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Social media in insurance – how to interact better with your customers.

In my Is Insurance Sexy? I discussed the early use (and abuse) of social media in the insurance industry. In this one I will try to focus on the current and future potential positive uses of social media in insurance.

Much of my comments here are based on a discussion I had with one of SAP’s strategic consulting partners Ernst & Young and in typical consulting fashion they have documented the discussion. You can read the full text here (Social media in insurance – how to interact better with your customers? )

The main insight was that social media platforms are shifting power and influence away from corporations and onto customers (and also away from traditional media and onto social media platforms).

As discussed in my previous blog there are various levels of maturity in adoption of social media tools that allow insurers to maintain influence:

• Level 1 – Reactive: listening and responding to social media comments 

• Level 2 – Proactive: participation in social media as a marketing and feedback tool

• Level 3 – Embedded: social media incorporated into corporate processes across customer relationship, product development, marketing and sales. (in fact wherever there is value add) 

Customer Lifecycle

Ultimately social media will become an integral part of the business lifecycle (just like mail, telegraph, telephones, and email did) as it is a new and effective way of communicating with customers, suppliers and employees. Social media effectively fills the gap between mass marketing and one-on-one communications, allowing companies to make and manage the right offer, at the right time, through the right channel to a large enough interest group for economic viability. (This is the concept used by Groupon although whether their particular business model succeeds remains to be seen)

Currently insurers are very wary of the negative potential of social media for propogation of stories around poor service, however, by being timid they are missing opportunities for service improvement right around the customer interaction lifecycle. 

Across this lifecycle the experiences and expectations revealed by data analysis of customers using social media is an unprecedented resource for insurers seeking to make better descisions.  Impacts on all these areas are discussed in more detail in the linked report.

Social Media is definately here to stay and insurers like all industries need to have a plan to leverage its’ potential. One insight I liked on this subject that was from the social media blog: Blind Influence

“There’s a huge misconception about the term ‘social media strategy.’ Social media is a tool. Saying you have a ‘social media strategy’ is like saying you have a ‘shovel strategy’ or a ‘hammer strategy.'”…. “What companies need is great business strategy + great marketing strategy + understanding best practices for social tools to = reaching company goals.”

So with that in mind it’s worth reviewing the SAP products to see what social tools are available to reach your company goals. The following slide depicts a few:

SAP Social Media tools

With HANA and mobility apps now on the SAP platform many more social media process scenario’s are possible. There’s no doubt that as these tools are adopted, social media interactions will become part of the business process for many companies. Leading insurance companies are already demonstrating how these new tools improve the product design, pricing and service of insurance.  

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