Omnichannel customer experiences aren’t enough — carriers must add this element

But there’s more to this demand: carriers must ensure that interactions remain seamless, no matter how customers choose to connect.

If you start a conversation and talk to [the customer]and then complete the transaction in the app — which needs to bring all the elements together,” Shore said.

“This raises the level of complexity that businesses have to contend with when meeting digital demand [communication]: the ability of all channels to interact and merge together.”

Seamless digital experience

A disjointed omnichannel experience only leads to customer frustration and carrier retention issues.

Think of a customer looking to file a claim or adjust their policy on a company’s website, Shore said. If the website doesn’t do what the customer wants it to do, they end up calling 800. They have to start from the beginning because the customer service representative who answers the call because the customer service representative doesn’t know who they are or what they actually tried to do.

“You just get so far with them before you need to talk to someone else. You have to make some decisions and then come back, maybe try doing it in the app and start over,” Shore said.

In contrast, a seamless omnichannel experience could involve the customer seeking help online through a chatbot, and then being contacted by the appropriate agent who can address their concerns. The agent can initiate the right actions for the customer on the app or website.

“It’s more than saying customers prefer digital because that’s obvious; customers prefer digital, but they also prefer the whole system to work together,” Shore said.

“If you don’t say you connect with your clients, you lose relevance and face growth and retention challenges. It can lead to profit challenges because you end up writing clients who don’t match the profile you want.”

Evolving customer needs

Nationwide, it is not uncommon to cater to rapidly evolving customer needs. One of the largest carriers in the United States, they offer a range of personal and commercial insurance policies, including auto, homeowners, pet, farm, and life insurance.

“We’ve seen these changes continue for a while, but the need to meet them has been accelerated by COVID-19 and next-generation shifts in our customer bases,” Shore told insurers.

Seamless digital experiences aren’t the only customer trend that the pandemic has brought hard. Customers also want to feel sponsored by their insurance companies.

“In this time of ongoing instability, whether it’s the pandemic, social or geopolitical upheaval, or economic issues affecting families and business owners, customers are focused on nurturing. They expect to be nurtured by the businesses they do business with, especially in our category,” Shore said. “.

“These emotional tolls and elevated expectations for care are something we at Nationwide are very focused on. Our job requires us to protect people and businesses with great care.”

Emotional communication with clients

For an EVP, Nationwide’s mission of “Extraordinary Care” can be expressed through the smallest and most humble of forms.

For example, the company’s rapidly growing pet insurance business began sending out handwritten sympathy notes to pet owners who canceled their policies after the death of their beloved animals.

“We mention your pet by name and express our sympathy because we know people love their pets like a family member,” Shore said.

The program has sent more than 6,000 messages of condolence to bereaved pet owners. Such actions help strengthen the emotional connection between the carrier and its customers, according to Shore.

“Sure, we can just send a check to say, ‘Here’s the final vet expense.'” And taking that extra step doesn’t have to be expensive or high-tech, she said.

What are other ways insurers can improve the customer experience? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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