3 Ways Insurance Agents Can Improve Customer Relationships

25 May 2017

Technology and Infrastructure, Profitability Tips

Insurance is a customer-centric business at its core. However, many insurance agents and brokers are not living up to their customers’ expectations when it comes to the experiences they deliver.

This makes it more difficult to establish a strong relationship with customers and build loyalty, which are key to boosting agency profitability.

So, what can insurance agents do to change this and ensure that the relationships they foster with their customers are as strong (and commercially fruitful) as they can possibly be?

Here are three tips to help insurance agents/brokers improve customer relationships:

1. Use data-driven insights to deliver improved customer service

Everybody likes to feel special. But a typical insurance agent/broker, managing large amounts of contracts across different insurance lines and geographies, might feel like it's impossible to maintain personal, one-on-one relationships with every customer in the book of business.

Thankfully, technology has advanced to offer a little help in this regard. Data-driven insights from powerful analytics platforms, such as Novidea, can extract information from customers' files, making personalizing communication that much easier.

Once proper systems are in place to leverage data-driven insights for improving personalization (such a predicted purchasing pattern or a preferred contact time), then every touchpoint of the customer journey can be fine-tuned to match exactly what the customer is looking for. And customers are sure to react positively to the increased personal touch. A report last year from Forrester found that consumers reported a 40% increase in satisfaction levels when they received a sufficiently personalized experience from their insurance providers.

From a commercial standpoint, as well, delivering more personalized selling techniques, such as by using real-time customer intelligence to inform up-selling and cross-selling strategies, can pay significant dividends. 

It's also important to deliver a unified personal experience across all communication channels. Using omnichannel strategies to offer customers as many means as possible to remain in contact (in a consistent manner) is also likely to improve the flow of information between agent and customer. If systems capture all customer-communicated information, whether those are delivered through a website visit, phone call, or an interaction with a chat bot, an agency has the best possible chance of delivering a personalized and satisfying customer experience in return. And in business, as in life, strong dialogue is at the core of every successful relationship.

2. Have proper systems in place to manage risk

Given the intimate facets of life that insurance professionals become involved in, customers want to deal with professionals that can be perceived as stable and 'in it for the long run'.

The current business environment in insurance, however, is characterized by high levels of volatility that make long term planning a challenge. In a survey, last year, of over 400 chief financial officers and senior executives, almost 70% of respondents reported that the risks their businesses face are more complex compared to the operating climate just five years ago.

Insurance professionals, however, are risk management professionals by nature. Using an end-to-end agency management platform with risk management capabilities can help manage risk exposure appropriately and contribute significantly to business continuity.

Taking a thorough risk audit, for example, can help a brokerage identify areas of over-exposure that may not have been obvious. Mitigating these threats can be done through avoiding, reducing, or transferring this risk.

For customers, that means long term business stability as well as relatively stable premiums on the insurance products. Both bolster confidence among consumers in their relationships with their insurance agents.

3. Be efficient

The rise of cloud computing, in which business processes and software are hosted on servers rather than desktops, has transformed many industries, including insurance.

Achieving digital transformation in the modern era is only possible with a cloud-integrated strategy, according to business thought-leaders. The benefits of using the cloud for a typical insurance agency include more streamlined communication between geographically distributed teams, more efficient handling of back-office processes, and reduced overall expenditure on information technology.

Automated workflows using rules-based logic are also emerging as increasingly important mechanisms for improving the customer experience. Improved availability of technical integrations and the widespread availability of cloud-based systems for the majority of business processes have greatly facilitated this trend.

An insurance agency that operates efficiently deals with fewer fragmented, disconnected systems, enabling agents to devote more time to the fundamental tasks of servicing their customers and ensuring that they are satisfied with the service that they are receiving.

The bottom line

Customer churn is a threat to the viability of many insurance businesses, but satisfied customers will be much less likely to walk away. It's worth the time and investment to implement systems that provide the data needed to deliver the most enjoyable and personalized experiences possible, minimize risk and increase efficiency.

