Insurers can increase their relevance to business customers in many ways. They can build a lasting customer relationship by sharing industry data and knowledge with their customers, offering risk-mitigating advice, and providing human-delivered assistance when needed. A good relationship with business customers also requires insurers to serve multiple stakeholders efficiently, and to show them your advice can strengthen their balance sheet.
To business customers, insurance is probably not the most critical service. Insurers, which sit on a wealth of industry data and knowledge, can be more relevant to business customers by offering advice that helps them make better business decisions.
Insurers use data mostly for their own actuarial purposes. But the ones also systematically offer unique insights to customers can build a strong relationship and make competitors irrelevant.
Reduced costs come with a price
High margins at high-performing insurers are driven by their business customers, mainly by reducing operational costs. One problem with this approach is that cost reduction often means reduced service quality for customers. This puts customer relationship at risk. The other problem is that this approach costs both time and money.
Relationship drives profitability
The quickest way to improve the combined ratio, or the profitability of an insurer, is to build a stronger relationship with customers. Business customers may not have in-house experts who understand their own risks. Therefore, many of them appreciate the security and peace of mind offered by insurers, who invest in understanding and advising their businesses. Businesses are therefore willing to pay a premium for this valuable relationship. A great relationship boosts the insurers’ bottomline quickly and quite frequently.
Help customers manage risks
Insurers are well positioned to help their business customers manage their risks. Industry knowledge allows insurers to offer high-value consulting, and move the conversation with customers from sales to loyalty. Such knowledge also enables customers to be more competent in mitigating risks on their own.
Talk about the business, not products
Businesses care about assets, liabilities and profits. This, not insurance products, is what conversations with business customers should be about. Insurers use data and industry knowledge to understand the nature of the customer’s business. As a result, they show that they care about the customer’s business, and conversations become much more relevant to the customers who may even get to better understand your products in their own business context. Once business customers understand what insurance means to their balance sheet, they are willing to pay for it.
Serve multiple users
A business usually have several employees, if not more, to work with an insurer. To service providers, this could be confusing, as they are unsure which customer experience should be focused on and how to effectively create value for the business they serve.
The contract owner, or the employee who is in charge of the contract with the insurer, needs to feel well supported in setting up the system and routines. Policy managers, often spread across the organisation, need to be assisted in completing new daily tasks. Therefore, a hassle-free experience for these users helps build your reputation and credibility. Having said that, building a strong and supportive experience for the contract owner brings you the most business value.
A human touch makes a difference
Unlike many other industries, insurance customers appreciate a phone call from their insurer to make sure everything runs smoothly as it should. Therefore, pushing customers to self-service channels is not the best idea.
The trick is to identify when customers prefer self service, and which interactions require human-delivered assistance. Customers value human contact, which also builds trust and opens door for more sales opportunities.
Knowledge is a goldmine
Insurers can share industry data to help business customers plan and manage their companies better. A client of ours already provides detailed weather warnings to its customers, in order to mitigate risks to their property. Sharing industry knowledge moves insurers beyond simply selling the right products. This approach builds lasting relationship where customers rely on your knowledge and experience.