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How CRM for Insurance Creates Unexpected (and Important) Business Opportunities

June 10th, 2015 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

The insurance industry is in an exciting stage of transition – and as with any transition, challenges and opportunities go hand-in-hand.

Rising competition, rising customer switching, tighter margins – insurance companies face greater pressure on finding the right distribution channels, delivering exemplary customer service, and keeping business costs low.

Just as technology has empowered consumers in their search for the right insurance company, technology also empowers insurance companies to get an inside business advantage. Using a customer relationship management (CRM) system – such as CRM for Insurance – is a particularly useful tool for keeping tabs on customer engagement.

But there are other unique business advantages for insurance industries using CRM – check out our three examples below.

Easier to Adjust to Industry Demographic Changes

Insurance industry demographics are shifting from Baby Boomers to Generation Y (also known as “millenials”) – if insurance companies aren’t able to identify the new insurance audience, and tailor their interactions and communications to best suit that audience, they will miss out on crucial business.

For instance, millenials are more comfortable with engagement through technology than older generations – in fact, they prefer it. According to Gallup, millenials are more than twice as likely (27% vs. 11%, respectively) as all other generations to purchase their policies online rather than through an agent. This comfort with technology also means that millenials want to be able to access information quickly, and that they will search exhaustively on the Internet before turning to a rep.

Family relationships are also important to leverage when working with millenials. Many millenials choose to be covered under a family member’s plan, and they are also more likely to choose an insurance company that their family members use.

CRM for Insurance provides insurance companies a 360-degree view of the customer with in-depth customer records, containing a customer’s contact information, the policies that the customer has, as well as any previous interactions between the customer and the company.

CRM for Insurance also allows companies to identify more personal information about the customer, such as birthday, relationships between customers (such as if a customer is the parent or child or a customer, or a spouse, etc.), special anniversaries, etc. As customers have grown to expect more personalized service, this information enables insurance companies to more effective cross-sell and up-sell to individuals with targeted communications and offers.

CRM for Insurance

CRM for Insurance enables insurance companies to input and track customer’s personal information, which can be leveraged for more personalized, worthwhile communication.

Explore New Distribution Channels

The traditional insurance distribution model meant that agents and brokers were the primary drivers behind insurance customers’ purchases – they were the ones with all the information. But not anymore – customers now turn first to the Internet to answer questions, get more information, and research companies.

Insurers that start creating online distribution channels gain an important advantage over their less technologically savvy competition. With a greater web presence, insurers are able to attract more of the customers who make the Internet a key part of their decision-making, and product-buying, processes.

But that doesn’t mean that agents and brokers are becoming completely obsolete. Agents and brokers are another important part of a customer’s research gathering, because if an answer to a question can’t be found online, an agent needs to be prepared to respond quickly when the customer reaches out to him.

And with more customers using their smartphones as their research tools, insurers also need to make their selling mobile-friendly – from an agent’s outreach, to a piece of marketing collateral.

CRM for Insurance enables insurers to track all touch-points with a customer – from a query that was emailed, to an incoming phone call, etc. – providing greater visibility into the customer’s needs, and a useful interaction history for future reference. CRM for Insurance even allows agents to track text messages that are sent to the customer.

CRM for Insurance

CRM for Insurance tracks all touch-points made with a customer, such as phone calls, emails, text messages, etc.

Attract – and Retain – Talented Employees

Companies that are renowned for innovation, cutting-edge solutions, and excellence easily draw talented people from the job-hunting pool – people want to work for exciting, pioneering companies. The insurance industry, unfortunately, has a reputation of being stodgy, uptight, and resistant to new ways of doing things, which can make it difficult recruiting for positions.

Good recruitment is especially essential in that the insurance industry’s workforce is rapidly approaching retirement age – according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 50% of the industry’s workforce is above the age of 45. To prevent a skills gap from occurring (which would drain customers, and in turn, drain revenues), insurers need to develop strategies for enticing tech-savvy millennials – the next workforce generation – into pursuing careers in the industry.

