Leading-edge consumer brands have transformed reactive, legacy service into proactive care-focused experiences, establishing a new consumer expectation benchmark.

Now, this transformation is rewriting the rules for customer experience (CX) in the insurance industry. In the highly competitive industry, delivering best-in-class customer experiences can be a critical differentiator. Combining operational data (O-data) with experience data (X-data) provides the insights that enhance the customer experience offerings and give insurers a competitive edge.

CX Imperative: Why the Insurance Industry Lags Behind

Customers typically have few – if any – interactions with their insurance company. In fact, without a claim or policy change, there is often no interaction at all. This means when an interaction does occur, it takes on a greater level of importance. Furthering this challenge, consumers are becoming more discerning and less forgiving. One in three customers will walk away from a brand they love after just a single bad experience, according to PwC.

How can insurers get a broader picture of the customer journey? The first stop is O-data, which reveals the what. Policy renewal rates are decreasing, attrition rates are increasing, new customer acquisitions are decreasing. This data tells us the insurance company has a problem, but we don’t know why the problem exists.

This is where X-data comes into play, revealing customer pain points — a difficult claims process, a poor digital experience, a slow reimbursement process — that are causing the problem. Together, this data can help insurers uncover the causes of customer churn and identify actions to best address pain points, such as automating the claims process, reducing call wait times, or optimising digital channels for claims submission.

Combining O-data and X-data makes it easier for insurers to unlock powerful business outcomes and:

  • Improve the claims process, reducing attrition and increasing renewal and revenue
  • Deliver a superior digital experience, increasing revenue and acquisitions
  • Strengthen insurer-broker relationships, increasing policy renewals, revenue, and acquisitions

Bringing X- and O-Data Together for True Insight

Forrester research found three components critical to customer experience in the insurance industry: effectiveness, ease, and emotion. These components are critical to building a strong customer relationship, shoring up existing market share, and capitalising on new business opportunities. And they are best assessed through a combination of X- and O-data.

Consider what happens when a customer files an insurance claim. This process can be emotional: Property may have been lost or damaged and a customer’s day-to-day life is directly impacted. O-data tells us about how the claims process is handled while X-data tells us what the customer feels about the claims process.

The X- and O-data from these interactions must be part of a customer’s profile. No matter with whom a customer is speaking, this agent or representative is empowered with the background knowledge they need to be as responsive as possible to a customer’s concern. When insurers have these insights at their fingertips, agents and other front-line employees can provide a better experience, improving engagement and strengthening customer loyalty. These exceptional experiences turn loyal customers into brand advocates, giving insurers a critical competitive edge.

Turning Insights into Business Success

Here’s how three companies put the power of X and O to work for them.

Allianz: Predictive Power of Democratised Insights
Allianz is one of the world’s largest insurance providers, but despite being a market leader, the company recognized it was operating in a market with excess supply and declining rates. Rather than staying the course and risk falling profits and market share loss, Allianz proactively put customer experience at the heart of its strategy to earn lifelong loyalty from clients who see them as an integral, forward-thinking business partner. Working with Experience Management solutions from SAP (Qualtrics), they collected experience data from customers in 22 countries and 16 languages. The company now has a wealth of insights, filtering and prioritising based on location and function. These insights have led to new products, such as protecting customers from risks like cyber crime; new approaches, such as elevating claims processing from back-office to client-facing function; and new reputation management strategies, such as above-and-beyond consultations.

MetLife: Boosting Brand Engagement
MetLife, Inc. is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities, and employee benefit programs. The company is digging deeper into its data for actionable insights that drive brand engagement. For example, in a recent MetLife-sponsored Earth Week contest, participants needed to answer a series of questions to be eligible for a gift card. From the reporting, MetLife was able to determine three winners and the process sparked significant brand engagement.

SwissRe: End-to-End Customer Experience Ownership
Swiss Re merged all its customer experience, voice of customer, and market data from more than 11,000 clients, 25 markets, and 11 languages onto a single, secure platform. The company now has a Web-based, highly secure insights platform that gives users 24/7 access to data. The intuitive interface makes it easy for all stakeholders to become experts on customer experience. This centralised, in-house approach led to a 90 percent decrease in research costs, a five-times increase in speed and productivity, and a seven-point Net Promoter Score increase.

Next Steps: Enhancing CX with Data-Driven Insights

Experience matters. We live in a world where insurers are disproportionately rewarded when they deliver a great experience and punished when they do not. Experience Management solutions from SAP unlock the power of business operations data (O-data) with experience data (X-data) to transform customer experience and drive business success.

As part of the SAP C/4HANA suite, SAP now makes it easier for insurers to combine X- and O-data and gain actionable insights at every step of the customer journey. Learn how you can deliver the best possible customer experience today.

This article first appeared on the Global News Centre.