What do all successful insurance companies have in common?
The landscape is changing for insurers. An industry that is already considered stuffy, stodgy, and uninspired has been slow to make the technological advances expected by US and European consumers.
Digital-first challengers and InsurTechs are rapidly changing the way insurers approach their business. We can't help but notice that the most successful insurance companies have made several changes to their customer service interfaces and policy offerings to improve customer experience, especially on digital channels.
From the evolution of paperwork to digital communications to chatbots and 24-hour customer support, modern tech is changing how customer experience in insurance operates and how insurance companies communicate with policyholders. And the most significant change made by successful insurers is a sense of 24-hour convenience and policy flexibility for customers.
Successful insurance companies offer flexibility and superior digital experience
The customer experience (CX) is the deciding factor for modern consumers
Modern consumers want flexibility. They like to pay premiums online, access evidence of insurance from their cell phone, and study insurance documents from their sofa. They want to make changes to their insurance policies from the comfort of their home, at midnight, using whatever device is at hand.
- If the "Jake from State Farm" advertising campaign has taught us anything, it's that customers love access to 24-hour customer support.
Excellent customer experience doesn't always require a face-to-face agency interaction anymore! So the days of personal relationships and patient explanations made by local producers might be numbered.
But on the other hand, it is important to retain the feeling of personal attention and care, even over digital channels.
Why successful insurers focus on customer experience
Insurance isn't a product that people like to have. It's a requirement. It's not as if consumers look forward to spending their paycheck on insurance premiums.
Therefore, an unsatisfactory customer experience can feel utterly bleak. If you've ever had this disappointing insurance experience, you know what we mean. It's no fun spending long minutes on hold, waiting for an agent to ask a fundamental question, and finding out a disappointing answer.
And again, that stodgy, stuffy connotation makes many consumers reluctant to reach out. Successful insurers recognize that a customer who is avoiding contact becomes a customer on their way out the door.
So the challenge lies in balancing the opportunities for remote service that new digital technologies offer while maintaining the feeling of personalized attention and trust with the customer.
Customer experience in insurance and the bottom line
Price competition in the insurance industry is accelerating as customers turn to internet data aggregators to compare prices and policies and ultimately to find the best deal on personal lines products.
- Since many insurance policies are alike from one insurer to the next (a term life policy at Company A is identical to a policy Company B), insurers are forced into price wars to boost onboarding.
- Even if policies aren't identical, it's sometimes difficult for customers to distinguish them as intangibles.
- Some insurers may place extra pressure on the producers, even in the positive form of bonuses (i.e., overhead) to boost sales.
- However, a stellar experience builds loyalty towards your brand.
- Customers who can achieve their policy maintenance with a few clicks or a quick phone call at any hour are far more likely to stay with their provider.
- But it's not enough to be smooth and fast; customers must feel delighted with the results!
Eventually, the insurer with the best customer experience will win.
Consumers will be looking for an insurance experience that is almost entirely digital. Millennials, in particular, are eager to perform policy research and maintenance online. This is more great news for insurance companies, who can expect a well-educated market to self-educate.
Modern policy-holders count on tech to grasp policy language and self-educate
Successful insurance companies understand that the US and European populations are more literate and better educated than ever before (and we'll touch more on that in a moment).
- Insurers need to recognize that modern consumers can understand primary policy language and insurance concepts without agency.
- And this self-education trend becomes a tremendous marketing opportunity for insurers.
By addressing consumer's questions about complex insurance concepts with quality content, insurers can poise themselves as expert providers in their field. It's also a marketing opportunity to create an ongoing dialogue between the organization and its customers.
Insurance customers are more educated than ever
American and European insurance customers have exponentially more access to insurance information.
For instance, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) tells us that only a slim percentage — ranging from 0.4% to 1.6% — of the US population is entirely illiterate. Compare that to 100 years ago, when as many as 20% of folks couldn't read a single word.
We're certainly not claiming that the US has conquered illiteracy entirely. Still, around 80% of the adult population is capable of basic reading and comparison skills needed to shop insurance online.
But this rabbit hole goes deeper. COVID-19 has changed how consumers think about shopping, both for tangible products and intangibles, like insurance.
- In 2020, changes in hygiene and health concerns, particularly social distancing practices, have made consumers more reliant on technology.
- The traditional role of licensed agents as the local "face" of an insurer is diminishing further.
- Both commercial lines and personal lines customers need to get quotes, manage policies and pay premiums via cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
- And they expect nearly instant results.
- Thus the increasing need for remote customer service in the insurance industry.
Folks have become quite accustomed to online shopping/customer service for all kinds of products and services. They've made the transition to working from home when possible and avoiding person-to-person contact. Handshakes are obsolete!
So Post-COVID-19, insurance companies that don't look to create a hyper-fast, modern customer experience will fall farther behind.
The modern customer experience
More than ever, it's apparent that insurance clients crave immediate recognition, response, and resolution from insurers. From your biggest commercial clients' perspective, calling the agency and hearing that their agency contact is on vacation — or even just out to lunch — is not good enough.
Not to mention issues like long times on-hold or dropped calls.
But beyond the immediate customer service actions that create a positive customer experience, technology can help ease the setbacks associated with paper documents.
How no-code tools can boost your digital experience
The days of missing dec pages and lost EOIs are soon to be over, not to mention the old "the check is in the mail" story. By implementing no-code tools, insurers can prove delivery of a bill, request signatures, and decrease administrative costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
- And the customer experience associated with paperless policies is better too.
- We can't stress it enough: most modern customers don't want to deal in person or with paper.
- They want instant access to documents and the ability to fill out paperwork or make a payment whenever it's convenient for them.
That's where EasySend's no-code platform excels for insurance companies. No-code tools can:
- Make data collection a breeze for customers and agents. From auto insurance applications to life insurance health questionnaires, no-code tools allow insurance customers a lightning-fast, private experience.
- Collect electronic signatures, making it simple for customers who cannot — or would prefer not to — visit the agency in person.
The end user’s experience is smooth and uncomplicated and feels less stodgy and uninspired. The switch to a no-code platform makes most paperwork struggles, claimed postage costs a problem of the past.
At EasySend, our no-code platform and digital services can help insurance companies secure eSignature services, claim settlement services, and customer service interactions ranging from auto insurance claims to pet insurance onboarding. Our mission is to make your customers' experiences smoother, faster, and more secure than ever.
If you'd like to learn more about the no-code digital experience and how it can boost customer satisfaction, let's talk! We'd love to show you a free demo today.