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Raising the Bar: Key Takeaways from Salesforce ‘Connected Customer’ Conference

Living up to the Customer is the nouveau and delicate challenge surrounding digital enterprises today. The holisitic shift in focus has parlayed the reaps of experimentation around ‘customer loyalty’ a decade ago, into a new hymn praising the ‘extraordinary experiences’ that businesses can now deliver to their customers. Moreover, 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services – up from 80% in 2018.

Remarkably, business buyers are just as picky and choosy about their purchase decisions as the consumers they’re coddling — and with good reason too. 89% of business buyers vs 83% of consumers share similar views on the role of customer experience. Both groups also share similar expectations from companies engaging with them — they all need more product information, product choices, and product types to make the most informed buying decisions. 

Personalised Journeys

Salesforce’s recent report points the digital arrow towards intelligence in the connected customer journey. The expectations are as clear as they are loud — more personalisation. When customers’ needs are left unmet by their primary engager, even after several interactions, the relationship weakens. As a result, at least 52% of all customers (including millennials and Gen Z’ers) feel companies are generally impersonal. 

Modern customer engagement happens in real time, (71% of customers feel this way) — highlighting how hurriedly the consumer’s attention is split.

AI-powered Experiences

Truly the stakes have never been higher than they are now. To raise the bar, companies are turning to data to solve these challenges. An intelligent experience for any customer has to have AI built-in, be outcome-focused, complete, actionable, simple and trustable. 

Source: Salesforce State of the Connected Customer

All AI is based on data, specifically good data. But data can’t be sourced from within the company alone. Lots of external data sources are critical to training advanced machine learning models. Nowadays, most organisations are data rich, information poor and ineptly staffed.

Browsing and discovery are closely shaping the way businesses organize service and delivery. According to the report, more than half of customers expect to find whatever they need in three clicks or less. The future state of connectivity is already trying to reduce these clicks to zero, where the experience is hyper-connected and hyper-individualized, right before the customer even decides to buy.

Why Good Data?

Good data enriches unique insights into the customer’s behavior and interests. Customer buying decisions don’t always follow a well-defined rationale or logic. So, to train a model to understand human behavior and preferences — we teach the model a variety of identifiable patterns that the model will then learn and perfect on. Using this learned information, we can approximate for the next buyer! This way the model behaves like a sales rep who is able to identify who the best customers are, why they like your products or services, and even why they prefer yours over competitors.

Source: Salesforce State of the Connected Customer

From Multi to Omni

Millennials & Gen Z are the most omni-channel group among today’s consumers — utilizing around 11 channels on average. Noteworthily, the report reveals that business buyers are not that different; sixty-seven percent of them prefer to buy through multiple digital channels. Business buyers are more likely than consumers to value product

By placing the customer at the heart of the problem, organizations are under more pressure than ever to deliver real-time results, seamless hand-offs and ultra-contextualized experiences. An emphasis on developing strong policies surrounding the collection and use of data — demonstrates a level of commitment that doesn’t go unnoticed by customers. Infact, the ROI of sound data practices extends beyond trust. The key to winning customer experience begins with being transparent about their data. Companies focusing on the quick sale will have to take an ongoing investment in the customer relationship, well after the deal is done, to stand a chance at winning in the connected future.

We help startups and enterprises, build & scale AI-driven products and solutions for last mile environments. Reach out to us on hello@mantralabsglobal.com, to learn more.


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Retention playbook for Insurance firms in the backdrop of financial crises

4 minutes read

Belonging to one of the oldest industries in the world, Insurance companies have weathered multiple calamities over the years and have proven themselves to be resilient entities that can truly stand the test of time. Today, however, the industry faces some of its toughest trials yet. Technology has fundamentally changed what it means to be an insurer and the cumulative effects of the pandemic coupled with a weak global economic output have impacted the industry in ways both good and bad.

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Source: Deloitte Services LP Economic Analysis

For instance, the U.S market recorded a sharp dip in GDP in the wake of the pandemic and it was expected that the economy would bounce back bringing with it a resurgent demand for all products (including insurance) across the board. It must be noted that the outlook toward insurance products changed as a result of the pandemic. Life insurance products were no longer an afterthought, although profitability in this segment declined over the years. Property-and-Casualty (P&C) insurance, especially motor insurance, continued to be a strong driver, while health insurance proved to be the fastest-growing segment with robust demand from different geographies

Simultaneously, the insurance industry finds itself on the cusp of an industry-wide shift as technology is starting to play a greater role in core operations. In particular, technologies such as AI, AR, and VR are being deployed extensively to retain customers amidst this technological and economic upheaval.

Double down on digital

For insurance firms, IT budgets were almost exclusively dedicated to maintaining legacy systems, but with the rise of InsurTech, it is imperative that firms start dedicating more of their budgets towards developing advanced capabilities such as predictive analytics, AI-driven offerings, etc. Insurance has long been an industry that makes extensive use of complex statistical and mathematical models to guide pricing and product development strategies. By incorporating the latest technological advances with the rich data they have accumulated over the years, insurance firms are poised to emerge stronger and more competitive than ever.

Using AI to curate a bespoke customer experience

Insurance has always been a low-margin affair and success in the business is primarily a function of selling the right products to the right people and reducing churn as much as possible. This is particularly important as customer retention is normally conceived as an afterthought in most industries, as evidenced in the following chart.

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        Source: econconusltancy.com

AI-powered tools (even with narrow capabilities) can do wonders for the insurance industry at large. When architected in the right manner, they can be used to automate a bulk of the standardized and automated processes that insurance companies have. AI can be used to automate and accelerate claims, assess homeowner policies via drones, and facilitate richer customer experiences through sophisticated chatbots. Such advances have a domino effect of increasing CSAT scores, boosting retention rates, reducing CACs, and ultimately improving profitability by as much as 95%.

Crafting immersive products through AR/VR

Customer retention is largely a function of how good a product is, and how effective it is in solving the customers’ pain points. In the face of increasing commodification, insurance companies that go the extra mile to make the buying process more immersive and engaging can gain a definite edge over competitors.

Globally, companies are flocking to implement AR/VR into their customer engagement strategies as it allows them to better several aspects of the customer journey in one fell swoop. Relationship building, product visualization, and highly personalized products are some of the benefits that AR/VR confers to its wielders.  

By honoring the customer sentiments of today and applying a slick AR/VR-powered veneer over its existing product layer, insurance companies can cater to a younger audience (Gen Z) by educating them about insurance products and tailoring digital delivery experiences. This could pay off in the long run by building a large customer base that could be retained and served for a much longer period.

The way forward

The Insurance industry is undergoing a shift of tectonic proportions as an older generation makes way for a new and younger one that has little to no perceptions about the industry. By investing in next-generation technologies such as AR/VR, firms can build new products to capture this new market and catapult themselves to leadership positions simply by way of keeping up with the times.

We have already seen how AR is a potential game-changer for the insurance industry. It is only a matter of time before it becomes commonplace.


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