The Age Of The Customer Drives North American Insurers To Take Five Customer Actions In 2014

Ellen Carney

Once upon a time, insurers sat in the power seat when it came to their interactions with policyholders.  The insurers understood the magic behind how insurance was sold, how premiums were calculated, and how claims were adjudicated. Those days are gone. In the Age Of The Customer, consumers are changing the rules and who wield the power. Thanks to all things digital, consumers have shifted from being passive sideliners and are willing — and able — to play more active and demanding roles across the insurance business. That means that digital must now be a core underpinning of an insurer’s customer experience philosophy, not an endpoint.

Just what are the factors propelling North American insurer agendas this year? For starters, it’s about:

  • Booming growth in revenues and profits. 2013 was a very good year for most North American insurers --the best since the financial crisis. Many are sitting on hefty policyholder surpluses and capital.
  • The fallout from HealthCare.gov. Balancing political winds with project management reality heaped more pressure on already stressed health plans, thanks to shifting deadlines, relaxed employer mandates, and zombie health plans. And as a result, trust across the broad healthcare ecosystem was undermined.
  • The risk of emerging insurers to meet the needs of digitally empowered consumers. Consumers are getting being trained to expect even more from their digital interactions. New insurers are coming to market offering new digital experiences that simplify, personalize, empower, and reassure customers.
  • Extreme weather. US and Canadian insurers have shifted to a posture of adaptation, and are looking to arm policyholders with new tools to better protect them from natural hazard risks.
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Design A Best-In-Class Mobile Experience

Deanna Laufer

A lot of people have been talking about Facebook’s new Nearby Friends feature for their mobile app, which gives users the ability to see which friends are nearby. But less discussed, and perhaps just as significant, is another change — to a more contextually-relevant Facebook profile.

In the past, when you checked out other users’ profiles, you would see the same static information including their profile photo and links to their friends and “about” pages. There were two problems with this. First, the information is rarely updated, so it becomes stale. Second, if you don’t know the person, it takes a bit of digging through their pages to find out if you know them or have anything in common.

The Facebook iPhone app’s recent update addresses these concerns by taking a contextual approach. Specifically, it presents more personalized and dynamic information, such as whether you and this person share any mutual friends, whether you happen to live in the same city, and what the friend has been up to recently. The app also prioritizes this information, so it’s one of the first things you see after you click on a user’s profile.

In fact, we’ve seen this trend in mobile apps — the best apps are moving away from static web-like experiences and are delivering more personal, relevant content, fast. In my report, "The Best And Worst Of Mobile User Experience," I found that leading mobile user experiences share common attributes that separate them from the pack. These leading experiences:

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Campaign Marketing Is Background Music Consumers Don't Want

Anthony Mullen

Campaign marketing is increasingly seen as background music and 'tuned out'. No surprise really that in a world where all brands push 'play' without consulting consumers that the outcome is a cacophony. It's one that consumers increasingly want to tune out, and today they have the tools to do so. From their cultivation of banner blindness , use of browser plugins like Adblock, through to enlisting more-aggressive privacy settings and skipping adverts at 8x speed. They simply don't want your message pushed at them and are taking steps to control the signal-to-noise ratio of useful vs. irrelevant data. Marketing must respond with a new quality in the relationship or risk being ignored. 

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European Insurers Wake Up To Digital Disruption

Oliwia Berdak

Calculating and avoiding risk is at the core of insurance. So what are we to make of the fact that insurance executives top our list of professionals who think that the digital disruption of their industry is imminent?[i] We should take it seriously, seeing it as admirable clairvoyance rather than blind fear. Unlike many other industries, at least insurers know the risks they’re facing. But will they act upon this vision? They might have no other choice.

Digital disruption has arrived in insurance. In our new report on trends in European digital insurance, we show that years of slow growth, low consumer trust, and heavy regulation have weakened incumbents. Meanwhile, customer expectations have been rising, fuelling the appetites of startups and companies not traditionally associated with insurance, such as digital platforms, car manufacturers, utility companies, telcos, and sensor and wearable manufacturers, whose utility and access to consumer data has placed them dangerously close to the core of insurance.

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Q&A With Kristof Fahy, Chief Marketing Officer, William Hill PLC

Luca Paderni

William Hill PLC, one of the world's leading betting and gaming companies and trusted UK high-street brand, has recently undergone a significant strategy review. The strategic changes came in response to the fact that more and more of its customers want to engage with the company via digital and increasingly also via mobile platforms — which at Forrester we refer to as the mobile mind shift

In this new business context, William Hill now focuses on three main initiatives for expansion: 1) develop a wider product range, 2) encourage greater multichannel usage, and 3) increase internationalisation. To better understand how it is tackling these business priorities and, in particular, how the firm is driving multichannel usage by delivering visible value (and in context), we invited Kristof Fahy, William Hill’s Chief Marketing Officer to deliver a keynote presentation at Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in London coming up on May 13-14.

In the run-up to the Forum, Kristof was kind enough to answer a few questions to provide a sneak preview to the content from his speech. I hope you enjoy his responses as much as I did, and I look forward to seeing many of you in London!

Q. You’ve led marketing efforts at a wide variety of companies, from big and established brands like Orange and BlackBerry to challengers like Yahoo. Are there key things that all brands—regardless of size and industry—should be doing today to stay relevant and top of mind in our hyper-connected, multi-channel world?

