Within the last decade, customer knowledge has become a significant marketing resource used to support research, promote innovation, and help uncover new market opportunities. As defined in several books about customer-centric marketing, customer knowledge refers to understanding your customers, their needs, wants and aims as essential for aligning your processes, products and services in order to build real customer relationships. Since the technology has given customers more power than any of C-suite executives ever had, businesses must do more than just loyalty programs to remain competitive.
Most companies understand the concept of customer knowledge but few of them embrace it.
For years, insurance companies have been focused more on their agent sales force than on their end customers. They have been the ones who set the rules and have their customers play accordingly. Now, the tides have turned and insurance companies have to rethink their strategy if they want to remain competitive.
So how can insurance companies start benefiting from their customer knowledge?
#1 Manage customer knowledge with CRM
The insurance industry is characterized by having a great deal of legacy applications that they use for different processes. These systems are siloed within specific business departments which manage and maintain them on their own.
This makes it difficult for insurance agents to get a comprehensive and detailed view of the customer and their value to the company. It also makes it hard to get this information to the actual point of contact.
In order to gain customer knowledge and use it to better manage your customers, brokers, and agents, you have to step away from using multiple different systems and switch to a CRM solution. Having a CRM solution and your data warehouse(s) integrated, you will be able to reach your goals, improve your customer retention, and lower your costs while improving your overall efficiency. By implementing a CRM solution, you will experience the following benefits:
- Consolidated customer view
- Improved growth and retention rates
- Enablement of multi-channel sales
- Improved response times and customer satisfaction
#2 Use the knowledge to really know your customers
The CRM will indeed give you a strategic advantage since you will be able to track your efforts instantaneously, but it will be of little use if the information in it is not the real reflection of your customers. Before the age of customer, it was enough for you to know which products were your customers buying. Now, that information is simply not enough. Insurance industry, as all other, must truly know their customers, their needs, lifestyles, and aspirations.
The traditional methods for customer segmentation that worked in what was once a static market with little competition are no longer enough. Demographics such as age and life stage, and source of health insurance do a poor job in giving information on what is driving customers buying decisions. With the whole industry shifting to a more customer-centric model, insurers must find new ways to differentiate themselves from competitors.
According to a research conducted by CMB, most customers have identified cost, availability and trustworthiness of the insurance company as their most important features regarding insurance products and services. By segmenting your customers based on these findings, you will get a great amount of customer knowledge and use it to target different customer segments with tailor-made offerings and personalized messages.
#3 Improve your customer experience
In a research conducted by PWC, results have shown that leading insurance companies deliver products and services that match their customers needs and preferences by leveraging each touchpoint to attract and interact with them in order to build long-lasting relationships. They achieve it by doing the following:
Deliver customized experiences
Leading insurance companies know that their customers differ in their needs, interactions, and preferences. These are then used to deliver highly personalized experiences, reduce service and product variability, and improve the overall amount of customer satisfaction.
Integrate communication channels.
Almost two thirds of todays insurance customers use social media to learn more about a product or a service. Simply put, we live in a world of now. There is no more room for paper-based and manual processes when it takes Google only a second to spit out millions of search results. By integrating different communication channels, you will provide your customers with continuity of information and an excellent customer service.
Approach your customers in innovative ways
Customers have already written a new playbook for the insurance industry and in it they call the shots, not you. In order to play, you have to know the rules and what better way to learn them than to approach your customers in an innovative way.
One of the most creative and engaging ways to approach your customers is through customer surveys which allow you to proactively ask for their feedback. By having the answers to your customers needs, not only will you save time and energy, you will have an upper hand on both your customers and competitors.