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Why are insurance customers not digitally engaged?

Digital Engagement

Over the last few years, as consumers, we have so easily transformed the way we shop, get a cab, make payments and plan vacations. We revel at the ease of how we do things at the touch of the screen.

In an age of having everything at our fingertips, where the digital economy is most certainly a reality, insurance companies are struggling to get customers to digitally engage beyond claims.

If you are an insurer, to understand the reasons for this, you need to take yourself out of the corporate solution and cost cutting mindset and put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

It’s no secret that insurance is a grudge purchase, but one most people wouldn’t want to be without. In fact, conventional wisdom says that insurance is sold, not bought. Once that policy has been purchased and that bill paid, there is no requirement for your customer to interact further. They feel safe in the knowledge that they’re covered for that car accident, break in or leaky faucet damage.

This of course poses a problem for you, as an insurer, that needs to compete in a changing world – one in which the consumer is increasingly digital. You need to cut costs and build a digital relationship with your customers. One way to do this is to transform all manner of communications to the digital space.

How do you get customers to foster a digital relationship when insurance is a once off (grudge) purchase?

Do your customers want to create a login to a portal to get their policy document? Most probably not. They begrudgingly do it because they need the document. Will they go back to the website thereafter? Not likely – unless they have a claim and at that point, have to hunt for that login information again.

A 2016 study found that “insurer websites are not keeping up with customer expectations” – only 55% of insurance customers said they “definitely will” return to the website for service needs.*

How can you effectively market to these customers, when they aren’t seeing the marketing real estate on your website?

The answer lies in understanding the customer experience. If you make it easy, customers will convert to digital communications. Once they’ve done that, every other digital engagement puzzle piece will fall into place. So, what’s the easiest place to start? Start with making it super-convenient for customers to receive their important documents digitally – which includes the policy and the bill.

Let’s be honest, it’s cheaper to service a digital customer, but hoping and waiting for them to engage with you, is not the best approach. You need to pull them through to your digital channels,but the only way to do that is to add value to the customer first.

It’s time to think differently

Take note of the customer experience and start acting on the best solution to get customers into the digital sphere. Think about emailing documents to customers, rather than asking them to login to download them. That’s an immediate ease of use factor for the customer. You’ve removed the barrier of login requirements. Fostering that email relationship on important documents is the start to engaging with customers digitally. Once you start sending a bill via email for example – and allow them to pay directly from that attached document – you’re making it easier for the customer to interact.

Email is a fantastic first step in any digital relationship

Once trust is built with sending important documents over email, it becomes easier to market to customers via the channel and when required, pull them back to your website. In fact, analysis of our own clients’ open rates show that insurance emails with eBills attached get an average open rate of 73% vs 33% on email marketing emails** which makes them the perfect platform for customer engagement.

Creating that launch pad into digital engagement will help you leverage your customer relationships further and create happier, more profitable customers. It’s all about finding that balance with communication touch points in order to build trust and start that digital engagement relationship.

References

* JD Power: Insurance websites not keeping pace with changing customer experience (May 2016)
** eMarketer: Email marketing benchmarks: relevancy, frequency, deliverability and mobility (May 2017)

Striata Insurance Industry Case Study

Insurers, brokers and customers can derive great benefit from the digital transformation of insurance correspondence using Striata’s digital communication solutions.

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Mia Papanicolaou

Mia Papanicolaou

Vice President, General Manager at Striata, a Doxim company

Mia heads up strategic consulting, providing strategy and advice to companies and is a regular speaker on digital customer communication, digital maturity and improving the customer experience.

Mia has been named as an email marketing influencer multiple times and is passionate about helping organizations improve their digital communication maturity. Prior to joining Striata in 2006, she served as a business director for email marketing company, eMessageX. Mia relocated to the UK as Striata's UK Head of Operations in 2010. After 3 years in the UK, she transferred to the USA (2013) to take up the post of General Manager of the region and then took the reins as Chief Operating Officer.

Read more of Mia's blog posts here or connect with her on the following social channels:

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