The customer experience has become essential to success in nearly every industry, and the insurance industry is no different. Your product offerings still matter, but in an environment where customers can compare companies and read reviews with a quick internet search, a superior customer experience sets you apart from the competition. Customer loyalty matters. Clients who have a bad experience are unlikely to return and may dissuade others from doing business with you. Ready to invest in the longevity of your business?
Here’s how to improve the customer experience for your insurance clients.
Offer Self-Service Capabilities
When you think of the traditional view of customer service, it seems counterintuitive that creating ways for customers to have less interaction with their insurance agent would improve the customer experience (CX). But in today’s digital environment, customers want control. Shoppers want to know their options, compare costs, and make decisions rapidly during the customer acquisition cycle. Clients want to make changes to their accounts, pay their bills, or start the claims FNOL process easily.
Offer self-service options to empower both the potential client and existing customer on their customer journeys and make their experience simple and painless.
Invest in Customer-Centric Digital Resources
You already know that digital tools improve workflow automation and reduce average handling time. But to truly serve your business well, you’ve got to use the right digital tools. A well-designed digital tool will not only meet your needs as an agent but be user-friendly for your customers as well. If a feature integrates with your internal systems but is clunky and complicated for the end-user, your customer satisfaction ratings will suffer.
Offer conveniences like e-signature, which allows customers to sign digital documents from their personal device without the hassle of coming into a physical office. These services gained popularity over the past couple of years due to increased demand for remote-friendly business practices during the COVID-19 pandemic; now that customers have seen what’s possible, their popularity isn’t going to wane. The tools you initially used to serve your clients out of necessity have become the tools your customers appreciate for their convenience; keep finding ways to make their interactions with you positive, painless, and memorable for all the right reasons.
Don’t Ignore Mobile Compatibility.
You can spend a small fortune perfecting your customer web portal but if it’s not mobile-friendly, your customers are going to get frustrated by minuscule text, wonky alignment, and poorly functioning text boxes. More than a third of Americans have purchased insurance on their mobile device, so this population is not one that your CX strategy can ignore. Spend just as much energy – if not more – ensuring your mobile users can access all the same features as your web-based users. If you add a mobile app to your digital offerings, make sure it’s not just an app for the sake of having an app. A mobile app should be a truly useful tool that allows your customers to enjoy the most user-friendly and full-featured experience possible, not one that facilitates partial completion of forms that still need additional in-person follow-up.
Interact Across Multiple Channels
Today’s customers don’t want to be limited in their communication options. Business messaging over social media increased 40% during 2020. Customers who have become accustomed to easy and direct communication with companies on their preferred channel don’t want to give that up. At the same time, the prospect of 24/7 availability and monitoring multiple social media channels is daunting for small offices and individual agents without a full customer support team. Fortunately, automated responses, published response time frames, and chat tools powered with artificial intelligence (AI) can help respond to customer requests. Constant availability is less important to customers than knowing their inquiries are received and addressed promptly. To meet customer expectations, they just need to know their messages aren’t disappearing into the digital abyss.
Continue Offering Stellar Customer Service
Just because customers seem to want less direct interaction and more technological tools doesn’t mean traditional customer service is dead. Self-service capabilities, personal dashboards, and mobile apps are great for uncomplicated needs. In the insurance industry, however, there are plenty of cases that are too complex to manage with the simple click of a button. For these customers, the stand-out customer experience occurs at the intersection of the digital and human experience.
You’ll still have customers that want a voice on the other end of the line walking them through the claims process when they’re in the middle of an emergency or just experienced catastrophic loss. There will still be clients who feel relief knowing they have a representative personally handling their claim. Despite the unprecedented shift to digital platforms over the past few years, the personal touch remains an important part of the insurance industry.
As an agent, your challenge is to figure out how to improve the customer experience at this critical customer touchpoint. You can do this by enhancing your traditional customer service with familiar digital tools to provide a subtly elevated customer experience to set you apart from the competition. Use text messages to update clients on their claim status. Adopt e-signature and document collection software to facilitate completion through a simple link to their email address. Review property damage through photos captured on their mobile phone and sent to you through text message or email.
Not all customers want or need all the bells and whistles. Instead, you can improve the customer experience by simply enhancing your already top-notch customer service with digital tools they already use.
The Bottom Line: Invest in CX for a Thriving Business
Insurance has one of the highest customer acquisition cost ratios of any industry. It costs about eight times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one. For that reason alone, it pays to keep your current customers happy with a forward-thinking customer experience strategy. But today, a positive customer experience has an added benefit: reducing the cost of acquiring new customers. With the increased influence of web-based reviews (and, conversely, the wider reach of unhappy customers’ negative experiences and testimonies), developing a stand-out customer experience can organically inspire authentic recommendations and positive reviews. Word-of-mouth marketing is free, but it’s one of the most effective methods.
With happy customers, better customer retention, and decreased customer acquisition costs, learning how to improve the customer experience for your insurance clients is definitely worth the investment. While sometimes that means adopting the latest and most advanced software, you can also accomplish it by using select technological tools to enhance what you’re already doing.