Make sure that customers are satisfied with the level of service that they are receiving from your agency or brokerage. Contact us at Novidea to find our more information on how you can start, today.

insurance-distribution-technology

Posted by Lianne Trantz

With more than 20 years of global marketing experience at both high-tech startups and established enterprises, Lianne Trantz now serves VP of Marketing for Novidea. She is known for her expertise in brand, field and product marketing that focuses squarely on customer needs and customer value.
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3 Ways Insurance Agents Can Improve Customer Relationships

Posted by Lianne Trantz on 25 May 2017
Lianne Trantz
Find me on:

Insurance is a customer-centric business at its core. However, many insurance agents and brokers are not living up to their customers’ expectations when it comes to the experiences they deliver.

This makes it more difficult to establish a strong relationship with customers and build loyalty, which are key to boosting agency profitability.

So, what can insurance agents do to change this and ensure that the relationships they foster with their customers are as strong (and commercially fruitful) as they can possibly be?

Here are three tips to help insurance agents/brokers improve customer relationships:

1. Use data-driven insights to deliver improved customer service

Everybody likes to feel special. But a typical insurance agent/broker, managing large amounts of contracts across different insurance lines and geographies, might feel like it's impossible to maintain personal, one-on-one relationships with every customer in the book of business.

Thankfully, technology has advanced to offer a little help in this regard. Data-driven insights from powerful analytics platforms, such as Novidea, can extract information from customers' files, making personalizing communication that much easier.

Once proper systems are in place to leverage data-driven insights for improving personalization (such a predicted purchasing pattern or a preferred contact time), then every touchpoint of the customer journey can be fine-tuned to match exactly what the customer is looking for. And customers are sure to react positively to the increased personal touch. A report last year from Forrester found that consumers reported a 40% increase in satisfaction levels when they received a sufficiently personalized experience from their insurance providers.

From a commercial standpoint, as well, delivering more personalized selling techniques, such as by using real-time customer intelligence to inform up-selling and cross-selling strategies, can pay significant dividends. 

It's also important to deliver a unified personal experience across all communication channels. Using omnichannel strategies to offer customers as many means as possible to remain in contact (in a consistent manner) is also likely to improve the flow of information between agent and customer. If systems capture all customer-communicated information, whether those are delivered through a website visit, phone call, or an interaction with a chat bot, an agency has the best possible chance of delivering a personalized and satisfying customer experience in return. And in business, as in life, strong dialogue is at the core of every successful relationship.

2. Have proper systems in place to manage risk

Given the intimate facets of life that insurance professionals become involved in, customers want to deal with professionals that can be perceived as stable and 'in it for the long run'.

The current business environment in insurance, however, is characterized by high levels of volatility that make long term planning a challenge. In a survey, last year, of over 400 chief financial officers and senior executives, almost 70% of respondents reported that the risks their businesses face are more complex compared to the operating climate just five years ago.

Insurance professionals, however, are risk management professionals by nature. Using an end-to-end agency management platform with risk management capabilities can help manage risk exposure appropriately and contribute significantly to business continuity.

Taking a thorough risk audit, for example, can help a brokerage identify areas of over-exposure that may not have been obvious. Mitigating these threats can be done through avoiding, reducing, or transferring this risk.

For customers, that means long term business stability as well as relatively stable premiums on the insurance products. Both bolster confidence among consumers in their relationships with their insurance agents.

3. Be efficient

The rise of cloud computing, in which business processes and software are hosted on servers rather than desktops, has transformed many industries, including insurance.

Achieving digital transformation in the modern era is only possible with a cloud-integrated strategy, according to business thought-leaders. The benefits of using the cloud for a typical insurance agency include more streamlined communication between geographically distributed teams, more efficient handling of back-office processes, and reduced overall expenditure on information technology.

Automated workflows using rules-based logic are also emerging as increasingly important mechanisms for improving the customer experience. Improved availability of technical integrations and the widespread availability of cloud-based systems for the majority of business processes have greatly facilitated this trend.

An insurance agency that operates efficiently deals with fewer fragmented, disconnected systems, enabling agents to devote more time to the fundamental tasks of servicing their customers and ensuring that they are satisfied with the service that they are receiving.

The bottom line

Customer churn is a threat to the viability of many insurance businesses, but satisfied customers will be much less likely to walk away. It's worth the time and investment to implement systems that provide the data needed to deliver the most enjoyable and personalized experiences possible, minimize risk and increase efficiency.

Make sure that customers are satisfied with the level of service that they are receiving from your agency or brokerage. Contact us at Novidea to find our more information on how you can start, today.

insurance-distribution-technology

Topics: Technology and Infrastructure, Profitability Tips