The Right Tool at the Right Time
There’s no shortage of tech-related resources emerging and at our disposal – even within your agency management system, much less the plethora of tools being offered by emerging technology providers (because I refuse to say “InsurTech” one. more. time).
And the tools at your disposal cover a wide variety of agency workflow needs – inbound marketing, CRM, customer experience, back-end processing, system updates, download, on and on. Where to start?
Let’s choose one and look at the ‘customer experience’ ecosystem. How does an agency wrap their arms – or more accurately minds – around the vast amount of resources and convert that into a strategic plan to up their ease-of-doing-business game in this ultra-competitive time?
Like any plan, start high level. Understand that there are five or six main phases a consumer goes through in realizing they need their risks covered, through purchasing coverage, through policy lifecycle. There are a number of different terms for these phases, but let’s chunk them out into these standard titles:
Discover, Evaluate, Purchase, Experience, Renew, Refer
Within each of these six phases, there are a number of technology “touchpoints” that agencies can and should implement to ensure you convert consumers into customers and keep the customers you have thrilled with your services.
An early example in the lifecycle is ‘Discover’ – A consumer becomes aware they need insurance coverage. Where do they start? More accurately, how do they find you? They will find you through online search, providing your agency’s SEO game is optimal. While the topic of SEO sounds like it’s matured, the rules are being tweaked all the time. There are many industry resources – some are even free – to ensure your game is on point.
Now that a consumer can find you and you have their attention – how relevant do you appear? Consumers will Evaluate you, just like you do using Amazon and other online services. Is your website fresh and solid? Are you showing real staff and community experience? Are you dropping knowledge via a blog or consistent posts? Are you offering the ability to get a quote indication on your website after business hours? These are all doable and, in some cases, just take time, not money. And there are plenty of resources available for you to evaluate and choose.
So now you’ve shown your value and consumers are ready to turn into customers – the Purchase phase.
This is where the ease-of-doing-business rubber really hits the road. Ask yourself what YOU expect when you’re doing business – the ability to process transactions when you want, how you want. For your customers this phase opens up opportunities like having an online app, using eSignature, and even implementing online chat assistance.
Let’s not forget the Refer phase – This is when you’ve provided such stellar guidance and service that your customers want to shout you name (digitally, as well as verbally). This is when you can ensure you take advantage of their willingness to spread your name and engage them to create short reviews, testimonials, and even include comments in your blog. As with the other phases , there are plenty of resources for you here – and many of them really do not require a significant investment. It’s really about capturing your customers’ input for website reviews, or even using your phone to record a realistic, heartfelt testimonial. As with other phases, there are some great resources to get you started.
As with any strategic plan, it’s about starting with assessing the high-level needs of your customers, looking at your current workflow and processes, and determining which area(s) your customers can most benefit from by implementing those ease-of-doing business tech and workflow solutions!
In his position with ACT, Ron brings together independent insurance agents, insurance carriers, software vendors, and other industry groups to advance the use of the most effective business processes and technologies.
ACT facilitates work groups which develop agency resources and drive the industry forward. ACT’s free tools for Big ‘I’ independent agents enhance productivity, service, marketing, sales, and security. A key focus for ACT is to keep informed on the strategic trends that will drive future consumer expectations and business opportunities.
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