Guide to Seriously Engaged Customers Part 4: Customer Engagement Requires Agility

This blog series explores a few of the primary customer engagement challenges, and the respective solutions that Exclamation Labs excels in that have increased conversions for some of the nation’s leading insurance companies.

As a whole, the insurance industry has a reputation for being slow to adopt new technology. Change can be difficult, and costly, but what is the price for not evolving? By identifying common challenges present on the path to converting prospects to policyholders, direct-to-consumer insurance companies can put sound solutions in place.

Slow and steady doesn’t win this race

Scott Simony, the head of industry at Google, says, “Companies need to commit to speed. Insurance is a highly regulated industry and it is not easy to move quickly, but the fact is that consumers are moving at exceptional rates. The companies that will stand out are the ones that are going to find ways to move a bit faster, at the pace of the people they’re insuring.”

There are several important reasons why insurance companies should be concerned with speed. Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. Additionally, page load time is part of the user experience. You can have the greatest interface in the world, but if it doesn’t load quickly, it doesn’t matter.



Furthermore, traditional operations for “executing strategy simply weren’t designed for the challenges confronting insurers today. Strategic success now requires something more: a structural response.”

With legacy systems, insurance companies may need 6-12 months to develop and launch a new product, potentially negatively impacting the sales funnel. Cloud-based technology has proven to be an industry-agnostic game-changer in reducing costs and improving agility. For insurers, it is a platform that enhances the effectiveness of business procedures such as claims and expense processing. The number of US insurers with claims systems fully deployed in the cloud has seen a steady rise from 13% in 2016 to 26% in 2018.

When combined with tools like containerization, developers can identify and correct issues in a single “container,” or software package, without creating downtime in other applications. Since smaller chunks of code are being deployed on the frontend, codebases are easier to maintain, and deployments are much faster. Gartner research projects that over 50% of companies will use container technology by 2020.


How Do Website Operations Impact Engagement?  

Challenge

Established policies and procedures prevented the rapid deployment of new project code at a nationally recognized life insurance company, causing delays for new business initiatives.

Solution

Our team evaluated the environment and processes to determine the major pain points in the software development lifecycle (SDLC). From there, we designed a new method for a more standardized, secure, repeatable, rapid, and reliable lifecycle from Development to Production.

  • Conversion of server assets to the automated "Infrastructure as Code" philosophy to reduce the uniqueness of each server, making maintenance quicker and less prone to knowledge attrition
  • Containerization of the legacy Java web application to provide an atomic unit for release and adding a layer of abstraction to the running process for portability and security
  • Orchestration workflows to simplify, shorten, and automate the deployment of code, and security patch management in all environments, identically from development to production

Results

After the new workflows were in place, the time to push a code change to production decreased from an average of 4 hours to 45 minutes. Rollbacks dropped from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. A new server is provisioned, configured, patched, and code-deployed for a fully functional environment within hours to create a more agile and reliable infrastructure.

You can’t engage customers if you aren’t keeping pace with their expectations or your competitors’ capabilities. Website Operations is more than a department. It is a critical piece of the customer experience that is foundational to engaging digitally.


Lead DevOps Engineer at Exclamation Labs, Ben Strozykowski says, “With the use of rapid deployment techniques, and coupled with inexpensive and hardy cloud services, a company can reach production at a faster pace. This increases the velocity of customer-requested features and fixes to show the customer we value them through the constant improvement afforded by the DevOps philosophy.”

At Exclamation Labs, we have found that not only will the formula vary depending on the client’s business strategy, but we also have to be prepared to adjust the process as we go to make all the pieces work together. Now in our 24th year of business, we have a team of senior technology professionals who are passionate about creating great customer experiences and eager to help.


Want to learn more about the common customer engagement issues plaguing the insurance industry and how to solve them? Download our free whitepaper today!

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