What does omnichannel mean for insurance?

For insurers, embracing digital and customer-centricity is really important as they strive to offer customers consistently exceptional experiences. According to Accenture, adapting to changing customer expectations using digital solutions is a fundamental part of this. However, a daunting component remains embarking on an omnichannel strategy that combines innovative technologies with real-time data analysis. Nelson Camara, Marketing and Sales Executive at SilverBridge, says this will assist insurers to deal with changing customer expectations.

Fundamentally, omnichannel entails the creation of a seamless experience for customers across all touchpoints. So, unlike traditional approaches that see communication channels run in parallel to one another, omnichannel ties all of them together to deliver a singular experience across all channels.

“Bringing this together is a data-centric strategy that requires the insurer to assess how it captures, stores, analyses, and uses customer information in a more compelling fashion. This creates opportunities to build an emotional connection with the customer and, in turn, enhance loyalty. But while driving loyalty is a key benefit of this, using data in more innovative ways also helps the insurer engage better,” he says.

Beyond multi-channel

Of course, in a world where the likes of multichannel and omnichannel feature prominently, it is easy to get confused between the two approaches.

The former is focused on using as many channels as possible. In the multichannel marketing world, the more customer engagements an organisation can get, the better. And as many consumers can attest to, email and social media postings are popular forms of engagement using this model.

Omnichannel takes the focus away from the method of delivery. Instead, it uses every channel as the means to engage with customers in a more integrated manner. It is more focused on building a long-term relationship between the consumer and the brand, and less on simply getting people to engage.

The most significant way these two approaches differ is how they manage the customer. Omnichannel puts the customer at the centre to deliver a consistent, unified experience irrespective of the channels used while multichannel simply talks to customers using a variety of channels.

Enabling omnichannel through AI

Established insurers are starting to embrace forward-thinking technologies to meet the expectations of their customers. This has seen insurers using the likes of chat bots, web forms, social media, and even connected devices to deliver more enhanced (and integrated) experiences.

“Extending from this, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning are enabling omnichannel strategies to scale more effectively. This is done by delivering improved insights into the changing needs and preferences of customers. In this environment, more integrated customer journeys are created, and more consistent user experiences are delivered.”

Contextual environment

Thanks to this richer layer of context, an insurer can more proactively address customer needs. By creating the opportunity for customers to engage though a channel of their choice, the insurer provides a flexible environment that appeals to end users.

“Omnichannel must be embraced as an effective method of meeting the demands of the digital user and harnessing more opportunities to develop and strengthen customer loyalty.”

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