Clayton's quote appears in the context of improving claims processing. He argues that speedy resolution is important to retaining customers, and adds that customers increasingly expect to interact with carriers through multiple channels. Multichannel is an area that many enterprises struggle with, because their existing systems are product-based. It may not be too hard to add a new customer communications channel to an existing system, but if you do it in a piecemeal manner you end up giving the customer a fragmented and frustrating experience.
Insurance customers ought to be able to initiate a claim by phone call, complete it by email or on a web page, and be informed of progress by SMS – or any permutation of these and other channels. This kind of flexible interaction is becoming the norm in other financial services and right across retail. Customers will judge their insurers on their ability to offer coherent and consistent multichannel experiences. The history of the legacy systems sitting behind their interaction don't interest them.
Emerging needs like this inevitably point back to the solution that's been around a long time, but which is forever new: standards. Multichannel demands standards, because standards are the only way you can mediate between different product systems and provide a unified engine for servicing the customer.