According to a 2013 study by Capgemini, a global financial consulting firm, only 30 percent of insurance customers reported having a positive customer experience, which is one of the lowest rates across all industries. This means that at any point in time, roughly 70 percent of policyholders are susceptible to leaving due to poor customer experience.
For many agents, however, gauging customer satisfaction is difficult, due in part to the small number of touch points across the customer life cycle. In many cases, once a customer is onboarded, engagement is limited to policy renewals or the initiation of a claim.
In today's highly mobile, multi-tasking culture, insurance customers, like all other service-related customers, want to manage their policies, gather information, and resolve questions or concerns on the go via their tablets and smartphones. They want to communicate across the channels they prefer, including email, tweets and text messages. And when they're not happy with a product or service, they are not shy about telling the world on social media.
Some agents take a short-sighted view of mobile technology and social media; however, these platforms offer a wealth of opportunities for customer touches and engagement to help gauge and enhance the overall customer experience. Developing a positive relationship is perhaps more important in the insurance industry than in other service industries. Studies show that 84 percent of insurance customers trust other customers' reviews and comments when making a purchase decision.
The lesson for today's insurance agents is that the policyholder value chain is evolving. Changes in technology and the way we do business means that it's no longer enough to offer the right policy at the cheapest price. Today, it's all about providing a positive policyholder experience. The challenge is finding ways to accomplish that.
Here are a few ways that may help you:
Enhance the Purchase and Service Processes
Consumers today might use the following process to purchase a policy: They research carriers on the Internet and cross reference them with consumer review sites; they may even ask for recommendations on their social sites. They complete a few quote requests online and compare prices. When they choose a carrier, they find a local agent. They'll probably check reviews on the agent or broker; they will also check LinkedIn profiles for proof of experience. When they're ready to buy, they'll use their preferred communication channel (email, phone call, Twitter, online chat) and start the process.
What you can do today:
- Incorporate social media in your website, so clients can easily tweet, post or email links
- Include LinkedIn profile links on your contact page
- Add your social media information to your business cards
- Let customers know if or how they can reach you by text
- Ask your customers for a review on Yelp when they purchase or renew
Offer "Concierge" Services
Social media simplifies the process of reaching out to customers to promote two-way engagement. Providing proactive services differentiates you from others in a crowded insurance marketplace.
What you can do today:
- Use social media to alert policyholders to upcoming severe weather events and link to emergency services and information
- Create a Pinterest board for each line of business. Pin interesting articles and pictures, such as how to winterize a home, scenic places for a motorcycle ride, tips for teen drivers, etc.
- Add apps or links on your website for services of interest to your customers, such as car price comparisons, healthcare provider reviews, and auto repair, car rental and taxi services
Integrate Claims Technology
Technology has revolutionized the claims process. Now when a consumer is involved in an accident, he can capture photos and videos on his smartphone to document damage, traffic conditions, the other driver's license plate, VIN and driver's license and submit this information in real-time to the insurance company.
What you can do:
- Create a mobile app or online claims portal where customers can track claims status, store photos and ask questions. App platform companies like Mendix offer services at reasonable prices.
- Link to useful apps on your website for creating a home inventory.
Monitor Your Feedback
Social media is a two-edged sword. It's great to get positive mentions, but it's devastating if a complaint goes unanswered in the social sphere. If you or your company is the subject of a negative post, it's important to engage in the conversation and offer direct personal contact to resolve the issue.
What you can do today:
- Get a free social media monitoring tool to alert you to mentions
- Conduct exit interviews with customers who don't renew and immediately fix any service issues within your control to prevent negative social reviews
Making engagement convenient for your customers on the communication channels they prefer is essential to a good overall customer experience. Approach every aspect of your business from the perspective of the customer and how you can cultivate a sense of personalized attention and top-notch service. Even little steps to build outreach reap great rewards in customer satisfaction.