An insurance, health management and planning expert, Dr Sarafadeen Raji, has urged stakeholders in Nigerian insurance sector to work towards entrenching an enviable system capable of creating and sustaining positive customer experience.
Raji, who is also the Director, Academic planning of Federal Polytechnic Offa, Kwara State, gave the advice while delivering a lecture on ‘Creating and Sustaining Positive Customers Experience, Key to Insurance Growth in Nigeria,’ at the 2019 Insurance Consumers’ forum organised by the Almond Productions Ltd in Lagos.
He described the customer as a person or individual that buys something from a shop (insured) and defined experience as knowledge and skill that one has gained or the things that have happened to a person or an event or activity that affects him in some ways that influence the way he thinks and behaves.
Similarly, Raji said customer experience was the product of an interaction between an organisation (insurance company) and a customer (policyholder) over the duration of their business relationship, adding that the interaction is made up of three parts; customer journey, brand touch points the customer interacts with and the environments the Customer experiences during his experience.
He noted that customer experience is about, “adding value for customers buying products and services through customer participation and connection, by managing all aspects of the encounter.”
He added that the overall customer experience must be considered at all times.
“Therefore, development of a positive customer experience is important as it increases the chances of a customer to make continued purchases and develops brand loyalty.
“Customer experience is not limited to the purchase alone. It includes all activities that may influence a customer’s experience with a brand. Customer experience encompasses every aspect of a company’s offering, such as quality of customer care, packaging, advertising, product and service features, ease of use, reliability as well as easy access to services.”
He noted that today’s customers are well informed as a result of advancement in education, technology and communication, observing that they know what they want and can easily compare two or more similar products or services with the intention of looking for experiences that can fulfill their yearnings.
“If you are already surveying your customers, think about other ways in which you can interact with prospects and customers through avenues such as focus group, interviews, business planning meetings, social media monitoring, etc. Spending time interacting more deeply with your customers will be well worth the effort and the data you gather will be critical to enable the rest of the steps in the framework,” Raji said.
Other issues he suggested to create positive customer experience within insurance industry includes intentional definition of the customer, building an empowered customer experience culture and personalizing the engagement with the customer, among other issues.
According to him, developing a differentiated customer experience is a journey, not a one – time activity.
He said to sustain the competitive advantage created by the experience, insurance managers should continue to work through steps on an ongoing basis as customer expectations are constantly changing.
“In today’s rapidly – changing environment, the most successful companies are those that put their customers at the center of their strategy and treat the experiences being delivered as a critical business function. Organisations with leading customer experiences decline less in the downturns and bounce back faster when the economic cycle improves.
He noted that by defining the ideal customer experience, building a sustainable process and leveraging new technologies, companies can differentiate themselves from their competitors and position them for growth.
He listed other factors that can help insurance managers grow their businesses as establishment of insurance industry-based research and development centre.