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Almost anything you want is simply a click away. Whether you need to rent a car, order dinner or have someone shop for your groceries, there is an app for that.
We live in a time where instant gratification is expected. Once upon a time, consumers were much more adept at dealing with long lines, poor customer-service, multiple phone calls and disrupted journeys. There simply weren’t any alternatives.
However, as more of yesterday’s manual processes have been reduced and replaced due to advancements in tech, and consumers have learned to leverage social media to amplify their complaints and highlight pain points, companies are increasingly devoting more resources to designing technology to improve customer experience.
Consumers Have Been Reprogrammed
I recently made a trip to my local post office to mail a package — something you’d think would be a straightforward and simple process. But it wasn’t simple. Not at all. From the long lines and lack of clear signage, this trip took way more time than anticipated and left me far from delighted as a consumer.
“56% of global consumers say they have higher expectations for customer service now than they had just one year ago.” (Microsoft)
I realized through this experience I have been reprogrammed to expect things at an expedited pace, which made my recent customer journey at the post office especially painful. Today, customers want more seamless processes that require as little effort as possible on their end, and they want them everywhere.
Expectations Around Wait Times
The acceptable wait time for customers is diminishing. This extends from phone hold times to waiting in lines to overall service experience.
“78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction because of a bad service interaction.” (American Express)
A 2017 study, which surveyed more than 1,500 U.S consumers about their phone wait time experiences, revealed today’s expectations around instantaneous customer service. Compared to American Express’ findings three years ago that customers were willing to wait for 13 minutes, Arise found nearly two-thirds said they would wait two minutes or less, and 13 percent said, “no wait time is acceptable.”
Time is a key determining factor for overall customer satisfaction, but it’s not just enough to reduce how long a process takes; it’s now crucial to manage expectations around time via communication touch-points throughout the customer journey.
Apps such as Uber and Lyft allow you to see exactly how long it will take the driver to pick you up and drop you off. GrubHub gives you real-time text updates from when your food is being prepared all the way to delivery.
Knowing the status of when to expect things offers customers a greater sense of control and appropriately aligns expectations.
Expansion of Expectations Beyond the Everyday
As consumers, we quickly recognize pain points, and when we have experienced improved satisfaction in our regular day-to-day lives, the occasional time-consuming experience feels particularly slow.
Take auto insurance claims. When your car gets into a fender bender, the traditional process for handling claims feels especially complicated and opaque. However, through the combination of technology and strategic workflows, it’s possible to make the claims process exponentially simpler for customers and insurance carriers alike. Thereby addressing a pain point that, while widespread, is not a day-to-day occurrence for the average consumer.
Addressing the pain points within the claims process and creating a positive customer experience isn’t just about time, but also matching the ease and expectations that consumers experience with any other app that is part of their regular routine.
To this end, many companies are implementing “Customer Effort Scoring,” which is focused on how quickly and effectively issues are resolved. For example, “Did we make it easy for you to resolve your issue today?” The key word there is “easy.” Customers don’t want the burden to be on them to solve their issue.
According to a 2015 Oracle study, customer satisfaction increases substantially (from 61% to 93%) when customers perceive their own effort during a transaction as “low,” and willingness to recommend a business increases 36 percent when effort by the customer moves from “high effort” to “low effort.”
Supportive Insurtechs Enable Insurance Carriers to be Innovative
Insurtech is in a unique position to support insurance carriers by anticipating advancements and proactively meeting consumer and customer needs. New use cases will always be pushing companies to approach things differently and improve processes, and insurtechs enable insurance carriers to bridge technological gaps and stay ahead of the curve.
Leveraging insurtechs serves two purposes for insurance carriers. First, insurtechs allow carriers to meet the fast-evolving expectations of consumers. Second, utilizing insurtechs enables carriers to operate more nimbly.
For example, the adoption of machine learning and AI allows companies to become more agile and less dependent on manual processes. Standardization and coding of specific processes enables organizations to reallocate time and resources to non-standard projects and other aspects of the customer lifecycle.
Fast Will Only Get Faster
Technology is driving customer expectations and will continue to set the pace for what customers expect from services. This is a crucial time for companies as they consider new ways to improve customer journeys with the help of tech. Companies that have been slow to adopt new technology and have continued to rely on manual, legacy processes are realizing the importance of tech and how it is necessary for maintaining long-term customer satisfaction.
In a recent study by Forrester for American Express, one conclusion reached was that Gen Z is more likely than Gen Y (Millennials) to discontinue using a brand due to slow customer service response. On the other hand, same-day delivery, mobile self-check-out and 1-hour delivery are key drivers to increasing brand loyalty among this co-hort. The study predicts many brands will find it difficult to maintain the loyalty of Gen Z consumers due to this generation’s expectation of instant gratification.
It won’t be long before this younger generations fully saturates the consumer marketplace. The need for speed and ease is only going to become more pressing as companies try to meet these demands. We aren’t quite at “instant” satisfaction, but with the help of tech, we are getting there. It won’t be long before there’s an app for… well, if you can imagine it, it’s only a matter of time.