Swapnil Yemde, New Business Development Manager, Argility
Single customer view (SCV) is a ‘holistic’ representation of an organisation’s key assets. These assets can be customer, product, account, policy, supplier, inventory, equipment etc. For B2C industries such as insurance, retail and banking, SCV is crucial to understanding their market. For B2B industries such as manufacturing, SCV can help create a ‘golden record’ of machines and equipment to inform lifecycle management and operations. In essence, irrespective of the asset it talks to, SCV enables businesses to understand their assets better, manage them efficiently and leverage them effectively for driving growth and profitability.
Few organisations appear to have been able to implement SCV successfully, let alone leverage its maximum potential. Further, as businesses and technologies have rapidly evolved, the context of SCV has been reshaped to take on new meaning and purpose in the age of digital transformation and omni-channel customer experiences.
Today’s digital savvy, time starved and information hungry customers are demanding experiences and not just goods and services. They are asking businesses to support their self-directed purchasing journey with tools for evaluation and comparison. At the same time, they expect businesses to understand their context and personalise service delivery.
Customers are now demanding that this expectation be supported consistently and conveniently across multiple channels and touch points. They also expect businesses to enable them to switch channels whilst they progress on their journey.
The insurance industry has been struggling to move from risk-based product focus to customer focus. Also, with mergers and acquisitions and a proliferation of products, insurers have a difficult battle to win over customers selling products that are intangible with benefits that are realised in future years, if at all.
It is important for insurers to make good use of every customer engagement. It is necessary to capture, manage and analyse every interaction and index them against the customer’s ‘golden record’ for current as well as future operational needs. Changes of contact details needs must be updated on the golden record and made available to all of the touch points, channels and lines of businesses, even to the company’s extended enterprise that includes partners, agents and brokers. Details on changes to premiums, customer complaints and claims can be tagged on the golden record. All of this can help insurers to develop key customer insights, identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and deliver better customer service.
A single view of customers, or key organisation assets, is only the starting point of digital transformation and omni-channel customer experience initiatives. Once this fundamental building block is in place, insurance businesses can look forward to leveraging this golden record by augmenting their capabilities in various areas including:
Customer engagement and loyalty
With a single view of customers, insurers can drive certain behaviours with customers that serve to lower their risk profile. This can encourage customers to update their details, provide referrals, share positive experiences or to remain short-term insurance claim free.
In the insurance industry, context includes data generated from telematics (driving data of insured for motor vehicle insurance). The data available from both physical and digital channels enhances the value of a single view solution.
Decision support (from data to insights to actions)
Data is the new differentiator. With the Internet of Things (IoT), organisations now have access to massive amounts of data on products and customer behaviour. Businesses looking to invest in enhancing their existing business intelligence capabilities or augmenting it with predictive analytics, machine learning and AI solutions should first ensure the quality and relevance of existing data.
With most insurers’ growing through acquisitions and mergers, it is not uncommon to have multiple databases and systems that use, operate and process data on key information assets such as customers, policies and brokers. This results in data fragmentation, lack of standardised processes and complex architecture that often inhibits the transition to a digital enterprise – where personalisation and omni-channel customer experiences are key to success.
With SOA architecture-based solutions for data integration, insurers can tackle complex integration environments by allowing systems with diverse data models to talk to each other. With a common data model for key enterprise entities such as customers, policies or brokers, insurers can cater to diverse requirements of different product lines, processes and systems.
Insurers can then a run a sequence of data quality actions that processes data from multiple systems, standardising, removing duplicate copies, cleaning and merging records on a continuous basis with the goal of creating one golden record. This golden record is the master record which is fed data from all publisher application systems and which in turn feeds data back to all subscriber applications.
All of the above actions would enable insurers to improve the data quality of key information assets, enhance inter-departmental collaboration and ensure data availability across the enterprise from marketing, sales and operations, through to customer service.
In conclusion, SCV provides a central repository and one version of the truth of the key information assets. It brings structure to massive amounts of operational and unstructured data. It also ensures that information on your key assets is continuously refined and hence relevant. It is critical for insurers to drive personalisation for enhanced customer service, new product development and better customer engagement, which in turn promotes loyalty. SCV is the fundamental building block for insurers to transform to a digital enterprise and deliver high-quality omni-channel customer experiences.