How to Acquire the Omnichannel Insurance Consumer
Today’s insurance consumers have access to more sources of information when choosing a policy. Long gone are the times when they simply picked up the phone to call their agent and get a quote. They use multiple channels – social media, policy comparison sites, peer recommendations, and do a whole lot of internet research. Reaching these multichannel customers is a critical focus for the insurance industry — insurance shoppers often use more than one channel to research or purchase a policy.
According to research by McKinsey & Company, digital and social media channels influence 40 percent of consumer decisions made during the consideration phase. Other research supports these findings. A study by comScore revealed that sixty-seven percent of auto-insurance shoppers reported getting an online quote. And eighty-three percent of consumers would use the Internet to research life insurance before purchasing a policy. Nearly one in four said they would prefer to research and purchase online, if given the option.
The key message here is that the buyer is in control. Insurance carriers must put the customer at the center of their business strategies.
Provide an Exceptional Customer Experience
As consumers shop and research policies, providing a positive customer experience can create a huge competitive advantage in today’s market. A study by PwC revealed that 81% of insurers plan to implement customer experience initiatives over the next three years as part of their business model innovations.
Customers expect greater price transparency, positive customer ratings and reviews, personalized messaging, real-time response to requests, and easy quote processes. And when they don’t receive a positive experience, a growing number of consumers will switch carriers even if the price is higher.
The insurance industry still has a ways to go in improving customer experiences. In fact, according to a study by Engine, the insurance sector rated last in a comparison of other major industries. This just means that by making slight tweaks here and there to the customer experience, you have the opportunity to gain new policy holders and increase market share based on the on customer experience alone.
A positive experience will not only gain you new policy holders, but the report also revealed that consumers are nearly twice as likely to recommend a company based on the quality of service (62 percent) than they are on price (35 percent).
To sell to shoppers across channels, we need to stop thinking in “channel siloes.” Consumers do not think of “channels” – they just want to have a seamless experience as they move from the internet, call for a quote, or fill out an online form.
Consider the example of a consumer who has started the application process on their smartphone. They may later move to their desktop, and then decide to call an agent for help, and may later complete the process on their smartphone. This process needs to be flexible so an applicant can pick up the application where they left off, as well as integrated with other systems in real-time if they decide to call for support. The service center needs access to this data quickly to help the consumer navigate the process with ease. Otherwise, the likely scenario will be that the shopper will get frustrated and abandon the process all together.
Consumers expect to move from channel to channel so insurance marketers must communicate and engage with them across multiple channels. Consumers are not connecting with agents until late in the decision process. Industry statistics agree that 80% of the purchase decision has been made before a consumer even contacts a sales rep. So be sure you are proactively reaching out to them through multiple channels while they are doing the bulk of their research. Use channels such as phone, email, direct mail, digital advertising, and social.
Just mass blasting messages through each of these channels won’t work however unless you have the right data insights into exactly who your customers and prospects are. Insurance companies have been using some type of demographic segmentation for years, but as consumers get more sophisticated and expect more targeted communications, companies must really delve into their internal databases to analyze not only demographics, but insights such as lifestyle, hobbies, and consumer behaviors.
Approximately 82% of consumers reevaluate insurance needs every time they have a major life event. Consumer life events, such as getting married, buying a house, or having children, provides marketers with a reason to engage with a consumer and increases the likelihood that a consumer may purchase.
Highly personalized campaigns based on trigger touchpoints can produce significant improvements in response rates, up to 10 times higher when compared to traditionally-timed campaigns. The key is to start with good data. Consider some of the following types of life event data that may trigger an insurance change:
- Brides To Be: Women who are shopping for wedding venues, ordering invitations, gowns, etc. and report that they are getting married and when (month and year).
- Newlyweds: Newlywed data compiled from sources such as bridal registries, wedding invitation purchasers, and other public record sources.
- Recent Divorce: Recently divorced individuals. This data is often sourced from county courthouse filings.
- New Teen Driver: New teen drivers from sources such as self-reported parental data, survey questions, and social media data.
- New Home Buyers: New home buyers sourced from mortgage data.
- Expecting A Baby: Data on expectant parents compiled from baby registries, maternity wear purchases, and birth announcements.
Networked Insights recently released research comparing demographic targeting to life event targeting, or what they refer to as Hi-Def Targeting. The study highlights the following great example:
Meeting the demands of today’s insurance shopper means the customer must always come first. With the right data, right message, and right channel, insurance companies can target and acquire the right new policy holder.