by Charles Sybert –
Most people think of the digital interface as the primary Customer Experience (CX); however, it is only the beginning. l will tell you a story to highlight my point.
I was ordering equipment to update my home office from an electronics website (not Amazon) which uses Amazon integration to complete the payment and shipping transaction. Once I received the devices, I realized my design wouldn’t work with my laptop and quickly returned the equipment. I saw credit for one of the devices but not the other on my credit card. I contacted the website, and they said I didn’t include paperwork for both orders, but they would look to see if they can find it. She called me back as promised, and they didn’t find it but asked for the tracking number. I provided it to her, and she said they would contact me in 3 to 5 days with an update. As expected, she called back and apologized they could not find the equipment but would credit back the amount.
When looking at CX, you need to consider every interaction and company response. While I was slightly annoyed they didn’t send me both return slips, I was very impressed with the same agent’s follow-up, awareness of my issue, and the empathy expressed. Looking at this experience, it required knowledge of my return, integration with the warehouse to look for the missing parts, communication back to the call center, the agent receiving the notification, escalation to management to override the non-recorded item, and payment processing. These systems worked flawlessly together with a customer centric point of view, providing me with an impressive experience.
Traits of a Highly Engaged CxDNA
Delivering the ideal customer experience is a never-ending iterative process. Once the foundation is built and the techniques have been optimized, new trends will appear, and new expectations will be laid upon the company to improve it. No matter the trend, some essential traits demonstrate your organization is meeting expectations.
A customer has questions about a policy endorsement, needs to add coverage, or has a claim, does the customer leave that transaction with a sense of satisfaction? This does not mean the task is complete, but rather the customer does not feel additional interactions are necessary to convey their concern. When the customer has a claim, can they quickly call into a call center and report the issue, receive some preliminary insight into the process and expectations for completeness and receive empathy from the CSR? If the customer chooses a digital reporting approach, can they do all of the work from their phone without downloading an application? Are the steps clear, concise, and pointed to reduce the time the customer has to “be stranded on the side of the road?”
Are the workflows expected of the customer simplistic, graphical with clear expectations to complete the task. Insurance is complicated, cumbersome, and trying to gather the necessary information for underwriting or claim management can be challenging, but we need to break that process down into a comfortable and familiar customer experience. Customers are not insurance people, and for some, it is the first time they are going through the process, which can be very scary, especially if it is their first claim. The screens, menus, and interactions need to naturally flow and not be cumbersome, requiring the user to click around, hunt for the desired action, or become confused, which will only frustrate the customer and create a negative perception.
Knowing Customer Needs
Know what the customer is expecting during the workflow process. When completing a policy application, you can access third-party data such as vehicle details from a license plate, reducing the data entry. During a claim entry request, use AI to analyze the damage picture, request confirmation of the damaged area, and clarify the photo and completeness for the adjudication purposes. The focus is on reducing the time, entry, and effort required to complete the task and creating a positive moment with the customer when they are in a time of stress.
Trends in CX
According to Forbes, 59% of customers will care more about the customer experience now than they did before the pandemic. Meeting the ever-increasing demand of the customer will require capitalizing on the latest trends within CX.
The agent experience (AX)
Digital technology is continuing to provide more customer self-service options. Still, there will always be a need to speak with a company representative due to unique service requests not supported online, complete an FNOL, or other activity. Focusing on providing a delightful AX experience is more than a friendly voice, it is an empowered and efficient agent. The agent will need to have direct access to customer information and efficient systems to process changes.
The ability to communicate and seamlessly deliver interactions on various communication channels such as Agent, Chat, and Call center has started to gain traction. The customer can start a quote online, call the call center to ask a few questions, and complete the Quote with the agent the following day is becoming an expectation.
Interactions need to become a conversation with a good friend instead of task-focused. Consumers want to feel empathy from the company during their potentially highly stressful interactions. When accomplished, 75% of consumers are willing to continue to buy from a brand they trust even when another brand becomes hot and trendy.
Providing the customer with an experience tailored to them specifically and not the general public. Some options include providing tailored offerings based on prior purchase history, what other similar customers have purchased, and market trends. Another option is to display a landing page with customized messaging, display historical interaction information such as providing the claim’s status and a reminder that a bill is coming due, etc.
Making the Change to CxDNA
Evaluate the experience
Creating a successful CX requires investment in both technology and organizational changes. Before starting the upgrade, an objective review of the customer journey to understand the excellence and opportunities for change. Review interactions for customer frustration, details being asked multiple times, not taking advantage of prior information, resulting in a frictional experience. Then divide your customer base into different personas with persona expectations and desires. Review the organization processes and rebuild with the customer experience at the center. This will require eliminating redundant systems, automation of various tasks, and even new technology to create an outstanding experience.
Bend technology to your needs
Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI can bring customer insights that previously were impossible to identify. AI can review unstructured data such as social media posts, Facebook messages, inbound emails and distill hidden trends. This information can be used by marketing, product, and other departments to adjust messaging, refine products or make other changes to be an early adopter of new trends. AI supports the hyper-personalized experience and messaging thorough evaluation of all data points to create a unique message with an outstanding level of empathy. AI also supports the optimization of the business processes by offloading manual tasks, providing a real-time evaluation of customer requests, and bridging the gap of disparate back-off systems.
Virtual Customer Assistants
Using technology like natural language processing (NPL), having an interactive 24 x 7 resource for customers is now possible as though they are speaking to a human. The assistant can be placed on the web page as a chatbot or hold a conversation with a phone caller as the first level of support. The assistants can perform verification of the customer and respond to basic questions such as billing due dates or amounts or even walking the user through a policy purchase. The assistants can also help internal team members by offloading basic help desk tasks like resetting a password or helping HR determine the number of days off or benefit contact information. If the customer has more complex questions, the customer will be handed off to a CSR with all of the prior history available to respond expediently.
Internet of Things
Today, everyone has smartphones, sensors in their home, and even a car that provides valuable data totaling an estimated 31 billion devices. Folding the data from these sensors into CX will create a more familiar experience. When requesting a home quote, the IoT devices such as sump water detection, intelligent smoke detectors, and security systems can provide discounts due to the lower risk. When there is an issue, such as water in the home, the Insurance company can text, email, and/or call the customer using NPL to notify a possible problem. This creates a sense of security for the homeowner and lowers potential claims outlays for the insurance companies.
Example CxDNA experience
Let’s take a look at the steps an average customer would go through with and without an optimized CX experience
Quoting Auto Insurance
|Optimized CX||Standard Experience|
Filing a claim – simple auto accident
|Optimized CX||Standard Experience|
The optimized solution relies upon technology and customer-focused business processes to create a frictionless experience. Insureds are interested in how they have been treated and the empathy from the insurance company. McKinsey analyzed client satisfaction with the auto claim adjudication process, below are the top five drivers:
- Employee courtesy
- Ease of communicating with the insurer
- Employee knowledge and professionalism
- Transparency and ease of the process
- Speed of the claim settlement
Most interesting is the settlement amount ranked 12th on the list. The key driver of satisfaction is customer service rather than the settlement amount, especially when it is smaller.
CX is more than a set of highly interactive and engaging digital screens
CX is the totality of the interaction, inclusive of digital experience, human interactions, and documents. Focusing on the customer’s needs and creating a frictionless experience will drive loyalty and improve the customer’s opinion. By providing a personalized conversational experience, the customer will become your most prominent advocate and sell your brand on your behalf.