Improving customer service

Most customers are no longer satisfied with a single annual statement, which is commonly one of the only pieces of correspondence pension providers have with their customers. They now want, and expect, real-time multi-channel services – and won’t settle for anything less.

To add some context, in 2015, mobile commerce grew by 38% and over a third of all website visits came from mobile devices.

According to the British Bankers Association (BBA), face-to-face contact is forecast to drop to 268 million by 2020, while mobile usage is on track to double to 2.3 billion. In a recent Experian survey 70% of businesses admitted they are currently struggling to deliver an optimised digital experience across all touch points. This presents a reality that businesses aren’t fully aligned to their customers.

Changing information and communications requirements present providers with new operational and technical challenges. However, for providers who get customer service right, it offers a vast opportunity – from increasing loyalty to maximising commercial opportunities.

By creating timely, personalised communications, providers have more chance of keeping their customers happy and providing them with further services.

Five key steps to enhancing the customer experience

Build critical brand loyalty:

Competitors and disruptive new market entrants are now presenting information to prospective customers in new and compelling ways, and many customers will start to review their pensions and investments accordingly, with a view to switching. By engaging with customers more regularly and in a personalised way, providers can add value far beyond a single annual statement, helping you to retain customers for the long term – giving a much higher lifetime value.

The most embedded value for life and pensions providers comes from existing customers. Loyalty and retention are critical to support on-going profitability. Understanding how to talk with customers and how they want to be interacted with, will enhance your existing relationships and should be at the forefront of any customer strategy.

Provide further services to customers:

By maintaining accurate customer records and building a strong customer communication strategy, organisations can create an effective platform for promoting additional services. ┬áBased on a wealth of data, from a customer’s life stage to their demographics and preferences, organisations can identify opportunities to offer them additional policy needs or investment opportunities, all in real time.

Bring in data from multiple sources:

Data from multiple sources, including credit reference databases, can help organisations to fully understand and meet customers’ changing needs. This applies as much to new customers as it does longstanding ones. Longstanding customers will likely have undergone several life changes since contracting their policy or pension and having regular updates on this can be beneficial for risk and reward. For new customers, who are digital natives, they are more likely to require frequent updates on the performance of their financial products and be more engaged.

Make life easy for your customers:

In order to provide the best possible experience for customers, life insurance and pension providers can choose to adopt a number of process and technology innovations, from pre-populating application forms with customer details, to supporting online identification with the use of electronic photo upload and device information, right through to using data to streamline and support underwriting. Whether on-boarding new customers or communicating with existing customers, providers need to provide the smoothest possible journey that reflects the latest advances in technology and customer experience.

Get auto-enrolment right:

The UK Government is shifting accountability for retirement savings to the individual, and huge numbers of employees (6 million according to the Association of British Insurers), are being auto-enrolled into workplace pension schemes as a result. To ensure that a particular pension plan meets an individual’s needs, pension providers must draw on all available customer data. In addition, all communications relating to pension plans must also be timely and appropriate.

The business value of finding and knowing your customers:

In the life insurance and pension sector, change is being driven by customer demand for transparency. As a result, trust and two-way communications contribute to an organisation’s value more than ever before. By getting to know your customers better, and by building communications on accurate personal data, your organisation can build trust and loyalty among your customer base. This will maximise the value of customer relationships through and beyond the product lifecycle.

By focusing on improved data management, customer tracking and tracing, and communications, you can also find lost customers and significantly reduce the number of customers who go away in the future. This approach provides valuable new insight into customer needs and preferences, helping providers to build stronger customer relationships. For this reason, many organisations are now extending their data initiatives far beyond tracking and tracing customers to gain new insight across their entire customer base.

By using data to find customers who cannot be contacted and to get to know customers better, organisations can:

  • Improve engagement based on personalised offers and communications based on a customer’s changing personal and financial situation.
  • Contact customers through their preferred channels based on their demographic information and their stated preferences.
  • Build customer loyalty and reduce churn by providing a seamless, convenient customer experience across all channels and touchpoints.
  • Streamline regulatory compliance with customer communications that are delivered to the right person, always in an appropriate and timely fashion.
  • Track and trace absent customers quickly, by cross referencing a wealth of data that ties them to a particular address
  • Proactively reduce the risk of losing customers in the future with all customer records submitted to the credit bureau on a regular basis, with real-time alerts for any changes in a customer’s circumstances.
  • Find customers even if the data is incomplete by uploading customer records to the Unclaimed Asset Register where they can be searched by individuals, family members and professionals (such as probate solicitors).

How can Life and Pension providers generate value from customer engagement? Find out more.