We live in a world of disconnected connection. Our personal devices provide constant access to a boundless trove of information and communications. Our perspectives have become increasingly global in scope. Yet, we find ourselves longing for the same basic sense of community that once united our cave-dwelling ancestors. Leading organizations in insurance, finance, healthcare and technology know this new reality quite well. They ask how they can cut through the noise and provide a great customer experience that ties their brand to basic human emotions.
A Harvard Business Review report concluded that emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers. “Companies deploying emotional-connection-based strategies and metrics to design, prioritize and measure the customer experience,” the report said, “find that increasing customers’ emotional connection drives significant improvements in financial outcomes.” Advertisers and marketers are no strangers to courting the human psyche. In these professions, there is little else besides the customer experience. But now the customer experience must become a mandate in all business departments, including engineering and IT.
So, the grand plan to overcome the omnipresence of technology is…more technology? Let’s go through the rationale to why this is the case. While the abundance of technology and data is seemingly at odds with our desire for human connection, technology has also fundamentally changed human nature. Consumers and businesses — and not just millennials — want products and services quickly, if not immediately. On top of that, we still desire a connection to other people.
To this end, innovation departments, data scientists, IT departments and line of business leaders are exploring automation technology from robots (digital workers) to make business processes, workflows, customer support teams, engineering and other departments work smarter and faster.
Their work to automate and improve these processes has already come to fruition in a few key areas. In the insurance industry, the claims processing department deals with a high volume of documents, forms, packets and images. Some of the largest insurance companies wanting faster response times are employing intelligent technology that uses AI and machine learning. They have done away with manual processes that slow them down, particularly those involving physical paper and electronic documents, such as emails and PDFs that are not in a structured format. Their tools automatically capture the data from claim files, recognize and categorize different types of forms and export that data into another intelligent system, such as an automated workflow or claims processing software.
We work with insurance companies around the world undertaking digital transformation projects and incorporating these types of automation processes. Insurance customers using automation tell us that they are processing claims about 87% faster than through legacy processes, ingesting seven times as many documents and claims per year. These organizations are also decreasing document preparation efforts by 50% and indexing by 75%, reducing fraud and cutting improper payments by about 2%, and driving positive ROI within six months.
The automation frees these insurance companies from mundane, time-consuming tasks, allowing them to respond — and make connections — to claimants or billing-related questions quicker. This ultimately yields an improved customer experience. The customers don’t see the technology powering that experience, but they reap the benefits and remain loyal to the company. From that seed, we can grow the emotional connection that all customers want.
We know that emotionally connected customers are the most valuable customers. This seems to be especially true in the insurance industry. Bain & Co. surveyed close to 30,000 P&C customers and found that highly loyal insurance clients: retain at 97%, buy 25% more insurance, consolidate almost 90% of their insurance with one provider and refer 250% more than neutral clients. Bain found that loyal clients deliver 300% more lifetime value than neutral clients and 700% more value than low-loyalty clients.
Therefore, it’s both strategic and advantageous to connect with your customers in their own technological worlds and provide great experiences. What isn’t so obvious (but should be now) is that technology and a better handling of business data is the key to unlocking these great customer experiences.