Data and Audience
Improve the customer experience, increase customer loyalty.
Insurance customers are changing. It’ll be up to the industry as a whole to figure out ways to keep up. As disruptors in the space continue to bring digital-only solutions to market, and the long-tail ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic push buyers online through e-commerce habits, insurance products, and services must be able to echo the changing consumer behaviors that are driving large parts of the customer journey.
Insurance consumers have unique and diverse needs, which means they may be shopping for pure savings; they need convenient, easy underwriting; they want an insurer that guarantees reliable claims services; and so on. They might be looking for comprehensive coverage, or for some consultative agent services to protect their property. The point is that the modern reality of an insurance shopper is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and neither is that of a new policyholder.
People will not be engaged in an insurer’s products or services unless they experience a relevant and personal journey. This means that insurers need the data, technology, tools, and partners to deliver timely engagements that build over a lifetime, particularly whether it’s a matter of onboarding.
The Customer Onboarding Process, Refined
It can cost five times more to attract new policyholders than it does to retain existing ones. First impressions, in this case, are not only meaningful but lucrative in the long run. Beyond just a simple introduction, the onboarding process essentially lays the groundwork that drives loyalty over time with insurers.
Studies suggest that insurers have around 90 days to create the engagement path needed to drive lifetime value in a policyholder relationship. Research from Deloitte found that “Onboarding and ongoing learning provides the best method for carriers to generate brand loyalty and affinity.” The real question is how to make sure to onboard correctly.
By leveraging data and insights that are in tune with changes in customer preference, insurers can not only provide personalized products and services but pave the way for lucrative customer relationships — here’s how.
1. Target and Communicate
- By using existing data and pairing that with national consumer files, there will already be unique audience profiles to reach targets who eventually convert. Once they become policyholders, then it’s up to the insurer to be able to demonstrate that they know and care about each new policyholder by taking the basic steps of frequent, relevant communications about logical and specific service benefits. Converting is the true first step, but sequencing communications is the most important next step in encouraging the deepening of the relationship.
2. Think Omnichannel
- Those communications, however, cannot be limited to one or two channels. Orchestrating a personalized experience that leads to additional opportunities with other products means thinking like the policyholder, and using a calculated mix of touchpoints across email, mail, phone, digital, and in-person when safe to do so. A cohesive yet consistent customer experience, no matter how policyholders prefer to engage, means reaching the right consumers in exactly the right way.
3. Push Products and Services and People
- Simply put, introducing policyholders to their agent (for captive or independent agent distribution models) deepens relationships. Especially when there is a captive agent involved, this sort of consultative, face-to-face step keeps communications open through multiple channels to quickly and effectively deliver relevant, personalized marketing to precisely the right audience, with the right message in the channels they prefer.
4. Future Cross-Sell
- Consistently delivering personalized information and solutions to improve the customer experience creates stickiness in the relationship, but that stick needs to hold strong. New policyholders should be encouraged to actively and fully engage beyond their initial interest to maximize the value of the new account. To understand the full market potential of each policyholder, insurers must think ahead to leverage available policyholder data to continue contextual communications that increase product relevancy over time.
Will insurers evolve with consumers? The vast majority — 81 percent, in fact — of insurers see how inextricable it has become to use technology and data to complement and define the modern customer experience. By targeting and then properly onboarding policy-seeking insurance shopping consumers, who have real-time insurance needs based on life events, insurers will all but ensure the lucrative loyalty needed to weather the industry-changing landscape ahead.