Michelle de Haaff

What would you do if 40% of your customers were to up and leave — tomorrow?

Does the scenario sound outlandish? Well, if you’re in the insurance industry, it’s not. A recent Accenture study found that as many as two-fifths of insurance buyers are likely to change providers sometime in the next year.

That’s a lot of attrition. And for insurance providers, it means years — or even decades — of lost revenue.

What is it driving these skittish insurance buyers to change teams?

Unsurprisingly, lower prices at competing firms was the most common answer — but guess what came a close second. Was it confusing policy terms? Nope. Distrust of their current provider? Wrong again.

It turns out that a whopping 80% of those ready to jump ship would do so to get… personalized service. What’s more, 41% of all respondents said they were willing to pay more money for that personal touch.

Providing personalized customer experiences is tough for most companies — but for major insurance providers, it’s particularly hard. Their organizations have many customer touchpoints and business units, which often don’t communicate about individual customers’ needs and feedback. And since they often work across multiple regions, they have to balance organization-wide best practices with customs and expectations that are very different between regions.

Zurich Insurance took on this this very problem. To provide personalized service, it needed to listen the voice of the customer — across 5 continents, 40 countries and 26 languages. That’s an intimidating task. But Zurich’s existing market research solution only uncovered sporadic feedback from small samples of its customer base. And it had no way to use that feedback to reliably and promptly improve individual experiences.

So Zurich did something about it. It adopted a customer experience management system, giving it the best of both worlds — unifying customer feedback in one global system, but still giving each region the flexibility to set local policies according to the conditions on the ground. Zurich’s frontline employees could then respond directly to every customer concern in a culturally appropriate manner — a process that let them provide those all-important personalized experiences and create higher proportions of satisfied customers. And the leadership team could track customer health in real time across its entire organization from one place — and fix broken processes right away.

This system has had an immediate impact. In Turkey, for example, it alerted Zurich to customer complaints about the automatic renewal process — and helped the organization immediately trace the problem to its source in local third-party banks. Upon resolving the issue, Zurich’s Net Promoter Score in Turkey increased by an astonishing 20 points in mere months.

That’s a lot of satisfied customers. And the benefits don’t stop there. Zurich found that its promoters pay 27% more in premiums every month than detractors — and are five times less likely to leave within 12 months. That’s had a substantial impact on churn — which flows straight through to revenue.

Interested in how Zurich has managed to do this on a global scale — and how you can substantially outperform your own industry’s standard churn rates? Download the case study below.

Photo credit: Indi Samarajiva