By embracing new technology that helps better serve customers, insurers can debunk the stereotypes. Making technology the cornerstone of industry-leading customer service initiatives helps insurers advertise company progressiveness and agility, and also the company’s commitment to operating at the highest level.

Making an Impact with CRM

CRM for Insurance ensures that insurers keep their sales and marketing tighter and more focused despite customer and industry shifts, and thus a useful tool for recruitment – giving companies an important competitive edge.

For more information on CRM for Insurance, or how Ignify can enhance your business processes, please email insurance@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Marketing Coordinator at Ignify. Ignify is winner/finalist of the Worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

Boosting Insurance Customer Loyalty with CRM for Insurance

July 3rd, 2014 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

The power of the customer experience over insurance company profit margins cannot be underestimated.

How customers feel about your company, your products and service offerings, and your representatives directly influences profitable behavior. A customer won’t stick with a company that makes them feel uncomfortable, disrespected, or unappreciated.  

And with social media, smartphones, and tablets connecting people to their personal networks at all times, customers aren’t shy about sharing their experiences with their insurance company, either.   

According to the Customer Experience Index (CEI) in Capgemini’s 2014 World Insurance Report, data pulled from surveying over 15,500 insurance customers across 30 different countries found significant links between the customer experience and profitable customer behavior.

For example, the report found that, on average, customers who experienced positive interactions with their insurance company are nearly twice as likely to refer others to that company. Customer referrals are so important because they offer an important source of potential revenue for insurance companies. People are more likely to use a company that a trusted friend or family member is using.

The Customer Experience Index

The Customer Experience Index for insurance companies found that customers who had positive experiences with their insurers were nearly twice as likely to refer that company to others, as compared to customers who had negative or neutral experiences.

While it makes sense that a customer who has a negative experience isn’t likely to cultivate referrals, it doesn’t mean that customers with neutral experiences are that much better than negative customers. For example, in North America twice as many non-life customers with a neutral experience may switch compared to those with positive experiences. In other words, don’t think that customers who report a neutral experience are passive.

Getting a 360-degree View of the Customer

One of the crucial ways that an insurance company can help customers feel at home is to make sure that agents have access to all the details of a customer’s account, preferences, etc.

Having a personalized view of the customer allows your representatives to speak knowledgeably on the issues that most affect that particular customer. Because discussing services that don’t directly relate to the customer is not only a waste of time, but it also signals that you don’t really care enough about the customer to learn about him or her.  

And it’s also a waste of time for your agents. Why should they spend their time and energy trying to unsuccessfully upsell or cross-sell a service that their client has no interest in?

With a customer relationship management (CRM) system, agents have access to an in-depth customer database right at their fingertips – ensuring that no matter who or where the customer is, an agent can immediately see their account and get a better understanding of what they need.  

With CRM for Insurance, a CRM solution specifically for both life and non-life insurance companies, insurers benefit from a full 360-degree view of the customer. The CRM for Insurance customer database contains customer record pages that hold contact details for the customer, previous activities that agents have performed for the customer, any incidents or cases that need to be resolved or have been resolved in the past, etc.

Getting a 360-degree View of the Customer

By having access to the full activity history of a customer along with the current services they are using, insurance agents are able to upsell and cross-sell more effectively.  

Equipped with this information, agents are able to follow-up on past issues, ask how the customer is doing with their current services, and provide recommendations specifically tailored to the customers’ needs and wants. With this type of service, customers feel valued.

And with CRM for Insurance customer records providing this specific information, agents are able to pinpoint the additional services that would most appeal to the customer – and thus more successfully upsell and cross-sell.      

Connecting with Customers in All Channels

An important part of connecting with customers is to engage with them on their terms. With the phone, Internet, and brick-and-mortar offices all presenting different customer touch-points, it’s crucial for agents to provide a consistent experience across channels.

