Insurance has shifted from a seller’s to a buyer’s market. Buyers have more options open than ever before, they are becoming harder for insurers to satisfy and retain. With limited opportunities to make the right impression, insurance companies must keep the channels of communication open to deliver a fast, reliable response to customers.
The insurance sector is characterized by large amounts of paper documents and De Goudse is no different. The company receives an extremely large quantity of mail each day—approximately 800 physical postal items and an equal volume of emails daily. Until 2010, the majority of De Goudse’s document processing was performed manually by the document services department. This department, headed by Team Manager, Erwin Geurts, is responsible for incoming mail, outgoing mail, printing and reproduction activities. The management of the warehouse and archive are also part of this department’s core responsibilities.
In 2010, Guerts and his team set out to implement a new, high quality mail room application to automate the document services department. “While we began our process improvement in the late ‘90s, it was far from complete,” said Application Administrator, Gabrie Gunst. “Incoming mail still required extensive manual processing.” After more than a decade, De Goudse recognized it needed to take a major leap toward automation.
A lack of flexibility around communications management was threatening de Goudse’s ability to provide prompt, high quality customer service.
Warry van Arkel, Enterprise Architect, explains: “We send out around 10 million documents to customers annually, from quotations and policy certificates to claims forms and bills. In the past, each business line managed customer communications through different ERP systems. Making even small changes to documents was a complex process—so much so that we often put off updating templates because of the sheer expense and effort. In cases where we did update templates, it took several months to apply the required changes.”
He continues: “We also sell many products through intermediaries, partnering with regional insurers to offer products under their own brand name. In the past, it was simply too complex and costly for us to produce documents using each company’s own corporate style and logo.”
Realizing that it could not afford for inefficient processes to dull business agility and impact its relationships with both customers and partners, de Goudse sought a better way to create and manage documents.
In 2013, as part of a broader initiative to modernize and digitize systems and processes, de Goudse took the opportunity to transform the way it managed documents, introducing a centralized customer communications platform, built on Kofax Customer Communications Manager™.
Warry van Arkel comments: “Kofax Customer Communications Manager aligned perfectly with our wider digitization strategy, allowing us to easily manage both electronic and paper documents from a single point of control.”
Taking a phased approach to the implementation, de Goudse is working to integrate existing ERP and CRM systems with Customer Communications Manager. Once all systems are linked up with the central customer communications platform, generating documents will become a streamlined process.
Warry van Arkel explains: “Previously, we lacked a consistent way of managing document output, as each ERP system had its own rules for generating documents. Customer Communications Manager allows us to take a fully controlled approach to customer interaction. When an event occurs in one of our ERP systems; for example, if a customer indicates that they no longer want to be sent paper documents, this information will feed through automatically to Customer Communications Manager. We won’t have to worry about making the same change across multiple systems, and can be confident that we communicate with each customer in the way that suits them best.”
de Goudse is transforming what was once a complex and time consuming process into a straightforward, standardized way of managing customer communications.
“With Kofax Customer Communications Manager, we can modify documents easily and inexpensively, both for the main de Goudse brand and those of our intermediaries,” notes Warry van Arkel. “Currently, we update document templates on a monthly basis as needed—much faster than the many months it took in the past. In the future, we are planning to introduce self-service capabilities for business users. Not only will this reduce effort for the IT team, it will enable staff to work faster, and deliver a much timelier response to customers.”Going digital and streamlining customer communications management is creating valuable opportunities for de Goudse to reach out to customers in new ways and work with intermediaries more effectively.
Warry van Arkel states: “Whereas in the past, the limitations of our systems meant that we could only communicate with customers on paper, we now have the option of contacting them electronically via email. The new level of flexibility makes us better prepared for future developments, like the possibility of interacting with customers through social mediator mobile apps, for instance.
“The intermediaries that we work with are seeing similar benefits. When we sell products through a local insurer, we typically send them a copy of every single document we exchange with a customer. In the past, we could only send paper copies, which was a hassle for certain partners, as they had to scan all this paper and enter it into their systems manually. With Customer Communications Manager, we can now send digital document copies, which saves us the cost and effort of having to post paper documents, and makes it easier for our partners to capture and store the information.”
He concludes: “Kofax Customer Communications Manager opens up a whole new set of possibilities when it comes to interacting with our customers and partners. As we continue to extend the solution, we are looking forward to seizing even more opportunities to manage communication more efficiently and cost-effectively.”
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