Insurance prospects don’t usually show up ready and raring to buy your policy. They peruse, they assess, and they comparison shop for the best plan. Increasingly, these prospects are using technology (ah yes, that ever powerful internet) to do their company detective work.
What does that mean for the modern insurance agency? Customers who can’t find you online might not find you at all. Additionally, customers who can’t interact with your company online may opt to take their business to a more online friendly company.
But don’t worry - there’s good news to all this “dun, dun, dunnnn” info.
The Agents Council for Technology (ACT) recently released a report for insurance agents looking to ramp-up their modern insurance sales game. Using research compiled from a year-long study, ACT’s report offers tips and recommendations for how agents can use technology to improve their online insurance sales strategy and close even more deals.
The ACT's Consumer Insurance Journey Recommendations
Since winning over prospects doesn’t happen overnight, the ACT broke down a buyer’s experience into something they call the “Insurance Journey.”
According to ACT, the phases of a prospect's insurance journey include:
- Discover e.g. "I need insurance. Let me start by Googling it."
- Evaluate e.g. "So many options! Wonder which one I should choose..."
- Purchase e.g. "This insurance agency looks like a fit for me. Where do I sign?"
- Experience e.g. "Time to get a return on my investment! Let’s see if this insurance agency is all it's cracked up to be."
- Renew/Leave e.g. "You mean my insurance ends each year? Shoot. Well, let me re-evaluate my plan to see if I want to continue on this path."
- Advocacy Choice e.g. "I still love this agency and I want to profess my love to the world! Reviews, stars, referrals – you get it all." OR "No stars for you. Let me start researching the competition..."
But that's just the beginning. The ACT report also provides recommendations for how an agency can optimize technology to cater to each phase of a consumer's insurance journey. From building a more robust website to streamlining the online sign-up flow, the ACT's tips aim to help insurance agents create an effective online strategy.
The report is full of gems, but here's a recap of the some of the top takeaways:
- Actions taken to implement technology now will put you light years ahead of your competition. Remember the scary idea mentioned earlier, “Customers who can’t find you online might not find you at all” ? Getting a solid online presence is a huge advantage to your business strategy.
But ranking on the front page of Google requires time. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long game that requires you to build up your online authority over time. The good news? Steps taken today will put you ahead of the curve (aka your competition). ACT recommends building an online presence using social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook (among others) to get your name out and about.
- Strategy trumps random adoption of technology. All right, so now you’re convinced it’s time to get tweeting? Great! Just make sure you have a strategy in mind before going crazy on the social channels. ACT recommends an agency should first create a plan of attack when modernizing any insurance agency.
A successful strategy includes both assessing which new technologies make sense for your agency and using specific metrics to measure the effectiveness of new online tools.
- Mobile matters when closing deals. Take a look around any crowded subway system and you’ll see a fair share of commuters scrolling on their smartphones. It’s a phone-friendly world we live in which means it’s a phone-friendly world you’re selling to. Agencies who optimize their websites and ads for mobile users can expect to attract even more eyes on their product (even during the dreaded commute).
- eSignatures play an integral part for streamlining the insurance journey. Huzzah! eSignatures play a big part of ramping up your business strategy. This is something we've been hearing from our insurance users (AllState and Farmers agents among the crowd) for a while now. Printing, signing, and faxing are old hats in the world of insurance, but these outdated processes slow down prospects and prevent eager signers from getting their name in your system as quickly as possible.
Providing prospects with the opportunity to complete the sign-up flow online can prevent your potential customers from losing momentum.
- Tech is equally important after a deal is closed. The work isn’t over once a prospect is locked down as a buyer. Once a potential customer becomes a paying customer, they transform into a potential advocate for your business. Online feedback opportunities like video testimonials, guest blog posting, and web-based reviews can help a happy customer share their love for your company quickly and easily.
Extra tip: potential advocates also happen to be great candidates for online insurance referral programs!
Want Even More Insight? Download ACT’s full report!
These takeaways give just a peek into ACT’s research and recommendations. The full report includes even more insight into how you can leverage technology in your insurance agency - all for a grand total of $0. To get a full look, download the Consumer Insurance Journey Recommendations here! In the coming year, ACT will continue to roll-out research on new strategies and technologies. We’ll keep you posted on these updates as they come out.