Customer expectations have soared to new heights as the world has become increasingly digital, putting brands in the spotlight when it comes to digital interactions with their consumers. Companies are now expected to deliver premium customer experiences that are fast, comprehensive, and easy to complete online. And each online experience is expected to be a seamless extension of in-person interactions. So how do you deliver the right blend of online and in-person experiences to deliver increased customer value and drive loyalty to your brand?

Here are 4 ways digital expectations are opening opportunities for you to drive business:

  1. Your customers are comparing you to companies outside your industry – Online retailers and streaming media providers have set the bar high when it comes to the digital customer experience. Their services are used so widely that customers now see that bar as the standard for all digital activity. In a recent Assurant survey, 83% of consumers agreed that best-in-class experiences raise their expectations for all companies across all industries. This means you’re being judged not just against your competitors but against all the companies your consumers do business with. To get ahead of your competition and get there first, you’ll need to deliver a customer experience that effectively leverages disruption where it’s most impactful, provides the best level of interoperability for connected consumers, and prioritizes ease of use. If that sounds aligned to your digital customer experience goals, keep reading.
  2. The connected consumer expects maximum interoperability– Today’s customers expect to easily transition back and forth between phones, desktops, laptops, tablets, smart speakers and a variety of other devices – and they want you to be able to support them wherever they are and whatever device they’re on. The support connected consumers need goes beyond the products they’re using. It’s about the services wrapped around those products that help solve consumer challenges.

    Connected products often depend on one another or unseen networks to operate. With such high levels of interoperability, consumers fear even a small glitch in the system. They want to know who will help them fix a problem if something goes wrong.

    This means your customers need direct access to highly-trained experts that understand the ins and outs of consumer devices and their technical needs. A combination of premium tech support and the right protection products are essential to providing a positive experience that drives customer loyalty.

  3. Ease of use wins business, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a big role –We’ve learned a lot at Assurant as we’ve integrated AI and machine learning to introduce virtual agents and chatbots that provide strong digital customer experiences, automate backend processes to take routine tasks off our employees so they can focus on strategic initiatives, and improve process efficiencies to meet customer expectations faster. Here are the lessons we have to share:
    • The right combination of AI and human intelligence is key – Yes, your customers want an award-winning digital experience. But they still want to reach out to a human representative when they need to. Finding the areas where AI can reduce the volume of routine tasks and allow your team to focus on driving business goals forward is key.
    • Clean, actionable data is king – You may want to invest in some data cleanup before you start making big decisions. It could save you a lot of time and money down the road and allow you to reach accurate conclusions.
    • The right AI partners will make a big difference - You don’t have to build everything from scratch. With the right partners and investments, you can integrate AI into your business strategies in an impactful way quickly and efficiently. Take a look at the artificial intelligence opportunities we’re exploring in our recent blog, Which Industry is Totally Transforming Itself with AI Technology? The Answer Might Surprise You.
  4. Data needs to help focus digital innovation where it has the greatest business impact – By 2020, more than 40% of all data analytics projects will relate to an aspect of customer experience. But, with so much data available, how do you focus your efforts in the areas that offer the most return on investment? The answer: (1) determine the biggest pain points in your customer experience strategy, (2) identify and collect the data sets you need to answer any questions you have about that pain point or any areas where you need more clarity, and then (3) analyze those data sets with the set intent to find opportunities that help you improve the pain points you identified.

    For example, a few years ago the Assurant multifamily housing team learned a big pain point for property management companies was they were spending too much time chasing residents who weren’t making their monthly renters insurance payments, thereby leaving their properties unprotected from damages. We set up a variety of data sources to help us learn more: feedback loops from sales and product teams, customer surveys and focus groups, and in-depth CX research. Using the results of that effort, we identified a solution: a first-to-market process that allows residents to combine monthly renters’ insurance premium payments with their rent and automatically tracks payments on an ongoing basis without requiring any work from a property’s leasing staff. Not only does this increase efficiency at the leasing office, it effectively doubles the number of renters who participated in a property’s renters insurance program – a digital innovation based directly from reviewing focused insights and feedback from our property management company clients and their residents.

One constant in today’s digital landscape is that it’s going to continue evolving. Rising customer expectations are driving companies to explore new technology, rethink how they support connected consumers, and focus their innovation on areas where it’s going to make the most difference. At Assurant, we’re transforming the insurance industry and the related areas where we do business to help you stay ahead of the competition.

Read Next: The Rise of Consumer Expectations (Infographic)