The new customer experience – or how so many carriers are getting journey mapping wrong

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7 February 2017
Karlyn Carnahan

Journey mapping, the process of defining the customer experience, is an activity that has been gaining in popularity over the last two years. Carriers are using this technique to document the existing customer experience in order to identify areas to improve. The underlying assumption is that a superior customer experience will drive retention and perhaps improve new business. Which makes sense. After all, it’s pretty evident that customers are demanding a different relationship model from their insurers. They are looking for more transparency and simplicity. They are increasingly self-directed and financially literate. And they are demanding increasing participation.

Their expectations are increasingly driven by experience in non-insurance categories. I can see where my uber car is real-time – why can’t I tell if my claim check has been issued. I can custom assemble a new pc online with instant knowledge of all the options available and the price associated with them – why can’t I tell what additional insurance options are available and what they cost. I can get recommendations from Amazon on what I might like and what others like me are purchasing – why can’t I get good recommendation from a carrier to help me compile the best package of coverages, terms and conditions to suit my profile.

While efforts have been made to drive effectiveness for insurance processes from an internal perspective, there are still many areas where improvements are possible from a customer perspective. So carriers are working to define an extraordinary experience for customers. They’re defining personas, mapping the new business acquisition process, the billing process, claims, complaint handling, customer inquiries, and all the major processes that occur when customers interact with carriers.

But that’s the problem. Carriers are focusing on optimizing all those places where the customer and the carrier interact. Now don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with this. Carriers should make sure that interactions are optimized. Focusing on automating decisions, automating correspondence, and using workflow to assure tasks are completed in a timely manner can have a dramatic effect on delivering a consistently good experience. Omni channel, real time, digitization – all those trendy words – are very relevant here. But it’s not enough.

If you really want to build loyalty, think about the customer experience when they aren’t interacting with you. Let me give you an example.

Allstate has a target market of motorcycle riders, and has a mobile app for them called GoodRide. The app is available for both Allstate customers and non Allstate customers. It helps riders keep track of all repairs and maintenance. They can plan a ride - checking weather, locate gas, and even find others to ride with as it is integrated to social media. They can track their ride by adding notes, adding photos and tracking miles ridden. There’s even a gamification element that awards badges. And by the way, they can report a claim, check proof of insurance and pay their bill. So this application really looks at what motorcycle riders are looking to do outside of the insurance interaction and embeds the insurance interactions within the full context of the customer’s life and where insurance itself plays a role rather than simply looking at the interactions discreetly.

In the commercial lines world, a similar application could be industry based and provide tailored risk management materials, an “Ask an Expert” corner where customers can check in with risk management consultants, create a Facebook-like collaboration mechanism for customers to talk to each other, arrange discounts on products relevant to the industry. and of course, access their policy online, pay a bill, pull a loss run or handle other interactions.

Expanding the customer experience beyond the pure insurance interactions makes a carrier more relevant to a customer by engaging in their everyday lives and looking for ways of adding value within context. And it creates a way to have an ongoing conversation with a customer – building personal loyalty.

So – is customer journey mapping a good idea? Of course. Are carriers thinking big enough? That is a different question.

What I will say, is exactly what I told a carrier earlier today - The secret to organic growth? Deliver a customer experience that your competitors can’t match.


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Asia-Pacific, EMEA, LATAM, North America