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Getting to Know Customers, One Data Point at a Time
By Stephanie Myers, Head Customer Experience Strategy, Prudential Assurance Company Singapore
They say ‘knowledge is power’ and this adage certainly holds true in good customer relationship management. The company that holds a decent amount of data about their customers and understands how to harness it will be well equipped to create healthy and long-term relationships.
Online retailers are in an enviable position as they can build up a detailed profile of their customer over years of browsing and purchases. Hotel brands are in a similarly strong position as guests are often happy to hand over personal information in exchange for preferential treatment and perks. Even banks have the benefit of frequent interactions to create a picture of customer habits.
This is not so for life insurers, where the time between customer interactions could add up to years. The young single who bought a policy five years ago may now be married with a child and a mortgage—and with all new insurance needs to serve if only the brand was aware.
This was the central customer relationship management issue that we faced at Prudential: How can we effectively open a dialogue with customers when we lack a clear picture of their lives because their profile is incomplete or outdated? How do we begin to establish a relationship with customers when we don't capture much data about them beyond name, age, marital status and purchase history?
Today’s consumers understand the value exchange between themselves and brands. More information provided by the consumer should equate to more relevant communications from the brand
For Prudential, laying the foundation for customer relationship management meant getting to know our customers better, one data point at a time.
Start With What’s Available. While we began with limited customer data, at least it was the right type of data: key facts about customers that would enable us to create a simple picture of their life stages and purchase journey with Prudential.
Bring in Additional Insights. From there, we layered on data gleaned from our own market research and reputable third-party sources. At this stage, a more robust view of our customers emerged, including demographics, attitudes and motivations.
Ask Customers Directly. Customers may be more than happy to update their profiles—if only the brand asks. Today’s consumers understand the nature of the value exchange between themselves and brands. More information provided by the consumer should equate to more tailored and relevant communications from the brand.
Make it Dynamic. Most importantly, we needed to recognize that our customer’s lives change regularly. As the newly married couple expands their family and financial obligations, we need to identify those significant life milestones and shift them into a more appropriate customer segment.
For online retailers, hotels and banks, this is well-trodden territory. For a category like insurance that has historically relied on intermediaries to be the primary point of contact with customers, it is groundbreaking.
At Prudential, answering the challenge of getting to know our customers better is part of a larger ongoing transformation effort to become a more customer-centric organization. We have a digital roadmap to make insurance simpler and more accessible, with technology as a key enabler in this journey. This includes adopting new digital tools, such as a CRM platform that will help us understand each customer and anticipate their wants, needs, expectations and behaviors. We are also partnering with FinTechs to help identify trends and patterns in consumer behavior. The end result for our customer is an enhanced journey, meaningful financial solutions and relevant communications—all underpinned by accurate and comprehensive data.