Customer Experience Energy - SMA Prediction for 2014

January 09 2014 | Mark Breading

It’s no secret that insurers are increasingly focusing on improving the customer and agent experience. Over the last two years, we have witnessed new executive appointments and many strategy projects related to the customer and agent experience. It seems like we’ve all been bombarded by banner ads, e-mail promotions, webinars, and conference speeches on this topic (and I speak from personal experience, having participated in a number of these). But all of this energy and activity will translate into more major initiatives and spending in 2014. The question is, “What will these initiatives look like, and who will be in the driver’s seat?”

There will still be many individual projects that will contribute to enhancing the customer experience. Insurers will roll out new mobile apps, customize customer documents, upgrade portals, and provide new customer self-service options. All of these types of capabilities are important elements of the customer experience. But, for insurers that are thinking ahead, there will be two overarching initiatives that set the stage for a differentiating customer experience. One of these initiatives will be driven by business leaders – planning for customer interactions through the whole customer journey. In 2014, more insurers will map out their communications with customers and agents across the enterprise. This type of initiative is increasingly being driven by the CMO with the intent of improving brand consistency and customer satisfaction. The second initiative is often driven by the CIO, and it is aimed at establishing a unified digital platform that integrates all types of digital communications with customers and agents – mobile, portals, the public web site, social media, and collaboration technologies.

I expect to observe many different variations of these initiatives in 2014. Insurers that are able to combine these efforts will make the most progress in improving the customer experience and having an important impact on company results. The ideal scenario will be to establish a unified digital platform to support all digital customer interactions in a common, efficient manner, and then optimize each interaction with an understanding of the overall customer journey. Individual projects for mobile, collaboration, portals, or other technologies will be able to leverage the platform and produce consistent, personalized communications.

For more information about customer experience initiatives and progress in insurance and SMA’s research in this area, contact me at

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Mark Breading
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