The insurance industry is experiencing some unique and interesting trends when it comes to acquiring and retaining customers. In the past, the key differentiators for a company were its products and cost. But today’s consumers are different, and cost and product are increasingly taking a backseat to other factors – namely customer and brand experience, and how businesses anticipate and react to customer needs.
This shifting customer paradigm is the focus of a new report from Forbes and Insurance Tech Insider sponsor, Pitney Bowes Software. This report, “Understanding Your Customer: The Foundational Enabler of a Superior Experience with Customer Information Management,” focuses on the challenges that insurance companies face when aiming to become more customer focused and more responsive to customer needs.
Today’s insurance companies are attempting to utilize the mountains of data available to them to get a more complete picture of their customers. By doing so, they can better understand their customer, deliver better, more personalized service, and address their concerns and needs.
However, the paper found that companies attempting this face a difficult obstacle. Interestingly, that challenge isn’t technology, or institutional inertia, or even a lack of funding; it’s the data itself.
Companies store customer data in disparate databases, spreadsheets and systems. Important customer information gets jotted down on post-its, and sent in emails and saved in Excel workbooks. It’s scattered across the organization with no single place where it can all be accessed and analyzed. Worse, it’s woefully incomplete, or inadequate, or incorrect, or out of date.
The paper quotes findings from a Gartner Research study, which found that, “Poor data quality is a primary reason for 40% of all business initiatives failing to achieve their targeted benefits.” And that’s all because data wasn’t accurate or stored centrally.
If the 40 percent number wasn’t enough to convince you about the importance of data quality, there’s another issue that insurance companies need to be concerned about. These industries are often referred to as “highly regulated industries,” and for good reason. The federal government has strict rules with steep penalties for companies that play fast and loose with customer data.
As the Forbes Insight accurately reflects, “For certain industries, especially banking and insurance, the question of data quality is broader than just a foundation for a superior customer experience. Being compliant with national and international regulations to mitigate and identify illegal activity, like money laundering and fraud, makes it imperative for these institutions to have an accurate handle on their customers’ data.”
Insurance companies have a new challenge – to improve their customer experience and become more responsive to customer needs. They can’t accomplish that with poor quality data. And the need to get their data quality under control doesn’t end there – with federal regulations making it a requirement. However, there are technologies that insurers can implement to overcome this data dilemma and get the 360 degree view of the customer necessary to attract and retain customers in this new business environment.
The report released by Forbes and Pitney Bowes Software does an excellent job of laying out the role of data in today’s insurance industry, the problems that poor quality data can create for companies and how technology can help overcome this problem. To download a complimentary copy of that report, click HERE.