With CRM for Insurance, agents are able to create different engagement activities, and follow through with them accordingly. Want to schedule a phone call with a customer? Or send an email? They can be done with just a click of a button.

Connecting with Customers in All Channels

Agents are able to create tasks (such as phone calls, emails, etc.), keeping them organized and focused on serving the customer.

And with the system’s customer database, it doesn’t matter if a customer contacts an agent through email, or phone, or in-person – with the ability to instantly access their information, agents are able to handle questions, troubleshoot issues, or offer information through any channel.

If you would like more information on how CRM for Insurance can improve your customer engagement, please email us at insurance@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Marketing Coordinator at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, eCommerce, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify is winner/finalist of the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.

Make Your Company Customer-Centric with CRM for Insurance

September 9th, 2013 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

Putting the customer first is important for any industry, but nowhere is that concept more crucial than for insurance agents, brokers, and customer service representatives.

With technologically connected consumers able to access and research competitors with just a few clicks of their smartphones, customers have access to a plethora of different options. Armed with this information, consumers are going to companies where they feel they get the most value – and also where they feel most valued. 

According to a report by the PwC titled “Top Insurance Industry Issues in 2013”, policy shopping and switching behavior is rising. Shoppers increased from 27 to 33% of total insurance customers between 2009 and 2011. Out of the people who shopped, switchers also increased from 37 to 39% (10 to 13% of all customers) from 2010 to 2011.  

While price is a significant factor for shoppers, the customers who are the most price-sensitive and willing to switch for any discount are not your most profitable segment.

But the customers who value brand and policyholder experience, who are basing their shopping evaluations on the customer experience that an insurance company offers, are highly valuable to attract and retain. 

By optimizing the customer experience, you make your mark as a company that truly listens to your customers and helps them get what they need – a crucial differentiator that persuades an unhappy shopper to move, and gets your current customers to stay. 

With CRM for Insurance, you are able to effectively manage customer data and track your team members’ engagement with customers, which allows you to provide comprehensive, efficient service at all times.

Centralized Policyholder Information

When a customer contacts your company with a question about their policy, or to make a claim, or to inquire about new services, it’s important for any agent or service representative to be able to interact knowledgeably.

With CRM for Insurance serving as a central repository for all customer data, you equip your team members with complete access to a customer’s account, including customer profile and history, relationships, support records, etc. Data can also be shared across departments, product lines, channels, and intermediaries. With this information, representatives are able to better understand a customer’s needs and preferences, allowing them to more adeptly communicate with the customer and thus increase client confidence.

Information on prospective accounts is also captured so that even if a customer does not accept an initial quote or move to policy origination, you can keep them in your database as a lead and contact them again. Or, if they choose to contact your company again at a future date, the fact that you have a complete record of your past interactions, and that you can refer to those previous inquiries in the current conversation, signals close attention to the person’s needs.

Centralized Policyholder Information

By having complete access to a customer’s account information, agents and service representatives are able to better understand the needs and preferences of a customer, and thus interact with them more effectively.

Consistent Levels of Customer Response

Nothing is more frustrating to a customer than working with an attentive, focused agent or service representative in one instance, and then having to work with a less attentive representative in the next instance.

To ensure that customers get the same level of customer response across your organization, using CRM for Insurance to create workflows that trigger when a person reaches out to a representative is a helpful way to get your team all on the same page.

For example, creating phone script dialog workflows that service reps can follow when a customer calls in is an important way for reps to handle first contact response quickly and thoroughly. Without a workflow in place, it can be easy for reps to miss an important step, or an important question – which can cause a potentially negative future impact on your relationship with the prospect or customer.

Consistent Levels of Customer Response

With phone script dialog workflows, your service reps are able to improve first contact response and ensure that the customer’s questions or issues are addressed and resolved satisfactorily.

