Leveraging Customer Journey Maps to Discover Use Cases in Insurance
Deep debates in the software management circles surround the potential use cases of software applications that leverage cognitive technologies. While AI/ML techniques along with computer vision are promising improved customer experience all round, the corresponding application requirements need to keep pace as well. In a typical insurance business context, this is done by first understanding the customer journey points and then identifying the application features at each of those points.
In this blog, I explore the possibilities of using fresh approaches to discovering possible use cases in the insurance industry. While the nuances are many, my attempt here is to abstract the business process through the customer experience cycle and identify where and how technology can assist in enhancing customer experience.
Figure: 1 shows an abstracted view of an ideal customer experience cycle where an insurance business prospect becomes a repeat customer over time.
Figure: 1 – Customer experience wheel
Experience wheels or customer journey maps like these present an excellent opportunity to comprehend all the touchpoints an organization can have with its potential and existing customers. It allows the application designer to understand the key customer interaction points and how customer perception and experience of the business can be improved. Let us now delve into the detail of arriving at use cases by closely following the customer journey map.
The Customer Journey from a Prospect to a Repeat Customer
A typical customer journey includes the stages shown below:
|Cover Life Cycle||Claim|
|Renewal offer||Renewal closure|
A prospect, who is looking to insure his property or his vehicle, begins by doing some desk research to shortlist the insurance companies that promise him the best insurance plan. He looks for the plan that is affordable and offers full protection from all potential risks. Insurance companies that offer their products in an easy-to-understand manner with jargon-free content do well in the event the prospect looks up their offerings.
As the prospect does his due diligence, he enquires about his requirements and seeks clarifications. This is when the insurance organization establishes a contact with the prospect for the first time. The effectiveness of this first interaction can ultimately decide whether the prospect goes on to become a customer or not.
In response to the enquiry by the prospect, the insurance company reverts to him with its clarifications. This interaction becomes iterative until satisfactory clarifications are received by the prospect.
Based on the information disclosed by the prospect and his agreement with insurance terms and conditions, the insurance company makes a final offer for the requested cover.
The prospect accepts the final offer and becomes a customer of the insurance company.
Cover Life Cycle
While the cover is in force, any chance of eventuality that will trigger the insurance cover is far from the minds of most customers. Hence, both the customer and the insurance company are likely to go through a long holding period during which little meaningful interaction or communication happens between the two parties. On the surface of it, there is little business imperative to be in touch with the customer.
Most customers dread this part of the journey as the potential trauma of a property or health incident and the uncertainties around insurance coverage faze them. Whenever they are forced to face it, they like it to be as smooth and transparent as possible. In response to the eventuality with insurance cover that has occurred, the customer files a claim. While the customer tries to minimize the financial loss due to the event, the insurance company attempts to minimize the payout on the claim. It is an inherent potential conflict which can be either resolved quickly and amicably or a long-drawn-out struggle.
Let’s take one more step down to see what the standard sub-processes under Claim are.
In the event of a loss, the insured is expected to notify the insurance company of the nature of the loss along with all necessary details. This facilitates the insurer to initiate all subsequent activities pertaining to the claim resolution.
If the event involves robbery, theft, or accident, the police will have to be informed. The police take action to assess the criminal aspects, if any.
All evidence related to the event and the claim is collected. Third party surveyors could be employed in this process as needed.
Third Party Claim
Third party claims are first processed, depending on the liability involved.
Repairs and Replacement
Sometimes, immediate repairs and replacement will have to be carried out with a special focus on minimizing loss.
Experts assess final damages to determine the likely cause and the insurance payout amounts. They also document the sequence of events leading to the claim.
Final Document Preparation
All the documents, evidence, forms, and certifications are put in a dossier for submission to the insurer to process the final claim.
Figure 2 - Claim Process under the Hood
When the insurance coverage period is about to end, the insurance company sends a request for renewal to the customer. Most customers would verify the important aspects such as changes in coverage, premium amount and claim bonus before taking action on the renewal request.
Once the customer accepts the renewal, the insurance company issues a new policy for the next coverage period. The customer has now become a repeat customer.
A study undertaken for the insurance industry is illustrated in the table shown.
|Journey Point||Key concerns to be addressed||Cognitive Use cases|
|Computer Vision – Image & Video||Voice/Chat||Printed Text||Others|
|Desk Research||How to aid a prospect in searching for information?||Mobile app||Better SEO etc.|
|Enquiry||How to ensure effective replies to enquiries?||ML-based replies based on successful analysis of previous enquiries|
|Clarifications||Ensuring satisfactory handling of clarifications||Replies tuned for the requestor profile|
|Final Offer||How to make final offers that are complete and address all the concerns and clarifications sought?||Enquiry-to-Final -offer traceability matrix|
|Acceptance||How can the prospect feel that the offer is absolutely worth the premium?|
|Cover Life Cycle||During the period while the cover is active, how can the insured be kept fruitfully engaged?||Drone-based reviews for P&C. Periodic OBD analysis for car etc.|
|Renewal Offer||How can the renewal offer prevent the customer from switching?|
|Renewal Closure||How can the customer experience a better renewal of the journey?||Graphical risk positioning relative to other customers in a similar domain|
|Claim||Not all customers go through this process. However, it is important for those who do and much of the trauma and anxiety experiences are likely in this journey point.|
|Loss Notification||How to ease the difficulty in reporting a loss especially considering that the customer would be going through a difficult period?||Drone reviews of event site in case of P&C, automobile events etc. Image-based preliminary analysis uploaded through mobile app|
|Police Reporting||While police reporting is required for certain claim events, the larger question is can insurers reduce the difficulty in reporting and improve experience?||Chat for standard queries with person support||Reviewing filled in forms for guidance|
|Evidence Collection||While insurance companies and sometimes third parties (TP) usually collect evidence, could the insured carry out self-collection?||Assisted photo collection app with AR|
|Repairs & Replacement||Sometimes, as a loss minimization strategy, immediate repairs and replacement are necessary. How can customer experience be improved using innovative applications?||Geo-assisted nearest repair centers and capability-driven facilities|
|Damage Assessment||After the loss notification, accurate damage assessment is critical. It is usually done by surveyors or other TP agencies. How can the assessment be expedited using technology?||Drone reviews of event site in case of P&C, automobile events etc. Image-based preliminary analysis uploaded through|
|Final Document Preparation||Incomplete submission hampers insurance payouts. Repeated requests for document changes and resubmission lead to customer dissatisfaction. Immediate feedback on correctness of the document submitted helps alleviate this situation. Which application can satisfy this need?||Using OCR to quickly accept content and flag any incomplete documentation||Checklist and immediate notification of documents received|
Deriving All Possible Use Cases and Design Requirements
We first begin by identifying the prospect/customer needs at each point in the customer journey. The techniques that help in identifying the needs are many. One obvious technique is to do a survey and choose the use cases from the result of the survey. Another technique is to use a brainstorming process with all the stakeholders of the business process. Yet another technique involves identifying the emotions involved at each journey point and seeks to accentuate positive experiences while avoiding negative impact. The results of this analysis are used to arrive at the use cases and further abstracting the potential application design requirements.
A systematic and thorough analysis of customer journey maps with a focus on enhancing business outcome and customer experience at each point is a powerful tool in application development. This should ideally be part of the design thinking phase so that the outcome reflects what is truly needed by the customer and the most effective for the business. Though the subject chosen here was insurance, it can be readily applied to any vertical, equally effectively.