Insurance customer expectation and engagement was way different than it is today and is changing at a rapid pace. Companies like Google, Amazon eBay, and Netflix have leveraged technology and flipped business models completely upside down. Since technology is fostering “I want it when I want it and how I want it” motto, we can’t expect the customers to demand any less when it comes to insurance.
Today 4 out of 5 customers are way different than Jack’s customers years ago, because though they trust Jack just as equally today, they still compare and verify online before they decide. A lot of insurance agents that I have spoken to over the last 12 months, some of who were in the industry for over 35 years, also echoed a similar impression about how different it was to sell insurance decades ago, and that fact is undisputed for all we know. The following are a few interesting facts that will articulate the landscape of insurance customers and their expectations.:
I am sure many of you have felt the heat of customers going digital. We have seen similar situations in travel and hotel booking industry. Half of the insurance customers initiate their quote request not by calling an agent, but by visiting a website or a quoting app. Empowered with that understanding, and coupled with a willingness to harness technology, we can guarantee that your profitability will increase by more than 25% just by doing what you learn today from this blog.
But before we delve further, what are the above 5 data points telling us? They are telling us a very clear story of the current state of affairs of insurance customers. Who they are, what they do, and what they expect. If we understand these three phenomena, we can then develop our winning strategy to engage with our customers.
How do we know if our customers are engaged? It is not just when they like or comment on our Facebook posts or tweets. They are engaged only when they identify the value addition of the services being provided. They then get excited and take pride in the association. How many of you measure customers on these parameters?
Spilling the beans
To get started, we are excited to share three of our most tested and proven winning strategies followed by detailed explanations of how you can use them to propel your business.
Understand customer segments & Context. You must slice and dice your customer base to develop customer segmentation. Segmenting your customers makes them feel personal and it also becomes easy for you to send customized messages. Remember, sending generic messages to all your customers hurts more than it helps!
Engage in real-time omnichannel. Develop several tools to engage and create multiple opportunities for customers to connect with you. Each customer chooses their preferred form of interaction either through a website, mobile App, text, email, phone call or even in-person interaction. To the customers these are not different touch points, they are just one brand, that is your agency, and all part of a single journey, although at multiple stages.
Connect your customer to your ecosystems. Make sure you have them all hooked up to your ecosystem (your website, your app, your social media sites) so they are in sync with your messages. Encourage them to signup or register through social media.
A. Customer Segments – Segmenting your customers creates better engagement opportunities, and every business knows customer engagement is the key to success. There are several different ways to skin the cat but for simplicity, I have suggested 5 easy segments to start with:
- Recently lost
Other segmentation examples include –
Demographic data: age, gender, marital status, and employment status.
Insurance policy related data: insurance lines, policies, premiums, tenure, and insurance score.
Financial data: income, retirement plans, home ownership status, vehicle ownership
Once you have defined the segment, do not send an email to an average person in that group. Try to cluster them and personalize message based on additional attributes. As you can see, being able to collect and manage this data in a system is key for such efforts. It is said that ‘an average person has 1.96 legs and 9.7 fingers,’ and you don’t know too many people like that. So write to people, not for averages. It’s a bad idea to send emails to the mythical “average user”.
B. Engage in real-time: Once you have defined your customer segments, we need to work on our second strategy – engage in real time. But before we do that, we need to make sure we understand the various stages of a Customer Journey. Typically, there are 4 primary stages of a customer lifecycle.
- Customer Acquisition is one of the most important stages as this is where we bring in new revenue, new profits and new customers. With carriers making a significant investment in direct to consumers, it is no one’s guess that everyone wants to have deeper engagement and influence on the customer from the first stage. So as an agent, you have an uphill task of being able to create proactive engagement with customers during customer acquisition stage. You don’t want your customers to wait until the next morning to call you for a quote, or report a claim, or to request a new ID card. Remember the attitude, “I want it when I want it and how I want it” even if it is in the middle of the night. The good news is, you have an option to leverage technology to fulfill these demands. With AI-driven Virtual assistants – Chatbots and websites, you can serve your customers effectively, efficiently and most importantly, on demand.
- Premium Payment. Walking that extra mile to send customized reminders, payment links, payment schedules, and any additional analytics to help customers understand finances goes a long way. It shows customers that you care and support their efforts at being on time for payments or schedules.
- Claims processing. Claims processing can be a very stressful situation for anyone involved. Being able to access information, connecting to roadside assistance, compiling accident checklist are huge tasks. But making all these processes digital and easy for your customers adds to your value proposition. When this process becomes frictionless, it is sure to increase customer satisfaction.
- Renewals and retention. This is the last point in a customer journey. The ease of doing business using technology is on the forefront. Pairing this with a robust business model that offers retention rewards and referral bonuses promotes customer retention. In addition, providing an opportunity for feedback via surveys or simple rating tools will also send a strong message to your customers that you care and value their opinion.
C. Bringing them all together- your Ecosystem
Your ecosystem may include your website, social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, your web portal and a mobile app for customers. By successfully bringing all your customers into your ecosystem, you will be able to boost loyalty, increase revenue, reduce cost, reduce price sensitivity and attract new customers. Sometimes this ecosystem can go beyond offering insurance products – IOT devices, home security, etc. But merging various channels to your ecosystem makes it a smart and streamlined process in the backend of your agency.
Harnessing the power of digital technology is no more an option but is a minimum requirement for the success of any business. The sooner we adapt, the sooner we establish and the longer we prevail.
To watch our complete webinar please click on the link – Here
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