Is your agency prepared to handle the modern insurance consumer journey?
The honest answer is most likely: Maybe.
That is until Ron Berg, Executive Director of the ACT (Agents Council on Technology) released their most recent work group (team of volunteers) findings, the Insurance Consumer Journey Report.
This new report is meant to document the initial findings of the work group tasked with understanding and outlining what the insurance consumer journey looks like today and in the future.
My recommendation is to use the Insurance Consumer Journey Report as a checklist for preparing your agency to address the needs of the modern insurance consumer.
Once completed, you’ll have turned “Maybe” into “Yes, we’re prepared to service the modern insurance consumer.”
The Agency Nation Take
Not every agency is going to have the expertise and/or bandwidth to quickly check off each item.
After diving into the report, we’ve identified what we consider the seven high priority ways in which you can prepare you agency for the modern insurance consumer:
1) Provide Diversity of Channels
There is no one way in which insurance consumers find your agency. Just working off referrals may be enough to sustain your current position, but it’s rare to find an agency growing in a meaningful way on referrals alone. The modern insurance consumer has many different potential channels with which they can come in contact with your agency.
PREP WORK: Begin developing processes within your agency to handle inbound leads from multiple channels. This will include email, website contact forms, phone calls, social media, and maybe even live chat. Provide insurance consumers with a diverse set of options to contact your agency.
2) Social Validation Through Social Media
Whether you like it or not (and many more agencies are harnessing the power of social media every day which is awesome), your clients use social media. For most agencies, the real power in social media isn’t its direct sales potential, but rather the social validation that social media provides in terms of engagement, client reviews and branding.
PREP WORK: Choose one or two social media channels (for a standard agency setup writing some mix of personal and commercial insurance, two obvious choices would be Facebook and LinkedIn) and focus on building an intimate and engaged audience. This way, when a new potential client visits your page to check you out, there is activity and responsiveness.
3) Ease of Business Driving Decision
A few months ago I was giving a presentation to a group of agents. During the section on content marketing and its use in customer service, an agent raises his hand and says, “Customer service is what we’re known for, that’s why we make every client come in and meet with us face-to-face.”
Think about that for second. He is all about customer service, yet the client has no choice in how business is conducted.
PREP WORK: To the modern insurance consumer, ease of business is a key component to the insurance provider they choose. GEICO gets this, it’s time the rest of us do. You can make doing business easy and provide good quality customer service at the same time. Esignature is a good place to start.
4) Multiple Mobile Touchpoints
With more than half of the US population owning smartphones, there is no longer any doubt that providing insurance consumers with some form of mobile website option is a necessity. However, what about the insurance consumers who don’t just want website information, but also communication methods and policy information?
PREP WORK: Verify your website if mobile responsive (this not only improves user experience, but SEO as well). Consider mobile apps such as the Insurance Agent app which provide clients with functionality far beyond what they can get from your website.
5) Availability and Accessibility
Is your agency available and accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Better question, do your clients have the ability to get their needs met 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
PREP WORK: It is no longer acceptable for your clients to NOT be able to service their insurance policies because your office is closed or because you don’t like answering your cell phone on the golf course. There are plenty of service providers (including many of the carriers you write business with) who can handle off-hours calls. Get this set up today.
6) Proactive Mid-policy Communication
Insurance consumers are bombarded with insurance advertisements in every aspect of their life, every single day. You know as well as I do, it’s impossible to get away from. No matter how strong a bond we believe we have with our clients, at some point, some message is going to catch our clients at just the right time and they are going to call someone else.
PREP WORK: Build multiple mid-policy communications or “touches” into your business process. Email auto-responder services are good for this, as they allow you to automate an email newsletter. There are also many functions within Agency Management Systems that allow you to set reminders for in-person visits or hard copy mailers.
7) Built-in Feedback Loop
Do you know how satisfied your clients are with the service your agency provides (policy renewals do not count, as renewing a policy does not mean a client is satisfied)? The most likely answer is that you don’t know. Like most companies, there will be mix of clients that love your business, are indifferent and are unhappy.
The blessing and curse of the Internet is that the modern insurance consumer now has an outlet to express their feelings about your agency.
PREP WORK: Build in a process for asking clients about their customer experience. This can be done manually or by sending clients to Google to review your agency. Client reviews on Google are also great for Local SEO. It’s important to build up a backlog of high quality reviews for that off chance that someone does take to the Internet to complain.
These are just a few of the takeaways you’ll get from ACT’s Insurance Consumer Journey Report. I can’t recommend enough that you download the report for yourself and take a look.
For those that have had the chance to dive in, what additional takeaways do you have?
Share in the comments below…
Thank you and good luck,
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