Probably no other industry has more of a stake in the lifetime value of a customer as the insurance industry. Insurers, in fact, once mastered the art and science of maintaining customer loyalty from cradle to grave, and well, beyond that even.
As is the case with everything else these days, technology is shaking things up, with new entrants coming to the market with more streamlined, more engaging approaches to reaching customers. No longer is it enough to sign up a policyholder and expect him or her to automatically renew every year.
Technology is playing an increasingly more important role in helping companies better realize the goal of creating customers for life.
A recent survey, conducted by Forbes Insights for Sitecore, looked at the tools and approaches companies have been adopting in efforts to better capture customer loyalty. The survey of 312 executives from various industries found many organizations are falling behind in these efforts. (Disclosure: I am an occasional contributor to Forbes Insights, but was not involved in this report.)
The problems stem from a piecemeal approach to technology, data and organizational structures. There are also problems with disparate technology, and silos of both data and people. The report examined the ingredients needed to support lifetime customer loyalty: “Analytics and metrics, like customer lifetime value (CLV), can help focus retention strategies on high-value customers, while building a single view of the customer can ensure that every communication—whether through mobile push notification, email or call-center representative—is personalized and relevant.”
The report’s authors make the following recommendations to better capture this opportunity:
Make customer-for-life a top corporate priority. This is essential in securing the right levels of funding and executive support. Both marketing and IT leaders should also be involved in this effort.
Make regular use of lifetime value metrics. “To better understand which customers drive the most revenue potential, both average and maximum lifetime value should be regularly calculated to assist in setting priorities, directing spend and measuring effectiveness.”
Simplify technology. Many organizations suffer from a “multiplicity of platforms and programs used to house customer information,” the report observes. “Seamless interactions with customers are impossible without seamless access to data.”
Establish a single, centralized platform for managing data and communications. It’s the best way to bust down the silos.
Implement systems that allow communication to be personalized not just on content, but also on frequency. “Anticipating needs and sending relevant customer communications at that time is part of the personalization and quality experience as much as content is.”
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.
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