FWD Insurance is working on providing a great CX. Source: Instagram/FWD PH

FWD Insurance is working on providing a great CX. Source: Instagram/FWD PH

FWD Group says prioritizing CX is key for today’s insurers

INSURERS are struggling to go digital because of all the challenges they face when it comes to upgrading their legacy infrastructure. To compound the problem, improvements in other industry offerings have raised customer expectations really high.

As a result, most insurers are struggling to improve the customer experience (CX) they offer.

In an exclusive interview with Tech Wire Asia, FWD Group Vice President, Group Customer Experience Raynu Niyomdechar shares some insights about the industry’s race to improving CX.

“CX should not be a specific job function, rather it should be a state of mind in every employee.” Niyomdechar believes that the insurance industry, CX should be part of the organization’s culture.

“At FWD, we believe that every employee plays a role to serve our customer, who is at the forefront of every decision we make. That’s why we not only focus on improving CX, but we also strive to provide a great employee experience (EX) to every employee.”

Niyomdechar’s opinion echoes those of consultants from industry-leading think tanks such as McKinsey and BCG, and she’s learned from experience.

In today’s digital age, the insurance industry is overwhelmed with loads of great ideas and new initiatives but executives need to stay focused. To deliver a good CX, Niyomdechar emphasizes that prioritization is key.

“The insurance industry is a low-engagement disintermediated category, especially when it comes to ‘life insurance’. So whenever customers contact us, we must take the opportunity to deliver a great experience.”

CX: One brand, many markets

Like many of its competitors, the FWD Group operates in several of Southeast Asia’s markets. And although improving the CX in each market is a unique challenge in itself, Niyomdechar believes that customers must get a great experience, irrespective of the market from which they engage with the brand.

“There is no clear position which market is more difficult. Every market has its own unique challenges such as regulation, customer behaviors, competitive benchmarks, as well as internal factors.”

In an effort to provide the best CX to customers across the FWD Group, the company has hired a CX lead who is dedicated to CX work in all FWD markets.

“This is one of our biggest achievements. This is most important, as it has led FWD to achieve several objectives.”

One of the objectives is the establishment of CX tribes in each of FWD’s current markets. A tribe is essentially a group of employees who represent the voice of the customer in a particular market.

“They dare to challenge the status quo and will ultimately enable FWD to change the way people feel about insurance,” said Niyomdechar.

Three steps to help insurers improve CX

Having had some success with CX, Niyomdechar explains what some of the first steps should be for peers looking to succeed with CX improvement projects.

# 1 | Ensure alignment

“Create a CX vision/mission that aligns with the overall company’s vision/mission and most importantly one that aligns with your brand.”

Niyomdechar’s advice might seem plain at first, but it’s critical and so often forgotten while chasing projects, goals, and targets. Failing to ensure alignment could provide an incoherent experience to customers, alienating them completely.

After all, the hallmark of a great CX is one that is synonymous with the brand — just like the one Apple and Mercedes have established in their respective industries.

# 2 | Seek executive commitment

“Seek CEO’s commitment or find the right evangelist i.e. HR, IT, operation or someone at the executive level that fosters CX.”

If organizations want to succeed with CX, they must find a way to make it a part of the company’s culture. In order for that to happen, CX projects need executive commitment.

When business leaders act and do things that provide customers with a great experience, the rest of the organization tends to take cues from those leaders and align themselves accordingly.

# 3 | Look outside the box

“Create your own CX networks outside the organization and beyond the insurance industry as this not only allows CX professionals to learn and seek different views of CX but also helps encourage other professionals.”

Essentially, Niyomdechar is advising organizations to avoid benchmarking their CX against their competitors in the industry and look at the CX that the best companies are providing to customers.

This is especially important because customers compare the brands they spend money on, irrespective of what industry they come from.

Insurers aren’t just competing with other insurers when it comes to CX, they’re competing with the best of the best companies in the industry — and to make an impression on customers, they need to benchmark against the best in the world.