Back in cave times, there was no such thing as money. There was barely such a thing as food and shelter, and definitely no such thing as security. Fast forward to medieval times. More food, some housing, still no security. But economic systems were developing. There was bartering, where a yeoman would pay a maiden twelve buttons and six clams for a chicken, or the maiden would pay the yeoman one lump of butter and a meat pie to mend her thatched roof. What was considered a fair and even trade passed for currency. Eventually, coin currency would develop, helping to establish a consistent worth to goods and services, and instill a certain level of standardization. To this day, consistency and standardization are considered the building blocks of good business practices.
Here in the 21st century, digital transformation is an increasingly common means to enforce consistency and enhance the customer experience (CX). Digital forms automate standardized features for customers, making something like a claims process clear, predictable and efficient.
Let’s say the maiden in the medieval example survives her natural lifespan, and, a few hundred years later, her descendants wind up in modern day United States. Her most recent descendant, a Millennial named Shirley, recently bought her first townhouse. Unfortunately, a hail storm on a Friday night causes some damage to the roof. While Shirley’s ancestor once bartered for services to fix her roof, Shirley herself is able to file an insurance claim to help fix the damage as soon as possible.
Because her insurance company has embraced digital transformation, she doesn’t have to wait until Monday to file a claim. Instead, she goes online and finds an electronic standardized form, one that is also personalized based on background information gathered when she signed up for her coverage. She can even submit a photo of the damage online, so her insurance company can direct her to a repair service to schedule an estimate – all over the weekend. At a stressful time when she has had a loss, these time-saving, automated and standardized processes have saved Shirley hours on the phone. Her claim is in a repository that is easy to find, and will eliminate having to repeat information to different personnel. This customer communications management (CCM) process makes her information easy to access, saves a lot of time and frustration, expedites her claim, and enhances the CX.
While smart forms provide customer benefits, there are also behind the scenes advantages to insurance companies. Digital forms are filled out by typing, so employees don’t have to become handwriting experts, attempting to decipher peoples’ scribble in an age where penmanship isn’t taught in school. Misreading bad handwriting can lead to errors that take time to correct, throwing a monkey wrench in the CX.
With a standardized CCM, the same policy details, billing, claims, and beneficiary information are as accessible to employees as to customers. If Shirley happened to get into a fender bender, the online smart forms, filing process, and level of transparency would be the same or similar to her previous claim.
While bartering worked for our ancestors, modern CX gets a big boost from the consistency that digital transformation provides.