Technology has and will continue to be a key enabler across every product delivery channel within the financial services sector. You simply need to explore some of the newer bank branches, available applications within app stores or investigate online innovations inherent in many institutions’ web presence to see how engrained technology has become in the customer experience. While firms are making this transition in differentiated form factors and across different channels, the trend itself is clear and pervasive; underpinned by the “anywhere, anytime” mantra and the continued consumerization of technology.
These channel developments cut across all products, but all have one common element – enabling improved and increased collaboration between institutions, their clients, businesses and/or consumers to drive accretive revenue. While these developments have and will continue to deliver impressive initial returns, they are largely siloed by either a business unit and/or delivery channel. The true potential value can only be unlocked by enabling a seamless and contextual integration of the physical, direct and mobile channels – the evolution from multi-channel to omnichannel.
The omnichannel model enables the customer to choose how and by what method they want to conduct their business, be that in person, via a mobile device, from the home, online or with telephony. Cisco’s IBSG team has published a white paper that looks into the transformation of institutions from multi-channel to omnichannel. While the method of communication is important, the true differentiator in transformational channel evolution is the ability to integrate interaction. Institutions must be aware of the context and outcomes of customer interactions as customers move from channel to channel, product to product, or business line to business line.
From an institutional point of view, the value in the omnichannel impacts multiple factors. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, collaboration, customer experience, Financial Services, insurance, omnichannel, remote expert, retail banking
Cisco attended the Next Generation Insurance Summit (March 11-13) in Newport Beach, CA and the Best Practices in Retail Financial Services Symposium (March 13-15) in Carlsbad, CA. Some of the top minds in the financial services industry were in attendance and it was great to see these leaders deliver ideas and solutions for how to further the customer experience for both industries as well as the agent experience in insurance. Both conferences focused on reducing the amount of time it takes to adopt new technology and innovative ideas for competitive advantage, a current problem many financial institutions are going through.
At the Next Generation Insurance Summit, Cisco’s Michael Cantwell, Financial Services Solutions Architect, delivered a keynote on building a customer centric distribution network and how the expectations of today’s insurance customer has of their insurance institution/agent. He stated that from the end customer’s point of view everything is getting more integrated and simplified, but that insurers have yet to create that agent or customer omnichannel capability that allows for communication channel choice as well as fluid switching during an interaction to answer questions or assist in self-directed channels. Michael also touched on how enabling insurers with new tools and technologies, including sales force automation and mobile devices, will be key to fulfilling overarching business goals of improving sales interactions through traditional channels and, therefore, driving revenue.
Attendees showed immediate interest when Michael spoke about the best methods for line of business executives to work with their IT executives and vice versa. The success of customer retention rates among insurers who have incorporated Cisco solutions to improve customer-centricity was also of special interest to attendees. Read More »
Tags: Cisco, customer experience, Financial Services, insurance, multichannel, omnichannel, retail banking
Money is tight. Everyone wants to feel as if they are getting the most out of every dollar spent. While brand perception and trust are vital, many insurers have refined their customer satisfaction focus to now pursue and measure customer loyalty.
Like many other industries, the insurance industry is experiencing diminished returns on traditional advertising designed to improve brand loyalty and fuel business growth. Ads are no longer a reliable means of driving new business especially with younger, tech-savvy consumers. As a younger generation begins to make insurance purchasing decisions, it is vital for insurance agencies to harness technology in order to connect with customers and build brand loyalty.
Now more than ever, insurance providers are struggling to increase customer retention and are in need of some help. A recent study conducted by Satmetrix gathered the average customer loyalty of various industries and found that insurance was one of the lowest, with a customer loyalty rate of 23 percent. It is likely there is a correlation between this percentage and the lack of technology insurers have to utilize that would strengthen relationships with existing customers. Consumers are clearly expecting more from their insurance companies and increasingly desire a more personalized and proactive touch.
So how can technology help? Read More »
Tags: collaboration, customer relationship, Financial Services, insurance
Retention Trumps Satisfaction
For about a decade, JD Power and Associates has been asking consumers to rate their satisfaction with insurance companies on a simple scale of 1-5. This summer, a study of the auto insurance industry found satisfaction, as measured by this simple survey, to be at an all-time high (2012 U.S. Auto Insurance Study).
Logic might suggest that high customer satisfaction should yield high retention and less price sensitivity, but as is often the case, reality is more complex. It turns out that satisfaction is mere table stakes, and retention is a much more difficult job. Other factors, such as choice of channel and bundling or cross-selling, contribute much more directly to loyalty than this simple score from 1-5 indicates.
In general, today’s consumer wants to use convenient channels such as Web and mobile for simple, low value transactions such as making a payment or updating an address. Those channel preferences shift however, as complexity increases and a more high value interaction with a knowledgeable professional is required. There is very often a point at which a personal, face to face interaction is by far the most efficient way to complete a transaction.
Preferred Channel Service
Source: JD Power & Associates, 2012 U.S. Auto Insurance Study
Today’s insurance buyers must choose between a direct channel insurer where the customer experience is based on Web and phone interactions, and the traditional agency channel based on relationship and face to face (or at least one to one via phone) interaction. The gap between these two models is wide. Neither model currently spans the array of channel choice and interaction model necessary to provide both convenience and intimacy. Read More »
Tags: channel, collaboration, Financial Services, insurance, omnichannel, video
Let me violate what must be the first rule in any insurance blog and start with a recent experience in banking. Don’t worry; I’ll get to insurance quickly.
A colleague at Cisco was meeting with a mid-sized bank just last week. Just as he started describing that all banks need to replace heavy client server branch infrastructures by leveraging virtualization, the bank stopped him with “we’ve already done this.”
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Tags: desktop virtualization, insurance, retail banking, virtualization, virtualized desktop integration