What will it take to be the world’s first truly social insurer?

RSA has publically committed itself to becoming the world’s first truly social insurer, but what does that actually mean?   What can our customers and partners expect to see from us, and how do we plan to do it? 

First of all it’s not about getting the most likes or followers on Twitter and Facebook.  These are things that might happen as a result of delivering great service and engaging with customers, but if you chase the numbers themselves, that could be all you get.  Nor is it about sending out more adverts and ‘content’ to customers via new channels, just to get eyeballs.  Advertising and brand awareness are important, but only if it’s targeted at the right people at the right time and delivering a relevant message that helps customers to actually engage.   

Engagement is the point.  Social media is about building connections and developing relationships: things that people don’t tend to do with an insurance company outside of the conventional renewal cycle and claim scenario.  And that’s where we can make the biggest difference.  We want customers to think of their insurance company not as an just emergency service or financial compensation when something goes wrong, but as someone they can talk to about the things they care about, before, when and after it happens.

To do that requires internal investment first.  We’re building a social culture, investing in tools such as Yammer to get our employees communicating, sharing and co-creating organically within the internal environment, ready to translate that way of working to include external partners and customers.

Ultimately we’ll be measuring ourselves against four key areas: 

  • Customer service 
  • Sales & profit 
  • Cost reduction 
  • Brand engagement

Social customer service means more than just responding to complaints via Twitter -although that’s a vital first step - and we’re already finding that done well this can turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.  For us, it means proactively seeking ways of helping our customers – for example, pointing them in the right direction for advice on flood preparedness or pet health.  It doesn’t replace existing customer service channels, but as more customers adopt a Social First approach, we have to be ahead of them and ready to engage on the right platforms, supporting and helping, not telling or selling. 

Which brings us to sales and profit.  There’s no shame in admitting to a financial driver in social, but it’s not about one-way promotion.  Yes, we will continue to advertise where appropriate but the social sales agenda is more about how we can enable customers to access insurance via new platforms and increase retention of existing customers by delivering value-added services via social channels. 

We’re also looking at the bottom line.  We can reduce cost and pass on benefits to customers by using social platforms to deliver service that by conventional channels can take longer and cost more to deliver.  Again, this doesn’t mean that we push customers away from the phone, but instead we encourage adoption by delivering a service via alternative channels that for customers who want it, is easier, faster or better. 

Lastly brand engagement.  RSA has many brands globally, but the thread that holds them together is our promise to make things better, together.  All social media platforms are built on increasing ‘togetherness’ in some way, and it’s our opportunity to make that a benefit that customers really value.  Whether we’re delivering insurance direct, on behalf of a partner brand or a broker, we want to work with them to offer a joined up service that delivers on that promise.  We’ll partner with brokers and affinity brands to support each other’s social initiatives, co-creating tools, guidance and advice to help our customers to engage with their insurer on less of a transactional basis and get more value from us. 

To be the world’s first at anything is a challenge, and we’ve deliberately set our sights high because we believe there’s a great opportunity here for us and our customers to get more from insurance.  So watch this space to see what a truly social insurer looks like – and if you’re a broker with similar aspirations, let’s talk.

 

IanSimons's picture

Ian Simons is Group Head of Social Media at RSA, leading RSA's global ambition to become the world's first truly social insurer. Prior to his current role, Ian was Marketing Director, Channels for RSA’s UK Commercial business, and has held senior marketing and insight roles at Zurich and QBE.

If you would like to contact , please Click Here and submit your enquiry and youTalk-insurance will pass your comments on.

Comments

Hi Ian, its great to see RSA are taking social seriously particularly from a customer service standpoint. Whether the insurance industry likes it or not social media is here to stay so for those still burying their heads in the sand its time for them to come up for air...I work for a software and service provider to the insurance industry and we're trying to help our customers see the benefit of getting involved to help them catch up, we recently ran an event called Meet the Future which was well attended which show's there a desire to learn. Our social media team also spends one-on-one time with our senior management team to help give them the knowledge and tools to engage with our customers on whatever channel they choose. That's key to getting thier buy-in as well. It not easy but we're getting there....good luck with becoming the world's first truly social insurer! I'll be sure to follow and look forward to watching how it goes! 

