There is much talk around the need for customers to be at the core of business strategy. But how much of it is just that, talk?

AXA to merge two entities

The news last week that insurance giant AXA is to merge its life and general insurance entities in Singapore should put the market on notice. They intend to provide a one-stop-shop for their life and general insurance products from January 1 next year.

Chief Executive Ms Doina Palici-Chehab said “We can focus even more on our customers by being one company. The client has to have a seamless treatment by us, so irrespective of the type of insurance they’ve bought, they get equally good service served from one hand.”

All credit to Axa for taking action to make sure that it happens.

A joined up strategy

Once a joined up strategy is adopted in this way, greater flexibility becomes available. For example, with a joined up strategy, you can more easily offer personalised solutions, multi-product discounts, and so on. Research that we cited in a previous blog entry has shown that the ability to buy individual products independently is important to consumers. This is because a customer might be focussed on only ever needing one component. However, if the customer explicitly acknowledges a multiple need, then the same research showed that the offer of bundling relevant products together with a discount is likely to nudge him or her into a decision to buy – a valuable end result for all parties.

A true single view of your customer is a huge step forward. It gives you the ability to understand an individual’s insurance needs centrally. You can provide the seamless treatment described by Palici-Chehab. You can improve your customer engagement.

Innovate or …

Couple improved customer engagement with all the business benefits of efficiency and cost saving, then a strategy of removing insurance silos and creating a single entity seems obvious. Hopefully this move by Axa in Singapore will lead the way for many to follow.

I’ll give Palici-Chehab the last word: “In the AXA group, we think if we don’t innovate, we die.”