Everyone has been talking about how social data can help them retain customers and improve revenues and increase profit and get more customer and get more revenue and … you get the point.
But has any Insurer been able to actually leverage social to do all of this? At most, you will see a feeble attempt by corporations to leverage social to drop you a note – “Hey @CustomerWeDontReallyKnow, DM us your number and we will get back to you” OR “Like us and we’ll get back to you”. In most cases, the TAT is over 12 hours for even an acknowledgment. By that time a customer has already made up his mind to change services.
How often have you come across any insurance claim that the social channel has helped them improve customer retention by 10% or boost top line by 20%? Or tailoring services to suit you based on your earlier purchase history? Or anticipating what you may need? Chances are, none.
Now, I am not saying that Social data is not usable. But what I am saying is that social data is not being used properly. There is immense potential for leveraging data from social channels that have a direct impact on the top line.
Here is what I think is missing:
Know your customer
So you have the social data, but do you have a social profile? Most tools today look for keywords in a sea of data and use those keywords for what they think is the customer profile. Dig wider. Go beyond the obvious demographic details. Build a persona of the customer by meshing in what you know about her and what you get from the social channels. Questions like where does he like to eat? Where does he travel most frequently – domestic or international? What is the best way to reach him – Phone, email, Twitter? According to a research report from Yesmail Interactive and Gleanster, only 20% of marketers truly know their customers.
Customers are more likely to trust you with their lifestyle declarations that they are sharing their social profiles. Ever wondered why? Yes, the answer is lack of trust. And customers are not to be blamed. Time and again corporations have proved they are capable of ‘losing’ critical customer data or being hacked into. According to a 2013 study by Symantec Corporation, the average total organizational cost of the data breach for India is USD 1.1 mn! Companies need to convince customers that their social data will be used to improve services and not to spy on them and that they will NOT lose it!
Make Opt-In (an optional) part of your customer profile
Empower customers to link their social profiles to your services. Show them the value with linking, and without linking. Connect social care, better service, and optimized offers. Customers are more likely to open doors to their social data for you if they see tremendous value in it, and they are in control. Just to put things in perspective, a research report from ExactTarget indicated that 77% of customers preferred permission-based marketing. This understanding can be applied to the social channels also.
Provide an Opt-Out
IMHO, this is critical. If you offer a way in, clearly mark the way out also. Let customers de-link their social channels if they want. Like I said before – empower. Once the customers realize the value you bring to them, this option will become useless.
You do mass emails? Even today? After using god knows how many tools and social profile accesses? Don’t’ worry. You aren’t the only one. This is one of the biggest peeves demanding customers like me have from my insurers. I’ve given you access to all my data (well, almost) and you still find it in your heart to send me a mass email. Heartbreak. According to a study by Janrain, nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content irrelevant to them is displayed.
Customers across the spectrum expect exclusive and personalized attention. The only way enterprises can achieve that is by building analytics that enables one to one communication.
Like someone wise said, Customers are the reason you are in business. Not the other way around.