January 22, 2019 by Jason Contant
Before jumping right into buying a piece of technology, brokers should first think about mapping out the customer journey, suggests the CEO of a company that helps brokers with automation.
“Diving right into the software isn’t always the best because if you don’t have an understanding of the journey, then how are you going to automate those journeys?” asked Jeff McCann, CEO of Digital MGA Marketplace. “It’s challenging to map workflows into a system if there isn’t a clear understanding of what the workflows are and what you want to achieve.”
McCann describes customer journey mapping as the process of identifying the unique path for new and existing customers who are trying to engage with a brokerage. “What are their needs, wants, knowledge deficits and pain points in doing business with your firm?” he said. “Ironically, it is often a paper-based process itself, with sticky notes on a whiteboard, but is a great communication tool between all company functions and their perception of how to serve customers and broker-side users. This process and documenting workflows is critical to planning before purchasing new technology.”
McCann spoke to Canadian Underwriter Monday about customer journey mapping and other technology-related topics for brokers. He recommends that companies try and buy insurance from themselves.
“Go home tonight at 8 o’clock at night at the end of your day, just like a business would, and try and find yourself [online] and try to buy insurance from yourself,” McCann said. “And realize, ‘Wait a minute, I had to fill out that ‘Contact Us’ form, and then somebody got back to me four days later and then I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork.’ I think that’s a very valuable process to go through objectively.”
Going through mapping the customer journey is beneficial for both front lines team members and executives, McCann said. “They might be doing something in that journey that is very frustrating, very time consuming, bad for the customer experience, but there is never a feedback loop.” Going through the customer journey map as a team may make the brokerage realize, for example, “that every customer that came to us actually has to stop off at this particular stop point and that’s a huge bottleneck for our business. That’s the bottleneck we should focus on. Those type of insights come first and then you say, ‘How do we fix that bottleneck?’ Now you can procure software or understand that workflow better to optimize it.”
Canadian Underwriter’s 2018 National Broker Survey found that “educating yourself more about the customer’s particular situation” over the past 24 months was considered a best practice (8-10 out of 10) by 80% of over 500 producers. Eighty-four per cent of more than 560 producers polled also considered “engaging in a substantive dialogue about the customer’s needs” a best practice for converting prospects into clients over the past two years.