Company name: 
Xuber
I agree with the above terms: 

Ian,

I agree it's all about customer engagement. I'd suggest you consider using these metrics (using a longitudinal perspective):

  • Quality of customer service (which you have) as measured by customers (not by CSRs or agents or brokers)
  • Customer retention
  • Customer up-sell and cross-sell
  • Customer advocacy (as measured by new clients brought onboard from references / recommendations of RSA's exiting customers)
  • Brand / reputation management (as measured by existing customers and prospective customers)
Company name: 
Market Insight Group, Ltd.
I agree with the above terms: 

In my view the piece is contradictory, confusing and utopian. It is well written, however there are thousands of companies claiming to be social first and this piece reads like a greatest hits of all of them.

"Advertising and brand awareness are important, but only if it’s targeted at the right people at the right time and delivering a relevant message that helps customers to actually engage."

If advertising is not targeted at the right people at the right time with a relevant message that helps people engage it has already failed.

I would like to ask how you plan to achieve the goals of:

Customer service

Sales & profit 

Cost reduction 

Brand engagement 

After you have disregarded:

Facebook/Twitter/content readership/site traffic or engagement.

"Eyeballs" as you calls them, or visitors and readers as I call them, are important. With no numbers there would be no interactions, visitors or engagement and only imagined reach.

This is repeated in the same paragraph, "chase the numbers themselves and that could be all you get".

I would gladly take the numbers as real data points that show me my strategy is working. We are dealing with online communities ultimately measured in ones and zeros. The strength of social media marketing over many other forms of marketing is that it there are available metrics.

The only social media platform that is mentioned in the piece is Yammer. "To get our employees communicating, sharing and co-creating organically within the internal environment, ready to translate that way of working to include external partners and customers."

 I have used Yammer in my previous workplace and it is basically Facebook but for work. I am not sure if it will result in the culture shift you predicts.

"Social customer service means more than just responding to complaints via Twitter - although that’s a vital first step - and we’re already finding that done well this can turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.  For us, it means proactively seeking ways of helping our customers – for example, pointing them in the right direction for advice on flood preparedness or pet health.  It doesn’t replace existing customer service channels, but as more customers adopt a Social First approach, we have to be ahead of them and ready to engage on the right platforms, supporting and helping, not telling or selling."

You means Twitter although you says that you do not mean Twitter. "Pointing them in the right direction" cannot be achieved in a physical aspect and therefore you are left with few "right platforms" to choose from. Linking weather warnings from the Independant on Twitter appears to be the execution of this strategy.

"The social sales agenda is more about how we can enable customers to access insurance via new platforms and increase retention of existing customers by delivering value-added services via social channels."

What are these new platforms please? How do you plan to measure "retention" through social? Value-added service could mean absolutely anything.

“We’re also looking at the bottom line.  We can reduce cost and pass on benefits to customers by using social platforms to deliver service that by conventional channels can take longer and cost more to deliver.  Again, this doesn’t mean that we push customers away from the phone, but instead we encourage adoption by delivering a service via alternative channels that for customers who want it, is easier, faster or better.”

Twitter?

Mystery social platforms and methods of achieving goals whilst discounting all ways to actually achieve them sounds tremendous but unrealistic. “Social First” is more than achievable but only if you are willing to accept that there are already traditions and rules that must be respected.

