This piece originally ran on InsuranceNews.net.
Competition is stiff and consumers are demanding, but the opportunities for insurance sales are still significant with one-third of consumers still looking to increase their insurance investments in the immediate future. Let’s look at six ways to make your insurance sales process more efficient while increasing customer satisfaction.
1. Tell more (of the right) stories.
Insurance agents should be storytellers first and foremost. Not the of storytellers who sell unnecessary products or exaggerate benefits — today’s sophisticated customers smell disingenuity a mile away. But insurance agents should tell stories that emotionally resonate with prospects and speak to their concerns.
For instance, a property/casualty insurance agent can tell a prospect a story of how having the right insurance policy helped another customer in the area find suitable temporary accommodations when their home was damaged in a hurricane. Or a health insurance agent can talk about a time when an at-risk patient got coverage that enabled them to get a life-saving treatment.
When stories are told with the individual customer’s circumstances and needs in mind, these stories have the power to convince prospects to buy.
2. Choose the right customer relationship management system.
The ideal CRM is easy to use and built specifically for the needs of insurance agents. It should allow agents to easily keep track of leads and customers, have an intuitive interface, and incorporate time-saving technology such as robotic process automation and automated workflows. The CRM should also allow for seamless integration, allowing smooth transfer of information between customers, agents and backend employees. This will deliver long-term benefits as all data will be synced across parties for easy future reference.
3. Communicate the way your customers want.
Today’s customers subconsciously compare all their interactions with businesses to customer-obsessed brands such as Amazon and Netflix. What these brands have in common is that they allow customers to buy (and then access) their services from any channel. The best brands allow customers to choose their preferred channel of communication when initiating or responding to a sales pitch. And insurance shouldn’t be any different.
Except that it is. For instance, a recent survey found that 42% of insurance customers want to get information about insurance policies through a company website, yet only 31% of customers find sufficiently detailed information about insurance products online. Even worse, while 50% of customers would like to communicate with their insurer via online chat, only 22% are given the option of doing so.
By communicating about insurance products via the channels that customers want - often digital but not always - insurance brokers can remove one obvious barrier to sales.
4. Don’t be shy to push for referrals.
Advertising and marketing is expensive, but a happy customer not only sticks around longer but is also the key to other customers through referrals. Insurance agents should prioritize delivering a delightful and frictionless sales experience - and selling the product that best fits their needs.
Now that you’ve made their insurance experience a good one, ask them to tell others. Your referral method can be as simple as asking customers to refer you to a friend, or write a review on social media. Or it can be a more formalized program with rewards, such as discounts and or other benefits.
5. Remove friction from the buying process.
After the prospect shows interest in purchasing insurance, the last thing the agent should do is introduce complicated paperwork, read lengthy terms and conditions scripts, or rely on multiple cumbersome channels.
At the point of sale, agents should be empowered to request information from customers in real time. That information includes their identification for automatic verification, e-signatures for immediate consent, digitized terms and conditions for quick approval, and digital payments. Using the right technology, all of these customer-facing capabilities can be triggered from the agent’s console and sent to the customer’s smartphone or email, depending on their preference.
The customer should be able to complete the entire sales process from one digital channel, with the agent still on the phone to guide them. No scanning, faxing, or bouncing between touchpoints should be required at the moment of truth.
6. Schedule time for customer retention.After prospects become customers, there sometimes can be a tendency to forget about them while you continue to pursue new clients and grow your business. But there are many ways of nurturing the relationship after the initial sale – and those ways don’t need to be tedious. For example, occasionally checking in on customers to make sure their policy still meets their needs, offering discounts when they become available, and cross-selling based on the customer’s individual situation are ways of maintaining the relationship.
Remember: Competition is everywhere, and customers who feel their insurer cares about them are less likely to be won over by another insurer offering a discount.
Efficiency And Customer-Centricity Go Hand In Hand
Efficiency and customer-centricity are two sides of the same coin. The more efficient the insurance sales process, the higher the customer satisfaction. And high customer satisfaction typically doesn’t exist without efficient processes in place. Better customer-facing technology combined with the human touch ensures that prospects glide through sales processes, and convert into churn-proof customers. It’s a win for everyone.