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Ensuring the best customer journey in insurance - Admiral's policy outlined

Stuart Lauchlan Profile picture for user slauchlan April 16, 2024
Summary:
Sorting out an insurance policy is never going to be fun, but the customer journey can be made as efficient as possible.

Admiral

Sorting out the right insurance policy for your needs is never going to be anyone’s idea of a good time, but it’s one of those tasks in every day life that has to be dealt with. That being the case, the challenge is to ensure that as you jump through the various hoops, you end up with a policy that is appropriate, meets your needs and isn’t going to let you down if you need to make a claim. 

Insurance companies do ask a lot of questions of prospective customers, noted Helen Kinch, Head of Product at Admiral, a UK-based firm set up in 1993 to specialize in car insurance. Speaking at Contentsquare’s recent Beat the Benchmark event, Kinch said: 

It's not the most fun task, buying your car insurance. You do have to answer a load of questions, but it's with your interests at heart that we do it. We make sure we ask you what type of car you've got. We don't cover all kinds of cars. You don't want to pay for a policy that doesn't cover the car. You don't want to pay for something that doesn't cover a modification that you spent ages saving up for. So we ask a lot of questions. We also give the customer a lot of information. We do that so they can read that information, take it in and make an educated decision to buy the product that meets their needs.

Kinch drew on the example of travel comparison websites: 

You go on, you click that you want to go to Marbella on a five star holiday, self catering. You know when they service you those options, every single one of them is going to meet your needs and then it's up to you to pick the best one. 

Of course, the typical holiday website perhaps doesn’t have as much paperwork that needs to be plowed through. But going through all of the initial admin is essential when it comes to insurance. The challenge for providers is how to make the resulting customer journey as efficient and painless as possible.

Interestingly, according to Kinch, AB testing actually shows that buyers of insurance are happier with a longer journey through multiple pages of ancillary options rather than having everything consolidated on one page, presumably on the basis that they feel reassured that all the options are being covered that way. 

There are also external requirements that need to be met by insurance firms, explained Kinch, not least because it is a legal requirement to have car insurance. And then there’s the regulator: 

We are heavily regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), so we have to make sure that we're meeting our customers demands and needs. Not only that, we have a vested interest in doing so. We need to make sure that our customers see the product that meets their needs so that when they need to use it, it covers them. We don't want to get down the line when make a claim and there's a lot of complaints and they're not covered for what they need.

Add to that mix, the highly-competitive nature of the insurance industry and other complications emerge, not least the need to balance value over price. Kinch said: 

We're very price comparison-led. It makes it really easy for our customers to go to one place, answer all those questions, get their options based on what they want and in price order. Our pricing department works really hard to make sure that we come up in the top three [quotes] quite a lot. And then it's over [to us] to make sure that our journey when the customer lands on our site...gives the customer what they need, gives them all the information to buy the product that is best for them. And that's not always the cheapest...A lot of the time a customer clicks on one of the cheapest prices. That might not meet what they think they're getting for their money. So we've got a job to make sure that we give the customer all of the information to make an educated decision to buy the product that's best for them. 

Transparent

Transparency and clarity are vital, added Damian Squire, Senior Product Owner at Admiral: 

[The FCA] places a really strong emphasis on being really clear and transparent, in all our communications with customers. So it's really important that customers know exactly what it is you're covered for, what you're not covered for, any exclusions that may apply. Now we have to think of all these things against the backdrop of the average reading age in the UK is nine and with numeracy I think it's 11.  We can put all the information we want in front of a customer, how do we know that they've read it? How do you know they've understood it?

At Admiral, this has involved a lot of investment upfront, he said: 

Pre-production, we worked really closely with our design team and our customer insight team. We spent a lot of time in workshops putting a lot of content together and wireframes. We put this in front of real life customers. We use users a lot, a hell of a lot. This way we know that our customers really do understand the content that we're going to be putting online. We have lots of different surveys about how they feel about the information that's being put in front of them, so we're fairly confident that customer will understand what it is in front of them.

Post-production, we spend a lot of time reviewing templates, not just for customers online, but offline also. Is there anything we can glean from that feedback that will help us improve our online journey and our customer experience? NPS and Trustpilot scores [are] really important. We look at the good and the bad and we take any feedback we get and will try and incorporate that into our online journey.

He added: 

We have a dedicated team that will listen to the interactions between our call center agents and our customers to ensure that that transaction achieved a good outcome. We've taken that same philosophy and we've introduced that to our online journeys using session replays from Contentsquare. We have circa 1500 sessions, where our customers have started a journey, completed and got to check out. What we do is we review to make sure that they had a good outcome during that journey. They're all graded independently and the feedback is totally focused on customer outcome and frustration. That allows us to take any corrective action quite quickly.

The end result should be a case of selling steak, not sizzle, argued Kinch, using the analogy to set out a four point set of recommendations:

First and foremost understand your customer. Do they want [their steak] rare, medium rare, little bit burnt? It’s knowing just about how your customer likes it. Be transparent. Reading the menu might not be the fun part,...knowing what you're going to get is though. Value value value - you're not the only steak on the market, but you can be the best bang for the customer's buck. Ensure bloody great outcomes. When they take a bite, they know they're not going to be dis-satisfied. 

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