We live in a digital world and it is changing the rules of customer engagement. Personal devices mean we expect instant, easy digital access to anything we want, need or are merely curious about.

We formulate an opinion about a business in a lightning eight seconds based on its website and the experience it gives us. For insurance customers whose primary experience of their insurer’s website could be to file a claim, this opinion will focus on the claims process.

Fast, transparent service that the customer controls is now the new standard. Failure to adapt is not an option. Success lies in creating a fresh customer strategy that pays attention to the service levels the customer wants, and uses digital technology to deliver them.

According to a 2017 Deloitte report, The Digital Transformation of Customer Service, ‘Service teams are being called upon to fulfil a greater purpose in the battle for customers. … Today’s connected world demands that service teams take a greater role in driving customer engagement and loyalty. This shift calls for organizational and cultural transformation.”

Digital technology lies at the heart of the transformation that Deloitte is talking about, of course because our everyday lives are becoming increasingly reliant on digital processes: banking, shopping, investing, school applications, social interaction, job seeking, to name a few. If the digital world is where the customers live, businesses must be fluent in their digital language and service expectations.

Customers have greater access to more choice than ever before. Social media, blogs, forums, review sites: they share their experiences in ways that businesses can no longer control. To thrive in this brave new world, businesses have no choice but to evolve with their customers’ expectations.

Why customers prefer digital insurance claims services

There are several obvious reasons for customers to opt for digital over analogue insurance claim services: no letters to write or paper files to keep, no evidential photos to get developed hoping the angle was right and that they didn’t blur something important.

Mobile phones allow us to photograph, film and record by voice, in high definition instantly, checking for mistakes as we go. And now the technology exists to submit, analyze and retrieve these unstructured files as part of any claim. So why wouldn’t an insurer offer digital claims processes as a matter of course?

Digital services are becoming ubiquitous across all industries because it’s what customers expect. Here are some more reasons that we all as customers can’t help preferring digital and why businesses should be listening:

  1. Digital services speed everything up – including the claims process

Our dwindling attention spans are the subject of much current debate, with fingers pointed firmly at smart devices as the cause. Whether because of technology or not, life does seem to whir along faster than ever before and we expect the companies we interact with to keep up.

If you want to compete with other companies who are focused on attracting and retaining customers with fast, easy-to-use digital services, you have no choice but to offer your customers something similar.

According to Customer Experience Statistics 2017 by Superoffice, 89% of businesses are soon expected to compete mainly on customer experience. Meanwhile, Gartner predicts that by 2020, we will manage 85% of our relations as customers without interacting with a human at all.

Already, digital claims processes require minimal human intervention until the repair stage. The great thing about this is it allows personnel to hone their areas of expertise, turning your teams into a collection of specialists. They are free from ‘grunt work’ such as data collection and storage, which is now managed digitally, and can offer far more value with their sharpened knowledge when they are called upon for advice, for instance.

  1. The amazon effect

Ever since Amazon saturated the online retail marketplace with unending choice and practically instant customer service, there has been no going back. Our expectations as customers have been changed forever and there is no point in fighting it.

The customer has never been kinglier and we know how to wield our power: by taking advantage of the oceans of choice on offer and going elsewhere for our products or services without even telling businesses why.

Analyst Esteban Kolsky says that if customers aren’t satisfied, 13% will tell 15 or more people. Whereas 72% of customers will share a positive experience with only 6 people. This means 67% of customers will tell their friends that a bad experience was a reason for changing supplier, yet only 1 in 26 will complain to the business.

You could lose customers every day without having a clue why. It’s a commonly known fact that retaining customers is far cheaper than acquiring new ones. All the more reason to keep on top of customer preference and give them what they want.

  1. Millennials and their mobiles – future proofing your business

Consumer trends seem to be in constant flux. Yet digital is the one element on which we increasingly rely and there is little chance of smart devices going out of fashion.

50% of customers already think it’s important to be able to solve product or service issues themselves using any device. 70% expect a company to offer a self-service option through their website and, according to a 2015 report by Microsoft, 94% of customers already prefer self-service digital insurance claims processing.

This two-year-old statistic is only going to rise. Millennials will soon be in charge. Defined as people reaching adulthood in the early 21st century, Millennials have grown up clutching an iPad. Hand-held devices taught them the alphabet, colours, numbers: all the basics older generations learned from books.

Give a child a book today and it will likely try to expand the page with a thumb and forefinger, as if it were a screen. These are the insurance customers of tomorrow and their first language is digital.

  1. Cost and fraud reduction

Digitizing the claims process reduces fraud by up to 40% and indemnity costs by up to 15%, according to our own research and customer feedback.

A recent PwC blog stated claims processing is a key area of focus for insurers wanting to deliver savings. Insurance claims cost the sector £37.4bn in 2015 alone. Over 130,000 cases were identified as attempted fraud, costing the industry almost £1.3bn.

The accuracy of digital claims processes acts as a deterrent for wannabe fraudsters, cutting off their avenues of opportunity. It also saves costs through automation, allowing insurers to redirect human resources.

There is no doubt that digital is here to stay and it’s much easier for insurers to adopt digital services for their customers than you might think.

To learn more about transforming your customer experience using digital claims processes, download our eBook below.