Engaging with digitally savvy customers

Digitally savvy customers seek the best possible work/life balance, are online every day, and value insurance companies that offer flexible, unambiguous, and personalized services. Three Swiss companies are particularly successful at meeting these expectations. At the top of the list is Baloise, according to the “Insurance Study 2019” published by Zühlke, Horváth & Partner, LINK Institut, and the University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich (HWZ). We asked Michael Besel, Head of Digital Marketing & E-commerce, about Baloise’s recipe for success.

Michael Besel, Baloise

What does customer orientation mean to you?

We should never think of customer orientation in isolation. Ideally, customer orientation is in a company’s DNA. Everything we do should be geared toward making things easy and convenient for our customers. This means that we must always walk in our customers’ shoes and think from the customer’s perspective when we revise existing solutions or assess new ones.

“Everything we do should be geared toward making things easy and convenient for our customers.”

Michael BeselHead of Digital Marketing & E-commerce at Baloise

We can perform quantitative analyses with behavior data we collect through tracking. At the same time, we can also do qualitative tests to find out if customers like and accept what we have designed. This requires interdisciplinary teams that develop solid solutions for customers from the data intelligence.

Your company gets top ratings from the “digitally savvy” customer group, which is, after all, the fastest growing customer group. How do you reach out to these customers?

The solutions we develop are not exclusively for digitally savvy customers. Rather, the fundamental premise is to implement simple solutions that allow customers to have a consistent and seamless customer journey in the digital environment. It seems that digitally savvy customers are still using these solutions more frequently right now. For customer groups that are still hesitant to use digital services, however, we have equally suitable solutions since we offer various channels. When they are on the phone or in a personal consultation with us, customers can use the exact same services that are available online. This is the essence of our omni-channel strategy: That customers can interact with us on any channel.

What did you learn from the “Insurance Study 2019”?

Other industries are much further ahead than the insurance industry in terms of digitalization topics. While we have accomplished a lot in the recent past, others, such as telecommunications companies, are much more advanced when you compare industries. So, we definitely still have some catching up to do.

How do you manage to stay “up to date” and adequately consider developments in the marketplace and on the customer side as well as new technologies and bring those into the company?

We have an internal start-up scouting team at Baloise that monitors the market in terms of interesting start-ups and provides input on potential collaboration partners. We also receive a regular trend report from an external partner, which illustrates digital developments in our industry, but also provides suggestions beyond our industry. Then, we have a so-called “betting team,” where everyone has the chance to submit bets based on the following motto: “I have a topic, and I bet our customers would find this exciting.”

“The betting team initiative focuses on implementing ideas very quickly and taking them to market to see if customers like the prototype.”

Michael BeselHead of Digital Marketing & E-commerce at Baloise

After a pitch phase, the winning bets are implemented by the betting team in a minimum amount of time. The point is to develop a solution very quickly and take it to market. If customers like the prototype, the bet is considered won. In that case, we develop the solution and incorporate it into our system landscape.

What is Baloise’s digital vision? Where are you headed?

As I understand it, the point is to engage with customers or prospects at the right time, at the right location, and with the right message or the right service. Of course, the engagement is highly targeted and personalized – and for that, we need data!