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What does omnichannel mean for insurance?

An omnichannel strategy enables insurers to combine innovative technologies with real-time data analysis, delivering a seamless experience for customers across all channels.

Johannesburg, 05 Jul 2019
Read time 2min 50sec
Nelson Camara, Marketing and Sales Executive at SilverBridge.
Nelson Camara, Marketing and Sales Executive at SilverBridge.

For insurers, embracing digital and customer-centricity is important as they strive to offer customers consistently exceptional experiences. According to Accenture, adapting to changing customer expectations using digital solutions is a fundamental part of this. However, a daunting component remains:  embarking on an omnichannel strategy that combines innovative technologies with real-time data analysis. Nelson Camara, Marketing and Sales Executive at SilverBridge, says this will assist insurers to deal with changing customer expectations.

Fundamentally, omnichannel entails the creation of a seamless experience for customers across all touchpoints. So, unlike traditional approaches that see communication channels run parallel to one another, omnichannel ties all of them together to deliver a singular experience across all channels.

“Bringing this together is a data-centric strategy that requires the insurer to assess how it captures, stores, analyses and uses customer information in a more compelling fashion. This creates opportunities to build an emotional connection with the customer and, in turn, enhance loyalty. But while driving loyalty is a key benefit of this, using data in more innovative ways also helps the insurer engage better,” he says.

Beyond multichannel

Of course, in a world where the likes of multichannel and omnichannel feature prominently, it is easy to get confused between the two approaches.

The former is focused on using as many channels as possible. In the multichannel marketing world, the more customer engagements an organisation can get, the better. And as many consumers can attest to, e-mail and social media postings are popular forms of engagement using this model.

Omnichannel takes the focus away from the method of delivery. Instead, it uses every channel as the means to engage with customers in a more integrated manner. It is more focused on building a long-term relationship between the consumer and the brand, and less on simply getting people to engage.

The most significant way in which these two approaches differ is how they manage the customer. Omnichannel puts the customer at the centre to deliver a consistent, unified experience irrespective of the channels used, while multichannel simply talks to customers using a variety of channels.

Enabling omnichannel through AI

Established insurers are starting to embrace forward-thinking technologies to meet the expectations of their customers. This has seen insurers using the likes of chat bots, Web forums, social media and even connected devices to deliver more enhanced (and integrated) experiences.

Camara explains: “Extending from this, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are enabling omnichannel strategies to scale more effectively. This is done by delivering improved insights into the changing needs and preferences of customers. In this environment, more integrated customer journeys are created, and more consistent user experiences are delivered.”

Contextual environment

Thanks to this richer layer of context, an insurer can more proactively address customer needs. By creating the opportunity for customers to engage though a channel of their choice, the insurer provides a flexible environment that appeals to end-users.

“Omnichannel must be embraced as an effective method of meeting the demands of the digital user and harnessing more opportunities to develop and strengthen customer loyalty,” concludes Camara.

SilverBridge

SilverBridge has over 20 years’ experience as a leading provider of insurance software solutions in the African financial services industry. Our footprint extends to 14 African countries. SilverBridge has introduced an enhanced service offering allowing financial services companies the opportunity to respond quickly to changing markets. With customers throughout Africa, SilverBridge has the knowledge, experience, and technology to help its clients do better business.  

Editorial contacts
Gloria Malan (+27) 82 340 2876 gloria@rubicomm.co.za
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