Gothaer says good-bye to isolated channels
The insurance customer 2.0 is not easy to grasp. He is informed and independent, jumps back and forth between the Web, mobile apps and social media and seeks out the best solution for himself on his own. Gothaer views this lasting change in cus-tomer behavior as an opportunity and is adapting its sales accordingly. This means good-bye to divisions and channels and hello to the multichannel sales of the future!
The insurance market is in flux. Customer behavior has permanently changed in recent years. And the process is continuing. The customer serves himself in a wide variety of channels when it comes to obtaining information or purchasing insurance. The Internet, and more recently, social media are playing an increasingly important role in the process. That is where the cus-tomer looks for initial information, compares offers and even signs contracts for simpler products online. “On the other hand, the customer still seeks advice from our experts for more complex products. And it is precisely this hybrid customer behavior that we are reacting to with our multichannel strategy,” according to Thomas Berg, Head of Sales Management at Gothaer. Insurance companies really do not have it easy these days. Even industry leaders like Gothaer are suffering from the raw winds of regulation and competition: The insurance market is stagnating. The reaping of existing customer potential through cross-selling is growing ever more important. New access channels and the customer’s preference for self-service are gaining in significance. This represents a challenge to the organization, as well as to around-the-clock consultation. Service is also suffering under channels that act independently of one another and extensive division separation. Sales channels have so far not been very integrated. Process disruptions and division of labor have hindered the case-conclusive handling of customer concerns. Prices, flexibility, transparency and services: This quartet makes all the difference when it comes to the battle to attract customers. This means that the sale model is becoming a factor that decides who wins.
“It is precisely this hybrid customer behavior that we are reacting to with our multichannel strategy.”
Thomas Berg, Head of Sales Management at Gothaer.
360° customer care – on the road and at work
Gothaer tackled this topic and recruited BSI as its CRM partner: “The multichannel and integration capability of the software spoke for the industry solution, BSI Insurance,” according to Thomas Berg. The simple user guidance and the functionalities in the standard version were also convincing. “Independent sales representatives were involved in the evaluation process and significantly determined the decision. Staff found their footing in the solution right away. While the system appears to be very simple, it offers comprehensive options without suffocating users with its functionalities. Employees appreciate the clear overview and that you can achieve your objective in just a few steps,” stated Thomas Berg. Field sales, internal sales and the service center receive a 360° customer view in which all contacts with the customer are listed in chronological order. Towards this end, phone, e-mail, written correspondence and online channels are being integrated in the CRM solution, BSI Insurance.
BSI Insurance is being rolled out at Gothaer in several stages through 2016. Gothaer’s field sales department is being equipped with the online solution from BSI CRM first. Seamless processes extending to integration of the back-end system will enable Gothaer’s independent field sales force to optimally service customers both in the agency and in customers’ homes. In further steps, Gothaer will integrate its campaign process into the software, connect its service center and offer Web-based self-services for private customers.
“The main challenge is to integrate everyone involved, to clearly define the many interfaces, to assign responsibilities and to design the necessary processes.”
Thomas Berg, Head of Sales Management at Gothaer
Customers and employees as innovation drivers
“Never stopping to improve” is a fixed component of Gothaer’s corporate values. Employees, partners and customers all play a significant role when it comes to innovation and proactivity. “On the one hand, we observe the market very carefully and keep an eye on what sort of innovations arise in Germany and around the world. On the other hand, we regularly analyze our customers’ needs and requirements. At the same time, we also ask our customer reps, who have direct contact with our customers, as well as our partners among the brokers. On this basis, we constantly further develop our products and service range,” according to Thomas Berg. The multichannel strategy is essential for the experts, but also represents a challenge for the organization and people: “When it comes to multichannel sales, many sectors are interlinked. The main challenge is to integrate everyone involved, to clearly define the many interfaces, to assign responsibilities and to design the necessary processes. A very important component here, of course, is the supporting software, as well as the training of everyone involved. We believe in lifelong learning and place great value on the constant further development of our employees. Towards this end, we have many internal offers, and also rely whenever necessary on external seminars and training resources.”
Change is a constant presence
The insurance industry is constantly being confronted with new challenges through legislation. As a current example, Thomas Berg named the European SEPA project, in the scope of which payment transactions in the EU shall be standardized with new account numbers and bank routing numbers. “We had to invest a seven-digit sum and keep a large team busy for months just to adapt our system to these new rules and to inform our customers about these changes.” The next major issue for the insurer is called Solvency II. “This mainly involves modified capital requirements, which places many new rules upon us in terms of capital investment. The major challenge – which we have been able to master very well so far – is to still generate good earnings for our cus-tomers,” explained Thomas Berg.
Yet all this is no reason for the well-experienced insurance expert to stick his head in the sand or to sink in self-pity. Quite the opposite is true. “To be able to play an active role in the changes in insurance sales arising from multichannel sales is quite a thrilling task and a great opportunity for both our employees and company. With proactive concepts and innovative ideas, we now have the opportunity to play a pioneering role in the industry,” Thomas Berg concluded. His stated goal is to leave the competition and the isolated channels behind with the multichannel strategy and to attract customers with added value through solution-oriented consultation.