Traditional insurance companies often have a harder time creating omnichannel customer experiences than other financial services providers do. For one thing, their structure is more complex – they tend to have a robust network of brokers and agents selling to both companies and individuals. For another, their infrastructure frequently lags behind their marketing and technology needs, and it’s expensive to update it. Their organizations may be internally siloed and organized around products, not around what their customers need.
But here’s the reality: If you don’t do omnichannel marketing, your business is going to get a whole lot harder.
Insurance marketers are at a critical juncture. The traditional sales funnel, which has been so successful in the past, is gone forever. No longer can we engage prospective buyers on our terms.
Insurance customers today have virtually unlimited access to information via the Internet. They can research rates, policy types and read reviews in a variety of channels and across dozens of touch points. It’s nearly impossible to gauge where they’ll enter the sales cycle and which path they’ll subsequently take.
These customers use multiple channels and they expect their experiences across those channels to be consistent. From completing an application to checking their policy online to talking with a call center rep to working with their agent to filing a claim, the customer experience must be consistent and consistently differentiating.
We’re all living in a digital world
We see online providers like Progressive, GEICO and Esurance growing rapidly. Some of these companies aren’t saddled with legacy systems and have been able to ramp up quickly, offering consumers greater speed and convenience at a lower cost. The competition is tougher than ever, and consumers are engaging with these companies in different ways – for example, via mobile devices. They’re using apps, hashtags and social media to share their experiences about you, both good and bad.
This trend is only going to continue.
Here’s the good news: Although there’s a lot of noise out there about insurers who can provide the “ultimate buying experience,” few have actually caught up with the rapidly changing consumer behaviors. That points to opportunity. If you want to see who’s setting the standard, look to industries like travel, banking and retail.
The fact is, any insurer who chooses to pretend that we’re not in an era of digital disruption, or who chooses to stumble through the transition to an omnichannel model, will lose market share, experience increased attrition and remain saddled with high costs.
Those who lead or who follow quickly will win and be rewarded with a stronger brand, more satisfied customers, new revenue opportunities, and more profit through increased cross-sell, faster processes and a lower cost of service.
For insurance marketers, the time to act is now.
Mike Osborn | Managing Director
Mike founded Catalyst with Jeff Cleary in 1990. He served on the Direct Marketing Association’s Agency Council Strategic Advisory Committee and has been an ECHO Award judge. He has served on the boards of the Advertising Council of Rochester, Compeer and Mary Cariola Children’s Center.