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Guest posting by Hugh Anderson, Senior Industry Principal, Financial Services / Insurance

In a world of instant gratification, the idea of staying with an insurer for decades seems anachronistic. But with the right approach to data and customer-centricity, finding and keeping a customer-for-life is entirely possible.

In some ways, it has never been easier to speak to customers. But getting granular on about who a customer really is – what they think, want and need – is harder than you might think. Sure, gathering information on sentiment analysis on social media is simple enough, but often the conclusions are superficial.

As a provider, you need to be able to drill down into what you really know about your customers and their life journey. With this, you can build touch points into your relationship with them, anticipating their needs three or five years in the future; helping them understand, consultatively, how you might get there with them every step of the way.

In Your Customers' Shoes

The most successful insurance companies are the ones that truly put themselves in their customers’ shoes to create brand loyalty. If you don’t create a great customer experience, they’ll be gone, and while data is at the root of the offering, well-developed, understood and managed touch-points are the means to keep your relationship growing.

One example that we use is Design Thinking, a methodology that came out of the Hasso-Plattner Institute, to help our customers empathise with their customers’ mind-sets in order to create a differentiating customer experience. Design Thinking consists of structured exercises and activities that allows you to think about value from their point of view so that you can translate it into a better experience. For example, what actually happens to a customer when a loss is incurred? How do you give them what THEY need as the claim is processed so not only does he stay with you, he tells his friends how great you are?


Multichannel or omnichannel activity that creates a continuous interaction is critical. A customer may want to begin a process online, continue on a mobile device, talk “live” with a customer service rep, then finish on a laptop. It should feel like a continuous conversation. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to reconfirm your identity all the time.

For me, landing at an airport to find a  text saying “we’ve got your rental car it’s at so-and-so bay, go pick it up, and if you don’t like it just choose another” is fantastic. The joy to the customer (and imperative for the insurer) is to know how and when I want to communicate – and be communicated with - in a natural, credible way, then turn all of these touch-points into a lifelong experience. That’s brand loyalty for life.

We developed a mobile app for dental customers – ‘find a dentist’, ‘view my coverages’, ‘approve my treatment”, “pay my coinsurance” which offers a great customer experience, but even better, if you think about the customer data involved in dental insurance with the right customer centric strategy, you should be able to analyse and predict  where people are in their life journey, and when they might need for example car insurance for a teenager,  or insurance for a larger mortgage, or  help in retirement  planning.

The opportunity to differentiate is by turning the data you gather from these touch-points into customer-centric communications, and being able to deliver product and service offerings that are meaningful to them along their journey. If you can do that, chances are you’ve got a customer and an advocate for life.

To learn more about we can help you with your business challenges please have a look at SAP's Solution Explorer for the Insurance Industry.

What do you think about the issues discussed here? Continue the conversation in the comments below and on Twitter @SAPforinsurance.