Around and Around the Hamster Wheel: When Customer Ease Becomes Your Employees’ Burden

When I was a kid, we had a hamster that would run himself ragged on the exercise wheel in his cage.  

I vividly remember watching him laboring on this wheel — hurting himself even — but unable to stop because of the momentum. Over the course of a few weeks, I tried to fix the wheel so he wouldn’t get caught in the spokes or cut himself on jagged edges, but all my bright ideas failed. The wheel was flawed.  

I think about legacy insurance systems in the same way. Insurance companies are focused on meeting the modern needs and desires of their customers — and rightfully so. But the systems are often not built for the speed and efficiency required to do so. Before fixing the system, employees work tirelessly on the back end, trying to keep up, but they are often stuck on a legacy admin system wheel.   

While you may have improved your front-end experience for customers, the back-end hamster wheels can only keep going for so long. And once these wheels break, it won’t matter how great the front end is. A functioning back end is the only sustainable solution for the long term.  

Long-term solutions are worth the investment 

When the goal is a delightful customer experience, there are three main ways to provide it – along with hybrid combinations of the following:  

  1. Build it internally
  2. Buy it externally
  3. Bolt on to legacy

If you’re using a legacy system, you have to create more and more back-end hamster wheels to work around compounding requests and changes as they arise. This short-term problem-solving only works until it doesn’t. A great-looking front end might initially impress a customer, but if you’re straining to operate a broken back end, the customer will eventually see the cracks.  

Offering a great employee experience leads to customer satisfaction. If the first focus is to ease your employees’ burden by modernizing the business’s approach to back-end work and services, it may create an environment that will ultimately benefit the end user.  

Organizations that fail to take the long view and modernize their core systems may lose these employees. Look around: workers aren’t sticking around at companies that don’t evolve with the times.   

Widening your perspective and thinking longer-term can help put your money to work for you in a smart way. Integrating with other systems extends the value of your company. Empowering and enabling the best customer experience providers in the ecosystem – your employees – gives you value as a carrier. 

Getting off the wheel 

It’s not easy to step off a spinning wheel, but it’s crucial for the success of your company. A legacy system will only continue to slow down — no matter how many little fixes you try. Integrating your front- and back-end systems will ease the burden on your employees, freeing them up to provide the best customer experience possible.  

If you’re ready to stop running on a hamster wheel, FINEOS helps customers move on from outdated legacy administration systems to a modern, purpose-built, customer-centric core product suite. Contact us today.  

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