The Disconnected Customer Experience

  • If you want to know what a ‘connected customer experience’ is, you need look no further than the latest report from software integration specialists Mulesoft who define it thus: “An organisation knowing your preferences across all channels and/or being able to provide you with access to the information you need in a timely manner.”

    The term ‘all channels’ is the real clue because what it means is that all the lines have had to be redrawn due to the intervention and impact of social media. Writing the Forward to the ‘Mulesoft Connected Consumer’ report, Paul Jacobs – the Customer Experience Transformation Director of Deloitte – observed “as perceptions of traditional channels harbour long wait times and bureaucracy, social media has opened up the instant response options for consumers.”

    The report’s findings show that, amongst other things, more than half of European consumers feel they have received a ‘disconnected experience’ and that insurers, banks, retailers and public services really have to raise their game if they are to provide a “connected and value added experience (to consumers).”

    As to the insurance industry specifically, the report notes that the sector is “currently facing a lot of digital disruption with the emergence of online aggregators and InsurTech companies forcing the traditional providers to re-evaluate their customer offerings.” UK insurance company customers reportedly have the least personalised experience in Europe – 45% compared to 73% in Germany. More to the point, though, 63% of European consumers said that they would consider changing insurance providers due to a “disconnected experience.”

    And just to drive the point home, the report also cites a separate study undertaken by PwC which found that 70% of Insurance CEOs – a higher percentage than found in any other industry – see the speed of technological change as a threat to their growth prospects. Backing that up, one of the key conclusions of the Mulesoft report is that: “Today’s consumers have shown that they are also increasingly intolerant of disconnected experiences and are quite prepared to change providers if expectations are not met. As we progress, consumers have the means to identify quickly and switch companies that can better meet their needs, and businesses who do not act now will be left behind.”

    As we can see with InsurTech, the disrupters are making a significant difference because they can demonstrate that technology can handle ‘big data’ both faster and better with the result that it cuts time and costs, leading to lower premiums. Mulesoft’s report showed that 37% of European consumers (exactly the same in the UK) “would be happy for their insurance provider to utilise third party data from the likes of Facebook and collect data about them if it meant that they were provided with a more personalised service and lower premiums. Broken down into the various age groups, the percentage of people aged 55+ who would be happy falls to 26%, but those in the 18-34 year bracket leaps to 54%. The latter statistic is a clear pointer to the future, whether you like it not. Best start dealing with it right away.

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