Disrupt or be disrupted, insurers step up your game!

On May 25-26, London welcomed Europe’s leading insurance companies at the CX Transformation: Insurance Conference to hold a debate on the industry’s common challenge: how to engage customers (to reduce churn and to differentiate from the competition).
Among them was also Damien Bourgeois, Head of CRM and Customer Intelligence, AXA Belgium, promotor of consumer closeness as the way to move forward for insurance companies and walking the talk. Together with InSites Consulting, Damien’s team set up a structural dialogue with 300 consumers through The Reinventors community, an online and ongoing Consumer Consulting Board (also known as online research community). It allows AXA Belgium to keep the finger on the pulse and to have a view on changing needs and expectations of targets. At the same time, it is a way to learn quickly and to co-create. New ideas, processes, services and products can be tested immediately, bringing agility to the business. Finally, it’s about changing the AXA employees’ hearts, minds and actions:

Not coincidentally, Damien was asked to host the Roundtable Discussion at the CX Transformation conference, on the role of innovation and co-creation as a way to differentiate. And I got the chance to interview him on what he considers the 3 key take-aways of this year’s edition. Enjoy the read!

1. Consumer centricity is disrupting the insurance sector

Becoming consumer-centric requires a disruptive approach; it is a struggle for all players in the market. Although technology and the whole digital revolution may be a catalyst, it is not about technology – despite what many might think. We are talking cultural change. To become truly consumer centric, insurance companies need to put the consumer at the heart of everything they do. And this requires an involvement of all levels of the company, from top management to the contact person in the customer service department. All employees need to feel the customer and have the customer in mind for every decision taken. Getting everybody on board is quite a challenge, knowing that insurance companies are typically big companies organized in silos which are working independently.
Next to that, consumer-centricity is daring the industry to play in another league. For years, insurance companies have been communicating with intermediaries (brokers and agents), experts in the field, understanding the insurance language. Through digital touchpoints, however, insurance companies are now building direct relationships with consumers. This implies a totally different way of doing business. And competition can come from everywhere. Players like Facebook, which master the skill of explaining complex things in a user-friendly way (e.g. the Facebook app Moments), can easily disrupt the market. The time is now! Insurance companies need to open up, reach out to consumers and co-create the future of the industry rapidly, iteratively and agilely.

2. ROI is difficult to measure

It all starts with a vision and strong belief in the value of consumer centricity at top management level, as the ROI is difficult to assess. It is an intangible part of the company culture which is believed to pay off in the long run, if not considered the necessary thing to do to stay in business. Consumer centricity is about the willingness to continue to invest even when no KPIs or performance measures are fully adequate. In the future it should be possible to leverage on analytics to integrate satisfaction as a feature of customer value management.

3. Think big, start small

A consumer-centric company is not created overnight. It is important to get started. Do something. Choose a pilot or a case and gradually involve an increasing number of people. A successful pilot will lead to new projects and the company will move forward step by step. By demonstrating and communicating the value of consumer collaboration, more support from senior management will be earned and a more consumer-centric thinking company will be established. A good example of starting small is the story of the CX champion of Generali Germany. He decided to join the weekly management committee with his basket of the week full of customer stories illustrating important pain points. By involving senior management, the pain points became a shared responsibility and the options increased to actually find and install a solution.

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