The current global pandemic and its associated economic crisis have been speeding up the pace of our lives. And our priorities have been changing. "Nice-to-have extras" have become "required services." Many of us are still working from our home offices. This has been having enormous effects on our social interactions. And it has been affecting companies' communications with customers through "anywhere/anytime" channels.
All industry sectors have been feeling such effects, especially in the areas of communication and person-to-person interactions, such as in office environments and in contacts with customers. Hygiene has become especially important. Insurance companies rely on personal contacts. While the hygiene rules for their branch locations and offices have top priority, compliance with those rules presents special challenges. Needless to say, insurance companies want to maintain their standards of service. What could the "new normal" in customer service look like? Could it be easy to implement, in the short term, and yet still have lasting effects?
I always find start-ups, with their innovative business ideas, to be good sources of inspiration. Flexperto, for example, offers insurance companies a great approach for the times in which we now live. The company, a Berlin-based start-up, offers companies powerful, yet simple ways to communicate with customers via digital channels. With Flexperto, all of the things that insurance companies used to handle with their customers in person can now be handled online. Via video chat, they can schedule appointments and answer questions. Or jointly view and edit documents. Or even sign contracts. Via WhatsApp and text messaging, they can answer short questions. For such innovations, Flexperto has been awarded the Digital Champions Award East 2020 in the category Digital Processes and Organization. The Digital Champions Awards are awarded jointly by WirtschaftsWoche, a German weekly business news magazine, and Deutsche Telekom.
Digital is catching up
A 2019 study carried out by Bitkom, the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media, found that German customers have been responding positively to digitalization in insurance companies, with more than half of all customers reporting that they had taken out an insurance policy online at least once. The types of insurance most frequently mentioned in this regard included travel-cancellation insurance, auto insurance, legal-expense insurance, overseas health insurance and accident insurance. Sales of complex insurance policies have to be supported by comprehensive advising, however, if customers are to understand what they're signing. So, personal interviews are still preferred when complex policies are involved. But the digital version of "Mr. Kaiser" (a famous insurance-agent character in German TV advertising) has been catching up – and not just since the start of the corona pandemic.