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How customer centric approach can change life insurance industry

What are we doing for our customers?
- Pradeep Pandey, Chief Marketing Officer, Future Generali India Life Insurance

 

Customer-Centricity has been positioned as a USP by almost all companies in the services sector. The organisation invests a lot of time and money in training, defining new processes and planning new initiatives.

What exactly is customer centricity?
Customer centricity is not just about offering great customer service, it means offering a delightful experience from the awareness stage, to the purchase process and finally through the post-purchase process. It is about putting your customer first, and at the core of your business.
While marketing guru Lester Wunderman has been talking about the idea of putting the customer at the centre of every activity, it has gained significant traction in recent years as customers have become more empowered and as a result have greater expectations.

Changing trends
Today, technology has left behind the traditional distribution channels, thereby creating the need for every company to rethink. Advances in technology and communication, combined with the explosive growth in data and information have given rise to an empowered customer. The customer has various avenues to collect and filter information from – interactions with peers/friends/family, online research, social media etc, which helps them make an informed decision.

What does the life insurance sector need to do?
Life insurance is a business in which both, the customer and the company derive financial value only by staying invested in the relationship over a long period of time. It is therefore imperative to keep the customer’s best interests in mind, understand their needs and analyse drivers which influence their purchase decisions.
The most important priority in a life insurance business is to win and keep the customer’s trust and ensure the highest levels of business delivery at every stage of their lifecycle. To achieve that we need to do the following:

  • Have simpler products
  • Have seamless processes
  • Have simplicity and transparency in communication

The last and most important is to “create value for money”, which needs to be clearly demonstrated through a balance of price, product features and service delivery. The key here is to offer services that are tailored to suit their individual needs in a manner which is convenient and easily accessible through various touch points.

 

A paradigm shift
To keep pace with the fast changing environment, we need to redefine our relationships with our customers and transform our business models. The two key steps to begin with are:

  • Listen to your Customer: Most businesses tend to only hear but rarely listen hence lose out on the missing links articulated by their customers, which are usually the most common and basic issues. Listening attentively also makes the customers believe that they are valued at every step of the business interaction, leading to greater customer satisfaction.
  • Sell what they need and not what you have: Insurers need to know their customers better and use this information and knowledge as a source of competitive advantage. A better understanding of their needs will help in offering them the relevant products which will lead to greater persistency and reduce chances of mis-selling and surrenders.

 

Creating Customer Delight
To truly dominate a market, we must focus on delivering a “wow” experience to all our customers and business partners in all the things we do for and with them. We need to let the customer be in control by communicating with them at various stages through different mediums and keeping him informed at all times.
An interesting way of gauging customer satisfaction and loyalty across sectors is through the Net Promoter Score framework which is a worldwide index to measure the likelihood of customers to recommend the company and its products/services to others. The objective is to convert customers who were less than happy or unimpressed into promoters who will put the word out and allow for increased revenues and profits of the company. This will not only help in offering better customer experience but will also help employees perform better.
For a company to truly succeed, they must embrace and embed the concept of innovation within their work culture. We need to be agile to be able to respond quickly and effectively to changing market conditions, new customer demands and emerging regulations.

Copyright © 2016. Future Generali India Life Insurance Company Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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