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Now, Voyager

This month's editorial about customer service and the global economy by Katherine Burger, Editorial Director.

Reflecting on the pleasures of a recent lovely two-week vacation, it wasn't all about palm trees, suntan lotion, facials and Dirty Bananas (my beach drink of choice—don't ask). Call me a nerd, but there were many aspects of the sojourn that provided potential insights of value to a follower of the insurance technology universe. An obvious but probably unfair example would be to compare the quality of service and attention one receives at a resort with the quality of service and attention one receives from your typical financial institution. But there's certainly no reason insurers can't reap the loyalty and cross-selling benefits that come when they can anticipate needs and interests and respond before they become expectations.

My vacation also caused me to reflect on the benefits and risks that come with being part of a global economy. It definitely was a bit unnerving to arrive at the airport in St. George, Grenada, and encounter all the immigration officials wearing facemasks because of the risks of being infected with American and British tourists? Whatever.

Another interesting finding was that Internet access has become a resort amenity, along with yoga classes, snorkeling and open bar. We were entitled to 15 free minutes of Internet time each day, and sometimes we had to wait behind several other guests for our turn. What does that tell you about the value of the online channel?

One thing I did not use those 15 minutes of Net time for was to check my office e-mail—didn't want to cut into precious beach time. And that was a good thing, considering that there were 822 messages waiting for me. Mostly urgent requests to send money to Nigeria, of course. And by the time I had replicated, deleted, read and responded, I was ready for another vacation.

Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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