Beyond the customer journey, the customer relationship. How to build it, concretely.

Rodolphe Strauss
May 24, 2022

How can we make the online client relationship about more than the customer journey? The question may seem a little abstract, but even so... “The sector embraced digitalisation of the subscription journey fairly late, in 2015. The big players, those in the Top 10, have invested massively to catch up and the insurtechs obviously joined in this game more easily since they were starting from scratch,” says Francis Mahut, associate director and co-founder of Eficiens, a digital agency specialising in the insurance sector. 

 “Having a client journey that reconciles the collection of regulatory information with the capacity to engage right up to conversion is now a must,” adds Grégoire Rastoul, Chief Distribution Officer at the neo-insurer Leocar. “To stand out, the question is more: how can we offer much more than a journey?”

A mobile app for more natural engagement

Leocare relies heavily on the mobile app to step outside the journey approach. “By being very visible in stores and encouraging downloading of the app, you ensure you are in reach of your target audience in order to offer a close relationship completely separate from the standard journey.” In fact, where the deterministic nature of a journey is clearly evident in the page sequence, an app becomes more akin to a service, on which prospects and clients can draw as needed.

“The interactive dynamic within an app is very different from that of a journey,” says Grégoire Rastoul. “Users feel they have more control and the information exchanges are more natural. We move away from the ‘data for a quote’ deal, which is often perceived aggressively in a journey, despite all the attention paid to the user experience.”

A fresh approach to product promotion

Another means of moving away from a journey decision tree is to contextualise the consumer’s needs as quickly as possible. The objective is to return a clearly worded proposal with terms that are genuinely clear. “Language is a key component in the relationship. The real area for differentiation in our business lies in the seriousness with which a product is promoted. In particular, it is a question of succeeding in making people understand that a proposal is the culmination of the pooling of risks. While mutual insurers are more comfortable with this, others find it more difficult.” 

Responding to this challenge means solving a fundamental business problem: how can you standardise advice to ensure the client can make a fully-informed decision, rather than one based on a partial understanding?... Not easy, especially if we are to believe Miller’s law (named after a cognitive psychologist), according to which our brain can only keep seven (plus or minus two) items in its working memory. And yet a typical subscription journey for an insurance product asks many more than seven questions...

A solution may lie in NLP (Natural Language Processing). This refers to a field of artificial intelligence tackling the understanding of human language, whether written or spoken. 

Using NLP to standardise advice

“Investing in NLP will provide the ability to extract the maximum amount of contextual information from each item of usage data, from each interaction. It is widely used in BtoB to support decision-making and sometimes in BtoC in sectors such as real estate or automotive to equip sellers and enhance their interactions with customers,” says Grégoire Rastoul. “It is still rare in insurance – and yet the use of our products says a lot about who we are and carry a lot of information. You just need to be able to extract and process it.”

Combining a mobile app and technologies such as NLP makes it possible to create a forum within which each question, comment or feedback is integrated and cross-referenced against client data in a very specific way and in an accessible language. “In our business, our products are what enable us to stand out,” insists the Chief Distribution Officer of Leocare. And these products are inseparable from the language used to represent them.

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