Published: Monday December 02, 2013
The importance of the right information at the right time
There has been a spate of media coverage recently concerning outraged consumers who are reporting that they are being denied insurance quotes.
The issue centres on out-of-date postal information, and the fact that insurance companies are not capturing the details of newly built properties quickly enough.
In some cases, insurance policies have been cancelled midterm because the insurer can't recognise and verify the customer's postcode.
After purchasing the Postcode Address File (PAF) under licence, companies have the choice to update it daily, weekly or monthly. The Royal Mail amends or deletes more than 3,000 postcodes every day, adding 2,002 new postcodes in October alone. So for those companies that only update their files on a weekly or monthly basis, the scope for inaccuracy is huge.
Add to this the fact that some organisations are still using disc-based files, and unsurprisingly stories are emerging from consumers who have been stung when their personal information can't be verified on the system. A web-based database which is updated daily would therefore seem to be a logical choice for these insurance companies, but unfortunately this isn't the case.
Recently covered on the BBC , the issue brings a wider debate to the surface. It presents a clear call to action, not only to the insurance industry, but any company whose business relies on strong customer relationships and retention. To forge customer loyalty and long standing relationships, a single identity asset which spans the whole organisation and fulfils a variety of needs is a must-have.
The ability for marketing databases to be shared across multiple departments means that both new and existing customers receive more tailored recommendations, quickly and easily. At the moment, it's quite common that a customer will call the billing department, for example, and provide their information in order to access their account.
However they often find themselves repeating all of their customer information in order to place a similar call to the customer services department, finding that anything discussed or amended with regard to their personal information has not been captured across the company's database. What this means is that a customer will have to provide their personal information over and over again when calling to make account related inquiries, which is both time-consuming and frustrating.
It's time for businesses to accept that although in the short term costs can be cut by opting for less frequent database refreshes, it's time to start adopting a more long-term view of the future. In today's competitive marketplace, profit and sustainability relies on customers and their loyalty to your service.
Ensuring the best possible identity asset is in place for slick and efficient engagement means better relationships and ultimately, a healthier bottom line.