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Mobile & Social Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Thomas Husson

The vast majority of Facebook and Twitter usage is coming from mobile devices, and both companies generate a significant proportion of their revenues via mobile ads (53% for Facebook and more than 70% for Twitter end Q4 2013).

  • Facebook is splitting into a collection of apps (Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger, Paper, etc…) and likely to announce a mobile ad network at its F8 developer conference in San Francisco in a couple of days. While failing brand marketers, according to my colleague Nate Elliott, Facebook is increasingly powerful at driving app installs for gaming companies and performance-based marketers who have a clear mobile app business model.
  • That’s why Twitter introduced mobile app install ads a couple of days ago and leveraged its MoPub acquisition by integrating ad-buying capabilities. Twitter is less and less about micro-blogging and more and more about traditional media – the place to be for real-time information consumption.
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Future-Proof Your Customer Insights Practice with Adaptive Intelligence

Fatemeh Khatibloo

We've been talking about Adaptive Intelligence (AI) for a while now. As a refresher, AI is is the real-time, multidirectional sharing of data to derive contextually appropriate, authoritative knowledge that helps maximize business value.  

Increasingly in inquiries, workshops, FLB sessions, and advisories, we hear from our customer insights (CI) clients that developing the capabilities required for adaptive intelligence would actually help them solve a lot of other problems, too. For example:

  • A systematic data innovation approach encourages knowledge sharing throughout the organization, reduces data acquisition redundancies, and brings energy and creativity to the CI practice.
  • A good handle on data origin kickstarts your marketing organization's big data process by providing a well-audited foundation to build upon.
  • Better data governance and data controls improve your privacy and security practices by ensuring cross-functional adoption of the same set of standards and processes.
  • Better data structure puts more data in the hands of analysts and decision-makers, in the moment and within the systems of need (eg, campaign management tools, content management systems, customer service portals, and more).
  • More data interoperability enables channel-agnostic customer recognition, and the ability to ingest novel forms of data -- like preference, wearables data, and many more -- that can vastly improve your ability to deliver great customer experiences.
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Lesson From Mobile Banking — Making Things Easy Makes Money

Josh Bernoff

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan just announced that more than 10% of all consumer deposits are done through mobile devices. That's in Q1 2014, and it's up from 6% in Q1 2013. (What you see in this picture is my local Bank of America branch, which I never visit any more.)

I love this from the Wall Street Journal's MoneyBeat blog:

Banks that don’t offer a full suite of mobile banking services may run the risk of alienating customers. All told, about 60% of smartphone or tablet users who switched banks in the fourth quarter said mobile banking was an important factor in the decision, up from 7% in the second quarter of 2010, according to data from New York-based consulting firm AlixPartners.

A mobile transaction costs 10 cents. An ATM transaction costs $1.25.

Here's what this means for you: Find a mobile moment where you can make your customer's life easier and you'll make money three ways. First, you'll make the customer happier with a better experience. Second, you'll keep him from switching to a competitor. And third, if you engineer it right, your own processes will be simpler and you'll save money, too. That's mobile mind shift thinking.

It's not just banking. Where are the mobile moments like this in your business? 

The Data Digest: Global Brand, Local Strategy: Forrester's Global Retail Segmentation Helps To Hone Your Regional Approach

Anjali Lai

Coffee-lovers just about anywhere around the world are intimately familiar with the sweet feeling of indulging in a Starbucks Frappuccino – but their blended beverages of choice might be starkly unique. Although the Starbucks brand is familiar to consumers worldwide, the taste of a Starbucks beverage varies regionally according to the diversity of palates. Chinese consumers may seek out a Red Bean Green Tea Frappuccino while their Japanese counterparts prefer a Coffee Jelly; Argentinians may count on that Dulce de Leche Granizado Frappucino where Brits treat themselves to a classic Strawberries and Cream.

The Starbucks Frappuccino phenomenon is a metaphor for any global retailer’s optimal international approach. By catering to consumers’ varying tastes, global companies can hone a strategy that is sensitive to diversity — the “art of thinking independently together,” in the words of Malcolm Forbes.

When it comes to eCommerce specifically, consumer tastes differ not only in relation to products but also to purchase methods. According to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data, more than half of metropolitan Chinese online adults regularly buy products through both traditional and mobile devices, but only one in four US online adults and even fewer European consumers do this.

 

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Ta Da! Announcing The Speakers At Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals East, 2014 — June 24th and 25th in NYC

Harley Manning

It’s that great time of year when I finally get to talk publicly about Forrester's Forum For Customer Experience Professionals in New York at the end of June. If you’ve ever been to one of our events, you know that we always have a theme, and this year that theme is “Why Good Is Not Good Enough.”

We picked our theme because of the good news/bad news story told by our Customer Experience Index (CXi) results this year. First, here’s the good news: The number of brands in the “very poor” category of the CXi is down to one out of 175 brands we studied. What’s more, only a handful of brands — 10% — are in the “poor” category. Together, those findings show that as customer experience improvement efforts got traction over the past year, the number of truly awful experiences dropped like a rock.

Now for the bad news: Just 11% of brands in the CXi made it into the “excellent” category.

Taken together, those two pieces of news mean that most brands are bunched up in the middle of the curve — not awful in the eyes of their customers but not differentiated either. I think of this situation as “okay is the new poor” or, in my darker moments, “the year of ‘meh.’” Regardless, it adds up to the same thing: A merely good customer experience is no longer good enough if you want incremental sales, positive word of mouth, and better customer retention.

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