New study shows enormous potential for digitalization of customer relationships


In many industries, the digitalization of customer relationships is only just beginning, and customers would like to see it expanded. But the products simply aren’t available yet. The potential for innovation is particularly high in the insurance industry (including health insurers), but banks still need to catch up in some areas as well. These are some of the key findings of a survey conducted in Switzerland and Germany by the market research institute GfK on behalf of digitalization specialist ti&m.

The front-runner in digitalized services in Switzerland is online banking. Some 91 percent of respondents use one of these services. Similarly high acceptance rates can be for online ticketing (75 percent) and online payments (73). These services have been available for many years, and their high ranking shows that processes cannot be transformed overnight. It takes time and patience for them to win over customers. Digital customer contact between citizens and their government is somewhat less advanced: Three out of five respondents file their taxes online, and 54 percent use online service desks to complete transactions with public agencies. Uptake of digital services in the insurance industry, such as online claims processing (42 percent) and settling invoices with health insurers (39 percent), is even lower.

Insurance companies lag behind in innovation

Aside from the use of the services, the study also examined the extent to which the services are subjectively seen to simplify everyday life for customers, and how satisfied they are with the current offerings. Comparing these figures clearly shows where the greatest potential for digitalization lies. The best opportunities for growth are in mobile banking and payments and in personal financial management. The insurance sector suffers from a major innovation lag: Many insurance customers would like additional products that are largely non-existent today.

Further potential for improvement can be found in cross-industry areas of digital customer services such as onboarding (new customer acquisition), customer portals, chat functions, and appointment scheduling. The area with the widest gap between what people would like to see and reality is e-voting. Over seventy percent of those surveyed would like to vote online, but only four percent can – politicians clearly have some work to do!

The study also shows which providers score well with customers. It reveals that there is a gender-based discrepancy in the use of online services: All of the services studied are used more by men than by women.

„So far, digitalization has seemed above all to be a favorite buzzword for strategy consultants,“ says Thomas Wüst, founder and CEO of ti&m. „This study now finally dares to get up close and personal with users and beneficiaries of new digital services. It separates the wheat from the chaff by showing what is beneficial, necessary, and desirable – from customers’ perspective.“

The study „Digitalization in Everyday Life“ is based on an online survey of around 1,500 German-speaking Swiss and people in Germany aged between 15 to 75. The survey was conducted in October 2017. The detailed study results are available to download from the link on the right.