Insurance and the promise of continuous connection

A savvy marketing director from an insurance company once told me,
“Up until now, our customers basically had only two contacts with us. Once when they paid for the product and once when something bad happened. Neither occasion is notably pleasant.”
“Lets keep in touch”
As we see it, the most powerful enabler of extended engagement with customers is the mobile phone. Insurance companies are devising ways to engage with customers more.  They are doing this by giving customers things that are relevant and timely and can be accessed when and where it is wanted. In exchange, they are betting that customers will engage and collaborate, helping them find and develop new products.
Mobile is more than a channel. It is becoming the marketplace.
Mobile phones allow engagement to become frequent and intimate. With some imagination, companies will begin to use phones not just to discover needs and develop products but also to deliver products, get paid and settle claims. All of this on demand. No other channel is so ubiquitous, powerful and personal at the same time.
Learning to listen.
Phones are intrinsically two way. They can push information, advice or products to customers. But it can also pull or elicit feedback, comments and interaction back to a company. What managers need to ask is if they ready to listen. How do you train the organization to listen? How do you capture verbal, unstructured information and interaction? How are you going to parse it, sift it and find the nuggets in the noise?
Successful strategies may give Insurance companies an earful. But used in the right way, what they learn can be useful and valuable. A new area called Data wrangling may offer a way to extract value from this kind of unstructured data.
/ Richard Tanimura
picture: Martin Snicer Photography, Flickr.