Covid Catapults Digital Experience & Customer Support Into Focus

The survey by Hansa Research highlights customer preferences for customer support channels as a healthy mix of traditional and digital channels across age groups

Digital adoption is being seen as a game changer as customers seek support, service, and information on policies across demographics such as age and gender. Male and female customers are engaging online by actively seeking assistance and support to make an informed choice via interaction with the Call Centre, Branch RM, Chatbot / chatbox on the website etc. before purchase. The survey highlights customer preferences for customer support channels as a healthy mix of traditional and digital channels across age groups.

In the recent study conducted by Hansa Research, LIC continues to have the highest brand awareness across metros and smaller cities. It is perceived to be highly ‘trustworthy’, and has one of the best ‘claim settlement ratios’ however, it loses ground to HDFC Life and ICICI Prudential on account of the gap in experience, especially on the digital front.

Brand selection criteria, buying modes, and consumption patterns are changing across categories. This change is evident even in the life insurance category. Customers, especially the millennials, are heavily relying on company websites for information before purchase, online purchase of policies has hit new highs. The Hansa Research Insurance Cues 2021 found that 35% of the life insurance customers stating that they are likely to switch to another life Insurance company or consider cancellation of a policy (without replacement) in the next 6 months. This has important implications for companies. Customers are looking closely at the suitability of the product, and how easy it is to understand, along with brand reputation.

How Customer Experience Plays An Integral Part In Advocacy 

Experience is key for advocacy and companies need to ensure a seamless customer journey right from the time of purchase and focus on aspects such as time taken to issue a policy, providing status updates or even issuing a physical document of the policy/plan, etc. Players like HDFC Life, ICICI Prudential Life, Max Life, and SBI Life are seen to out-perform other players on these aspects and hence are ahead on the NPS leader board.

Hansa Research’s Insurance CuES 2021, a syndicated Net Promoter Score Study in the Life Insurance segment shows HDFC Life, taking the lead at #1, with ICICI Prudential Life ranked #2 and LIC ranked #3. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is used by many brands as a loyalty metric to measure the health of their customer relationships. A superlative consumer experience is a critical aspect driving the Net Promoter Score.

The study emphasizes the need and importance for brands to invest in building trust among its core consumer base as gaining traction and converting business now meets the new age challenge of retaining customers. Quite a large number of customers still value the comfort that comes with dealing directly with the brand than through its intermediaries. The traditional modes of sales are giving way to newer ways and digitization has played a huge role in the likes of HDFC, ICICI Prudential Life, Max Life etc. are making maximum headway with customers in terms of NPS (Net Promoter Score).

Digital vs Traditional

Insurance CuES 2021 pegs the Net Promoter Score of the Life Insurance industry at 38 (57% are the Promoters, 24% are the Passive Opinionates, 19% are the Detractors). HDFC Life, ICICI Prudential Life and LIC were among the Top 3 scorers on the NPS chart. Covid-19 has impacted the vulnerabilities of the average consumer, that 1 in 2 customers who purchased a life insurance policy in the last six months, bought it for the purpose of financial protection for the immediate family, in the event of demise.

Traditionally, word of mouth from friends and family members and advertising messages etc have been important sources of information when purchasing a life insurance policy. However, ‘Distribution Channel – Agents/ Bank RM/Rep’ and the Company Website’ also play the most valuable sources of information at the time of purchase of Insurance policy in the Insurance CuES 2021 survey. The customer’s reliance on ‘Company websites’ as a source of information has sharply grown in the last six months. HDFC Life was ranked the highest on its website, in terms of being helpful in making a decision about purchase. While digital adoption is not limited across demographics, but Millennials are ahead of the curve on digital adoption. 44% of the millennials state that they would prefer a DIY option via Websites, Mobile App or IVR If they wanted to make a service request e.g. change address. When buying a policy, the top 3 determiners in choosing a brand are Company reputation, suitability of the Insurance plan/ product to the customer’s need and easy to understand products.

The author is Piyali Chatterjee- Senior Vice President and National Head – CX Practice 

Tags assigned to this article:

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.