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Logic & Emotion direct CX Improvements

Nilesh Parmar, Chief Operating Officer, Future Generali India Life Insurance shares the importance of logical & emotional aspects in customer experience design:

Ravi Lalwani: What aspects of CX design do you see as logical and what aspects are emotions?

Nilesh Parmar: Any CX design must balance the logical and emotional aspects. Customers are today looking for a personalized, customized experience irrespective of the channel of interaction. In our industry, the emotional aspects sometimes do matter more, given the nature of the product.

During the purchase journey, the customer is likely to use logic for identifying the need and hence the right product. However, whom to purchase from could be a mix of logic (brand, legacy, etc) and emotion (personal connection with the agent/distributor), as most insurance sales are still done through an intermediary. Post-purchase servicing requirements however will tend to be logical both from a company and customer point of view, except in the event of an unfortunate incident. This however poses a challenge since insurance is a low-touch product category and could result in loss of connection between the company and the customer leading to customer retention challenges.

Keeping this in mind, the CX design must ensure that we create simple, interactive, differentiated customer onboarding journeys which are intuitive with minimal friction. Self-service options (IVR, online portal, mobile app) can take care of customer needs logically, but to create an emotional connection with customers through the policy life cycle, the company needs to create avenues of continuous proactive engagement directly or through the distributor. This would require tools in the hand of the distributor to drive the engagement which prompts for action at appropriate times to connect with the customer at appropriate times (logical connection event leading to emotional connect/bond).

Our CX design, therefore, has 3 components: (i) Proactive customer lifetime engagement (ii) Differentiated service journey, and (iii) Differentiated value proposition. Anything to do with the service journey (customer-led and company-led) can be termed as logical expectations, as these journey types are both prerequisite and sequential (eg policy issuance, renewal reminder, maturity pay out, etc). Proactive engagement converges with the emotional connection with the customers, these are things that the customer may not be logically expecting (eg proactive service connects, nominee connect programs, customer stories, birthday connect, etc).

Are the logical and emotional aspects consistent across customer segments, or do they vary?

It is normal to expect differences across customer segments on both logical and emotional aspects. For example, a financially savvy customer would expect much more logical explanations than someone who is not financially savvy. A technologically savvy (and this segment is increasing rapidly) customer would also tend to respond to logic more than emotions.

Companies, therefore, need their CX design to be able to respond to the needs of individual customers appropriately at different points in the customer life cycle. We have seen companies differentiate basis customer value, customer’s preference of communication channel, etc. Typically, a more personalized (relationship-based) approach gets used for high value customers, and low value customers get serviced through automated/efficient channels. However, if we understand the logical/emotional aspects better, we will come up with a completely different set of solutions for our customers. Most companies/industries do not have this level of CX maturity and have a long way to go in this context.

Are there occasions where logical and emotional designs conflict with each other? If yes, then how have you resolved the conflict?

Logical and emotional designs can conflict during the customer lifecycle. To give an example, which is very common in covid times, customers reach out to us with moratorium requests due to their inability to pay a premium. While on one hand, we try to give the customers a customized set of options within the regulatory framework (so that they can get emotional comfort), on the other hand, we also ensure that minimum and mild collection follow-ups continue to ensure that coverage on the policy can continue for the customer.
Conflicts can also arise due to how we measure out people and their performance.

For example, call centers have been long measured with average handling time for a call. For a customer with a grievance, if the telephone operator is in a hurry to finish the call to control/manage the AHT, the emotional needs of the customer will not be met. The design, therefore, must factor in the different expectations that the customers might have at different points in time. Not only the process design but even the people interacting with customers need to have the empathy and ability to be flexible in their approach depending on how the interaction goes.

What kinds of experts do you involve in designing the logical and emotional aspects of CX?

A good CX design will need experts to manage both logical and emotional aspects. The logical aspects of CX would be best handled by functional experts (SME) who can define the logical customer journeys (request-workflow-fulfillment), business analysts/automation experts who can suggest solutions that could lead to end-to-end automation of the entire cycle. The emotional aspects would be best handled by marketing (behavior experts) who can build user stories, communication workflow, design simple communication templates and create value in customers’ minds upon fulfillment. Customer experience expert would bind the entire solution and closely review pre and post-change in customer’s feedback.

Give 2 examples of logical design improvements and 2 examples of emotional design improvement Future Generali has implemented?

We have done these improvements in our logical & emotional design improvements.
Logical design improvements: Digital customer onboarding – new customer onboarding was mostly physical. In last 2 years, this was made end-to-end digital for both customers and distributors which has led to a reduction in onboarding time, better onboarding experience, and lesser onboarding defects.

Digital customer DIY stack – we have launched multiple digital touchpoints for our customers to log in their requests and used RPA for instant request fulfilment. This has allowed us to service our customers 24×7 and whenever desired by them and customers do not need to approach us via physical service touchpoints only.

Emotional design improvements: Proactive lifetime customer engagement – In various studies customers have indicated that insurers today only contact for either new sales or when renewal is due. There is a lack of any human caring/emotional connect, to overcome this we are implementing a Proactive Customer Lifetime Engagement framework under which both contextual and non-contextual content using physical, phygital and digital platforms shall be enabled to reach out to our customers across their life cycle.

Customer feedback is being sought post every interaction (through transaction NPS) to identify what is working and what needs improvement. Detractors are being engaged with to ensure that their problem is understood, and corrective actions are taken for that customer/transaction as well as structurally to ensure that other customers do not face similar issues/concerns.

Technology is surely needed for implementation. Do you see technology being used to create better CX designs? How?

Customized/personalized journeys cannot be created without technology intervention. The use of digital and data analytics is key to creating these experiences for the customer and distributor. Companies are already making extensive use of technology for customer experience, and this will only increase over time.
We have been able to do this for our self-service platforms with full integration to create a seamless customer experience, for making internal processes more straight-through and efficient such that first-time resolutions can be provided, turn-around times can be reduced, specific customized/segmented campaigns can be run, etc. This is a journey, and we continuously keep evaluating/exploring what more can be done to improve our customer and distributor experience.

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