How to create personalised digital experiences
Consistent, efficient and personalised user engagement is key to exceptional digital experiences, argue Richard Jefferies from platform provider Liferay and Haris Christoforou from Hannover Re.
Insurers and reinsurers are increasingly turning to platform providers to assist them in customising and managing the digital experiences they offer their customers, be it in the business to consumer (B2C), business to business (B2B) or business to business to consumer (B2B2C) space. The aim is to exceed customers’ digital experience expectations by combining and consolidating existing applications and systems for omni-channel access.
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of technology, with today’s consumer demanding higher levels of digital interaction from insurers than ever before. “The digital experience is about the look and feel of a firm’s engagement with stakeholders and the flow of processes across different channels and touch points,” says Richard Jefferies, FSI Sales Lead, UK and Ireland at platform provider, Liferay. He singles out consistency, convenience, efficiency, personalisation and straight-through processing as features needed to deliver the digital experience that consumers desire and with which they are familiar from TV streaming services, for example. A firm’s products and services must be accessible online, at any time, in real-time.
Digital experiences derive from multiple aspects
“At a philosophical level, the digital experience that the end customer receives becomes the main selling point of a platform provider’s solution,” says Haris Christoforou, Head of Systems and R&D at Hannover Re South Africa. He adds that market-leading digital experiences derive from incorporating efficiencies, insurance knowledge, longevity, scale, technology and trusted partners within a firm’s solutions ecosystems. Christoforou has intimate knowledge of hr | QUIRC, an automated underwriting system that can be integrated into existing life insurer systems to ensure a seamless end-to-end digital user experience.
Insurers are making steady headway towards delivering digital experiences, with most falling into one of two groups. “Some of our insurer clients are addressing specific shortcomings in their systems by, for example, building a better portal for their customers or brokers; others see the digital experience as a transformational requirement,” says Jefferies. Insurers in the second group seek to define the digital experience that they believe the optimal insurer should deliver to each of its stakeholders. The challenge: to offer a hyper-personalised experience for each customer with the product or solution tailored to their needs.
To deliver an exemplary digital experience, insurers must operate an end-to-end, full-function system that can handle every aspect of their business. The digital experience solution should therefore encompass the initial engagement with the customer, regardless of the channel, all the way to the information gathering, quoting and underwriting processes. “We see our engagements as B2B2C, which requires that we become more involved in customer journeys and in providing the tools and insights that insurers need to create an enabling environment for those customers,” says Christoforou.
From simple replatforming to complete redesign
The level of development and integration required to deliver a digital experience platform hinges on the complexity of the business and may range from the simple replatforming of a content management system or website to the redesign of an entire system to ensure omni-channel consistency. “There is quite a lot of capability that comes with our digital experience platform and insurers can add to this through the product’s low-code capabilities; however, complex solutions require customisation and integration that are provided by our professional services team or external services partners,” says Jefferies.
Platform providers typically use API connectors to integrate Internet of Things devices, mobile phones, websites and various other front-end architectures with an insurer’s backend systems. Additional enhancements include improved integration and utilisation of data from both internal and third-party sources, and process automation.
There are various methods that insurers might employ to deliver the digital experience their customers expect. One way is to revamp the entire technology stack and even migrate legacy data to the new solution; another is through the consistent integration of existing technology channels supported by a single platform. The ability to scale is important too, especially when pushing into frontier markets. “It is not just about system capabilities; you also need to understand the market environment,” says Christoforou.
Insurers can differentiate their digital experience journeys by considering how each innovation is received in the relevant customer space, whether that be a broker, call centre agent or direct consumer. “The goal is to deliver an omni-channel, personalised digital experience for each customer across any device,” concludes Jefferies. And Christoforou agrees, saying that customers want to engage and interact without ambiguity, all the while benefiting from a customer-centric, flexible, modern platform that allows for interactions on their own terms, be it via self-service online, a smartphone application or a call centre.