Blog: State of the Broking Nation Findings, Week 4


LV's Kevan Aubrey looks at the issues raised by this week's State of the Broking Nation research, which canvassed broker opinion on digitalisation

Digitisation can often be seen as the mother of efficiency rather than a tool to help companies improve engagement with their customers. Ryanair would argue that every ounce or second it can save and put back into cheaper pricing makes its customers happy, whereas John Lewis may argue that higher quality of interaction makes its customers happy.

But it doesn't have to be all or nothing, and the right approach will depend on your business brand and its strategy - even Ryanair is now looking at ways of improving the customer experience. Businesses that get the best results from digitisation tend to use multi-channel capability effectively and segment their customer groups to ensure they are communicating with them via their preferred method at the appropriate time.

If your target customer group is aged 50 and over - and that includes me - and you are new to a broker or insurer that starts bombarding you with social media, texts and emails, it may feel unwelcome. Yet a younger customer group may welcome the interaction and appreciate the contact, as long as it remains relevant to them. My own experience of young adults and their phones is that they check them constantly and are disappointed if they do not receive a notification every five minutes!

Digitisation is not just about communicating with customers - it can also be an effective tool to increase performance across the business. Most commercial clients would expect an electronic quote these days and access to policy documents electronically as a matter of course.

It is accepted that a client may need to call their broker or insurer to report a claim or to make adjustments mid-term but with time, it is likely that clients will want to be able to do this electronically as well.

That said, many clients would still prefer to deal with a broker over the phone, particularly if they have a complex claim. At LV we have made significant investment in our e-trading but we have always maintained a support team that clients can call at any point, as well as the functionality to continue a transaction offline or over the phone.

I would argue that creating a harmonious relationship between the digital world and the more traditional world is exactly what is needed to fully understand where your customer is in their journey. For me personally, it's about my own capability and confidence in the supplier of the goods.

Recently, I tried to get a quote for home insurance online but became increasingly frustrated with the experience as the provider's website did not give me any way to tell them about a query I had regarding a nearby water course, so in the end I gave up. What I did next was to phone a couple of other providers - but not the one that was difficult to navigate online. I know this was a belligerent reaction to the system rather than an objective one, but there must be others out there like me who have had a similar experience and acted the same way.

What I learned from the experience is that personally I am more prepared to accept the failings of an established brand in the digital world because they have years of historical performance of getting it right. However, most of us don't have 100 years to build up a brand like John Lewis - so the challenge is to build this level of trust and confidence quickly. For me, this means providing the right level of digital capability supported by a traditional service.

by Kevan Aubrey, Head of Commercial Distribution, LV Broker

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