Knowledge Base for Quicker Resolutions

With CRM for Insurance, not only do your representatives have a comprehensive database of customer and prospect information at their fingertips, but they also have access to all troubleshooting guides, data sheets, etc. that your company has available.

The Knowledge Base functionality in CRM for Insurance enables your agents and service reps to find the documents that are most relevant for serving the customer at hand. The ability to quickly locate information that is most applicable to a customer’s specific issue saves representatives crucial time and energy, leading to quicker issue resolution and a happy customer. The Knowledge Base can also provide suggestions on which documents would be most helpful for tackling the particular customer query that you’re working on.

Knowledge Base for Quicker Resolutions

The Knowledge Base is an important repository of information for your organization. Able to contain documents such as troubleshooting guides, frequently asked questions manuals, and other documentation on policies, etc., and able to be accessed by any of your team members, the Knowledge Base is an important way to speed up first contact response.

Taking the Customer-Centric Approach

By better equipping agents, brokers, and service representatives to improve the customer experience, insurance companies reduce operating costs and benefit from higher levels of customer satisfaction – which translates to higher customer retention rates and new potential customers. By implementing a well-defined and executed customer relationship strategy, organizations are able to turn their focus to developing other initiatives that impact costs, premiums, new business, and renewal rates.

For more information on how Ignify can help improve your customer relationship management processes, please email us at insurance@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRMeCommerce and ERP, software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has won the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 7 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc. Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM for the Healthcare Industry

August 12th, 2010 Sandeep Walia No comments

Microsoft has introduced an integrated framework to enable health insurance plans to use Microsoft Dynamics® CRM. Known as “Health Plan Sales Solution”, this new framework will allow health plans to quickly and easily move their marketing and sales processes online to better manage and monitor sales, member service and retention. As a result, health insurance plans will be able to better compete in the individual and small-group market; reduce multiple points of failure in their current sales, service and retention processes; and operate in conjunction with state health insurance exchanges.

In addition to this new framework, Microsoft Dynamics CRM also helps healthcare providers overall by improving the delivery of care, lowering costs, and assisting patients in managing their health by streamlining these six critical areas in the Healthcare Industry:

  1. Information Management
    Manage patient information that eliminates the need for patients to fill in the same information repeatedly. Provide quick, efficient care delivery to provide better service and satisfy your patients as you ease work for administrative staff.
  2. Referrals Management
    Maintain consistent processes and strong communications channels to support referrals between clinicians, specialists, departments, and facilities.
  3. Business Processes
    Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives you the ability to improve service and proactively respond to patients by eliminating manual processes and breaking down silos of information.
  4. Business Intelligence
    Efficient operation of your healthcare facility is critical to your success. By providing administrators and others with access to comprehensive, real-time information, you can manage business more effectively and respond more quickly to changing conditions.
  5. Clinical Trial Management
    Furthering medical research is essential for improving treatment and prevention. Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives you the tools to streamline operations to more easily manage clinical trials and serve your patients better.
  6. Recruiting
    Meet the challenge of recruiting high-quality healthcare professionals with tools for automated communications and analysis.

Delivering high-quality care may be the number one priority for you as a healthcare provider, but reducing costs is also an important factor. Overall, Microsoft Dynamics integrated healthcare management solutions make it easier for you to share patient information for clinical decisions and cross-organizational case coordination, as well as access the financial data required to drive business decisions.

Sandeep Walia is the Chief Executive Officer of Ignify. Ignify provides design, consulting and implementation services for CRM and ERP initiatives for mid-market and enterprise businesses. Ignify is a Top-tier Microsoft Gold Certified partner ranked in the Microsoft Partner of the Year in 2010 and both the Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle and the Microsoft Dynamics Presidents Club in 2009 . Ignify offers Dynamics CRM to retailers, banks, insurance companies, contact centers and to several other businesses. Ignify has offices in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Nashville, Chicago, Toronto, Manila, Pune and Bangalore.