Company name: 
Simply Business
I agree with the above terms: 

Hi Hugo,Thanks for the feedback, and definitely agree all of us, including RSA, have a way to go before we get near to delivering this ideal.  I hope I didn’t give the impression we have all the answers to this yet, as we certainly don’t.  What we want to do is commit openly to our goals and take feedback from consumers and partners on how we’re doing and what more we could do together. I don’t think what we’re committing to is totally unique or revolutionary, and naturally takes elements of what others are already doing in this space. However, if we’re able to put together a service that’s the greatest hits of all of the others out there, we would view that as a good thing for customers. I also appreciate your comments about Yammer, and we also found that in the early stages of adoption it  could be seen as a Facebook for work for some users, and alone of course it doesn’t achieve a culture shift. But alongside other technology upgrades we’re making to bring all of our people up to the same level, along with a major focus on better ways of working, it’s replacing some of the conventional top-down, centralised communications and sharing models to more agile, collaborative networking internally, which echoes the external environment.Ian 

Company name: 
RSA
I agree with the above terms: 

Ian

I agree that social media is about building connections and developing relationships. I wonder what a relationship with an insurance company will look like outside of the conventional renewal cycle and claim scenario. There are a number of insurers that are using social media as part of their strategy. Here is a link to an article I wrote last year for the Australian Actuaries Institute that includes a few examples.http://slidesha.re/1Eo5jPy 

The question is whether consumers really want a relationship with their insurer? I watch with interest.

Regards
Stephen

Company name: 
Deloitte
I agree with the above terms: 

Hi Ian, I just posted the same in linked-in. Posting here again:

Great initiative. Not diving deep, metrics (Customer Service, Sales & Profits, Cost reduction and Brand Engagement) that are mentioned are pretty common for any business and not to shy away, it’s important for organizations to survive. So, what’s difference to be a social insurer? We talk about social media which is primarily providing a platform to collaborate - connect, share, engage and build social relationships etc for individuals, businesses and in Insurance industry – agents, bancas, customers, vendors, partners, regulators.

Apart from customer service, below are the metrics I could think, will have great influence of Social media, and contributing to organization goals - Product & Service innovations through co-creation, Providing advice proactively based on customer behavior, customers becoming brand ambassadors – compliments & sharing RSA’s products and services to their groups ( customer reach and Leads), gamification (helps in underwriting) and to be transparent negative (we anyway cant avoid) metrics such as customer complaints. Very importantly, how do we motivate stakeholders to continuously engage in social media – sharing or giving back the benefits to either customer (who contributed) / society (for social cause) – a truly “SOCIAL” insurer.

Please post the updates and success stories. All the best !

Company name: 
TCS
I agree with the above terms: 

Hi Barry,

I'm definitely a fan of focusing on customer engagement, and getting the depth of insight against commercial outcomes such as retention, up & xsell & recommendations.  It's not always easy to get universal measurement of these across all platforms.  Is that an area you have expertise in? 

Ian

Company name: 
RSA
I agree with the above terms: 

Hi Stephen,

Great blog - I particularly love the Devitt bike case study, which I think goes some way to answering your core question: do consumers really want a relationship with their insurer?  Answer: no.  Why would they on the terms insurance companies have historically presented themselves.  But do consumers want to participate in communities full of people who are passionate about the same things they are to help each other get more from their passions (in this case bikes)?  Yes.  The key is for the insurance company to focus on delivering that experience for the customer, not focusing just on insurance product or process itself.

Company name: 
RSA
I agree with the above terms: 

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Empty paragraph killer - multiple returns will not break the site's style.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br><h2><h3><h4><h5><h6><hr><img>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

Agree to terms

By posting a contribution to the youTalk-insurance blog you will be giving youTalk-insurance your full consent to post your contribution, should we choose to do so and you will be deemed to have given us a free licence on a perpetual basis to adapt, modify and incorporate your contribution. By posting to the youTalk-insurance website you are fully responsible for the accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments you make. All contributions to youTalk-insurance must not contain anything that is unlawful, offensive, abusive, threatening, defamatory, obscene or discriminatory nor shall it infringe the rights of anyone else.