Passion, Technology, and Insurance: A Formula for Growth. Really!

Passion, Technology, and Insurance: A Formula for Growth. Really!

 

Passion.  It’s the color in our day, the wind on our face, the music in our ears. It breeds creativity, energy, excitement, and success. But how does it fit into the insurance industry?

Businesses have been dealing with a struggling economy, flat or negative growth, high unemployment, low interest rates, and reluctance by consumers to make major purchases and investments. No news there. Insurance companies have been struggling with all of this, and have recognized the above scenario as the “New Normal.” The industry has reached the bottom and is starting to climb back. To learn what insurance analyst firm, Celent, has to say about this “New Normal,” be sure to check out its US Insurance CIO Survey: Pressures, Priorities, and Practices webcast on March 8, 2011.

 

To plan for the “New Normal” the strategic focus has moved from survival to growth.  How do insurance firms achieve this growth?  Within the highly regulated insurance industry, the goal has got to be differentiation. What if they achieve this differentiation by focusing on passion? Now, I know you are asking yourself: “Passion and insurance? Sounds like fire and ice to me.” Well, let’s think about it a bit.

 

The theory of insurance is founded on helping others at the time of their greatest need. So, insurance companies already have a head-start due to this core building block of compassion. Let’s build on that compassion. Let’s turn that desire to help others into an enthusiasm and, yes, passion that will promote growth.

 

There are two ways we can apply passion to the insurance industry to promote growth:

·         Passion toward customers

·         Passion toward employees

 

Passion toward customers — Keep your existing customers happy and attract new customers. So how can we do this in a way that differentiates us? Well, treat your customers and prospects like spoiled children. Give them what they want, when they want it, and use flexible technology to do it. Deploy technologies that will enable customers and prospects to contact you when they want, and through the interaction channel of their choice. Most insurance companies have a great customer service center built around the phone, but they don’t offer other channels, such as e-mail, Web chat, texting, tweeting, and mental telepathy (ok, that last one was just making sure you were still paying attention.)

 

Passion toward employees — If your employees are happy, this passion will surface when they interact with your customers. So how do you show employees that you’re passionate about their needs and wants? You’ve probably thought of things like increasing pay, giving more vacation time, and offering free lunches. But a less obvious answer is to use technology. The following are suggestions for using technology to show that you are passionate about your employees:

·         Deploy a self-service solution to automate mundane and repeatable tasks, such as basic requests associated with claims status, payments, and policy copies.

·         Deploy a business process automation solution that helps employees work more effectively by ensuring they have the data they need when they need it, and also by providing monitoring and notification capabilities.

·         Deploy a quality monitoring solution to highlight and reward high-performing, ‘best-practice’ employees.

·         Deploy a workforce management solution to give employees optimum flexibility in their work schedules.

 

By using the right technologies to increase passion toward your customers and employees, you can increase customer retention and policy sales, decrease employee turnover rates, and change attitudes and behaviors that will ultimately increase your company’s growth.

 

So what do you think? Have you used other technologies to engender passion within your insurance firm? If so, drop me a line…I would love to hear from you!

 

And if you want more guidance for using technology to improve customer service, be sure to check out the educational white paper by insurance analyst firm, Strategy Meets Action, titled Holistic Customer Communications Management: Building Profitable Relationships in Insurance.

 

Thanks for reading,

Janet Thalacker

Inside Sales Consultant, Insurance Practice

Interactive Intelligence

Janet Thalacker

Janet Thalacker

I am currently a strategic business consultant for Interactive Intelligence. My role is to review an organization’s business practices and tools, to promote the awareness of new technologies, and demonstrate how new functionality, processes, and applications could increase customer satisfaction and employee productivity. My career path includes over 20 years of experience working for a Fortune 500 insurance company. My experience includes work with automatic call distribution (ACD), self-service applications, quality monitoring, workforce management, multi-channel communications platforms, knowledge management, and contact management. I am a very passionate person, enjoy what I do, and am motivated to help others and make a difference in my work and in my personal life. I enjoy music, reading, good friends and laughter. I value my family and friends, and cherish time with them.