PEMCO, a regional insurance carrier known for high-touch service, recognized that it needed to expand its service capabilities to the Internet in order to remain competitive. Working with West Monroe Partners, PEMCO developed a strategy for extending its strengths into a new and critical channel that would allow for an effortless online customer experience during all four stages of the customer lifecycle: discover, evaluate, purchase, and service.
Translating high-touch experience into new channels.
The Internet has become vital to the insurance industry, with a growing number of insurance customers using the web each year to research and purchase policies and conduct service transactions.
Although known for delivering a high level of customer service via telephone, PEMCO did not have the capability to serve customers or facilitate purchases online. Introducing an online presence became more critical—and urgent—as:
- New national competitors entered PEMCO’s geographic markets
- Category advertising spending grew
- Increasing demands from consumers
PEMCO wanted to move quickly to create a world-class online experience for its customers, direct agents, community agents, customer service employees, and business partners that:
- Translates its traditional high-touch service into a unique online advantage
- Leverages the most innovative online concepts, and not just those from the insurance industry
- Is distinguished at every stage of the customer lifecycle
- Embodies best practices around business simplification
- Focuses investment on areas that amplify strengths
- Drives increased customer retention rates
Strategy built on an outside-in view, leveraging cross-industry best practices.
West Monroe established a team with insurance industry experience, eCommerce expertise, and—most significantly—a unique approach focused on defining and creating an effortless customer experience.
As the foundation for defining an online customer experience strategy that reflects PEMCO’s brand, West Monroe Partners conducted a market assessment that considered trends and innovations well beyond the insurance industry. This “outside-in” assessment included studying:
- Competitors’ product and service offerings, marketing positioning, market share and growth trends, pricing, profitability, underwriting practices, prospect and customer website capabilities, online experience, and innovations
- Insurance industry trends, with emphasis on specialized target markets, differentiation through technology, agent roles, and online/web trends
- Cross-industry eCommerce trends, covering more than 200 product- and service-based websites and all phases of customer interaction
- Insurance consumer trends in online usage, adoption, and comfort and channel-specific preferences by demographic factors
- Technology trends and innovations across each stage of the customer lifecycle: discover, evaluate, purchase, and service
West Monroe Partners also conducted a current-state business assessment that included:
- Primary and secondary research with PEMCO’s customers and prospects, using focus groups and observation to understand their feedback with respect to touchpoints
- Interviews with corporate and functional executives to understand business needs and priorities
- An IT infrastructure and capability analysis
Common experience principles across all customer touchpoints.
It was critical to set common principles that would guide both the current customer experience initiatives and future programs to ensure project goals were met. To facilitate this, West Monroe Partners organized cross-functional workshops and innovation sessions, during which directors from across the enterprise came together to create a strategy, including:
- A vision for how PEMCO will do business via the Internet, grounded in the company’s corporate strategy and brand attributes
- Key themes and desired customer experience for its online presence, for all touchpoints across the four stages of the customer relationship lifecycle
- Business requirements and a prioritized list of initiatives for achieving the desired functionality
- Key performance indicators and metrics
Finally, using the output of these sessions, West Monroe Partners helped PEMCO develop a roadmap for implementing its strategy, including a budget and schedule that accounted for interdependencies among initiatives. The project team also performed a return-on-investment analysis to provide an estimate of the payback period.
Effortless customer experience produces more business benefits.
By working with West Monroe Partners, PEMCO developed a clear plan for meeting its service and customer retention goals online—a strategy grounded in world-class eCommerce and customer experience principles, while addressing its key challenges, including its scale and investment limitations relative to larger competitors.
In addition to creating an engaging, high-touch online customer experience that promotes effortless interaction, PEMCO has realized other business benefits, including reduced cost of sales and overhead.