Ways to engage and retain insurance customers

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on February 14, 2014

Ways to engage and retain insurance customers

For insurance customers, websites are often the first point of contact with insurance providers, so first impressions are vital. But nearly half of adults in the UK say they give up filling in web forms part-way through due to frustration over their length and complexity, according to Alistair Burton, insurance business development manager for Genesys.

Consumers looking for insurance are always looking for the best deal: they search the web, compare the price, take out the policy. It's easy to swap providers and, as such, the insurance industry has a very high customer churn rate.

So how can companies keep their customers? Burton argues that insurance companies are missing a genuine opportunity to engage with their customers, and need to provide a more proactive approach to customer service in order to provide a better, more fulfilling customer experience - and increase customer retention. The answer to this is proactive web and mobile engagement.

For consumers, one insurance company is always replaceable with a better deal. Consumers switch from insurer to insurer for a variety of reasons - better prices, better reputation, and quite often, better customer service. The customer experience is essential to ensuring loyal, repeat customers. Websites are the first point of contact with businesses for many people - and with insurance it's generally the customer's only point of contact. It's therefore essential for insurance companies to be proactive through web engagement.

Website experiences Nearly half (45%) of UK adults abandon filling out forms and transactions midway through completion after becoming frustrated over the length and complexity of the process, identity validation and security checks, and it's the same when filling out forms for insurance cover.

Sorting out insurance can be a complicated task - the sites can be difficult to navigate, there are multiple questions to answer, forms to fill out, and pages and pages of terms and conditions to read. All this can make sorting out insurance quite a task. If the customer can't find what they're looking for, too often, it means that the customer must end their digital interaction and perhaps go to another insurance provider. If they chose to persevere, pick up a phone, and call into the contact centre, this would be the last chance for the provider to secure their business. It is essential that the agent has knowledge of what the customer was doing on the digital channel. However, typically this is not the case, resulting in having to start all over again - which is very frustrating for the customer.

Proactive engagement can change this by matching the prospective customers with the best person to help with their query at the precise moment of need and through their preferred channel of communication. This intervention can be the difference between an abandoned purchase and a new or retained customer.

Targeted web chat Many insurance organisations try to connect with shoppers via web chat, deliver pop-ups at a time when help is not wanted and they only serve to irritate customers. When shoppers do take up the offer for assistance, the experience often gets worse, which serves to kill the sale and tarnish your brand.

Pop-ups that are proactive and offer precise assistance at the point of need - by providing an invitation to communicate using whichever channel is most convenient to the customer, and identifying the best possible person in your company to give help - can enable agents to resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently.

Using targeted and proactive web chat can reduce call handling, help to maintain customer loyalty and boost retention - a particularly difficult task in the insurance industry, as customers choose insurance for price, so it's even more important to provide a good service to keep them.

Customer loyalty Proactive engagement solutions provide great value to customer service delivered on the web, it provides agents with real-time visibility into the customers' online behaviour. This provides the agent with insight and context, allowing them to achieve a higher rate of first contact resolution.

Therefore helping the insurance company improve customer experience and reduce the customer effort. Lower customer effort equals a happier customer, which ultimately leads to additional sales and increased customer retention.

The future's mobile A key constraint in the insurance industry is that there are fewer customer touch points than in the retail and banking industries, for example. However, as customers are increasingly turning to their mobile phones to seek information, interact and purchase, insurance providers need to look toward mobile as a way of interacting with their customers.

While live chat has long been a proven tool for traditional online customer engagement, the challenge is how and when to apply chat to an overall mobile web strategy. For example, insurance companies that could monitor hesitation over an online application form or related access to FAQs could engage at that point. Another approach is to create an app that has the capability to notify the customer when they need to renew their insurance, tell the customer when they've received their information, or that their claim has been processed, could see conversions raised. Seamless interactions with mobile visitors in real-time could increase both customer satisfaction and conversions.

"Insurance companies need to embrace mobile for the future, as it's a critical new interaction point that can drive customer satisfaction. Just as important as engaging with customers on the web at the right moment, developing the same proactive engagement strategy across mobile will allow insurance providers to deliver a mobile chat experience through an app, which will help create a mobile experience that meets and exceeds the expectations of their customers," explained Burton.

It's all about the experience The insurance industry is a prime example of where good customer service can transform a cost into a revenue generator and in fact help insurance companies keep customers and even cross-sell additional insurance products and services. It's therefore crucial for insurance companies to have numerous proactive touch points to continue to deepen the customer relationship.

"It's no longer about how to sell the best policy at the cheapest rate. Instead, it's about how to provide the best policyholder experience," concluded Burton. "Higher engagement with customers using proactive engagement could mean the difference between customers renewing their policy automatically, and searching elsewhere for this year's quote."

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