It's often been said that no business survives for long without its customers, and this is no exception in the insurance industry. With that in mind, a new development coming soon from LIMRA should be a very welcome development indeed. Specifically, LIMRA is bringing out a new program that will offer insight into customer experience by running a set of “customer experience measurements” geared toward the insurance industry.
LIMRA is already fairly well-known in the field as a provider of data analytics services and insight on how to appropriately use social media tools in consumer outreach. From there, it became something of a logical progression to see LIMRA take on customer experience metrics as well, as the three related to what's known as the “omni-channel” business model, in which customers have access to businesses over a wide array of contact points, from phone to email to Web chat and beyond. Making these various contact points work together to produce results for the customer, meanwhile, can be difficult due to its complexity, but with the right systems—like those LIMRA looks to offer—the complexity can be dialed down and the overall experience prove better for the customer.
The LIMRA program is set to start with life insurance companies, and from there move on to retirement and annuity companies, and ultimately health insurers, which is a particularly important part of the insurance spectrum these days. There's even word from LIMRA's Todd A. Silverhart that the model might well ultimately be applicable to the property and casualty insurance markets as well, which covers a substantial portion of the overall insurance spectrum.
The program itself, meanwhile, is set to examine points like pre-sale and needs analysis measures, the steps involved in completing the application, and the sale and delivery of the policy itself as well as claims administration, which is most of the insurance process. It will look for key points like customer loyalty, satisfaction, and an overall customer advocacy—or “net promoter”—score to help companies get a better handle on how the customer responds to a company's efforts, and what the company in turn can do to improve these measures.
Understanding these measures, and responding to issues that crop up accordingly, improves the likelihood of future sales and repeat business. Essentially, the better an overall experience the customer has with an organization—whether that organization is selling food, appliances, or even insurance—the more likely that customer is to return. Thus measuring the experience and responding accordingly becomes a huge part of ensuring the future of the organization, sufficiently so that some businesses have made the C-level reflect this by bringing in “chief customer officers” or the like to administrate the customer experience.
There's little room for doubt here that the customer experience is not only vital to a company's overall health, but it's also somewhat difficult to quantify. A customer experience has a tendency to change from one customer to another; one customer may find it annoying that there's never a customer service agent around to help in a shopping experience, while another is grateful to not be constantly pestered. But at the same time, there are often sufficient commonalities that can be derived to make for reasonable, actionable steps, and that's where things like LIMRA's new program come in to fill in the gap. Only time will tell how well it works, but it's likely to do some great things to come.
Edited by Maurice Nagle