimble, step-wise strategy, you can get to know your customer and implement innovative strategies that can iteratively modernize your customer engagement.

Be brave, take the first step, and see the ROI start rolling in. You’ll never know if you don’t try, and the first step is often the hardest.

Get to know your customers better through data.

Jamie Peers is director of business development at Synatic.

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