The old saying, “Who knows what tomorrow may bring?” is prophetic and accurate most of the time. But in the case of insurance companies devising customer service plans to deal with the changing shape of their consumer base, the saying isn’t as mysterious as many people may think. Most carriers have a pretty good idea of the shape of their customers to come; it’s just developing the proper service vision that remains the mystery.

“We see most of the companies we work with struggle with determining what it is their customers want,” says Kimberly Harris-Ferrante, research VP at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. “When they phone the call center—when they’re interacting with us—what are their expectations? And, more important, what are the customers of the next 10 years going to look like?”

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