This post is part of a series sponsored by ITC (Insurance Technologies Corporation).
What drives consumers to buy from and recommend certain companies? There are a few factors, but the biggest reason is how easy it is to research and buy what they’re looking for. This isn’t just speculation. A survey from 2012 showed this consumer behavior is real.
Consumers want simplicity. Consider the largest online retailer, Amazon.
It is easy to use the Amazon website to order whatever you need to and ship it directly to your house or office. It’s even easier to use the mobile app. You can pull out your phone whenever you think of something you need and add it to your cart.
Now Amazon has taken it a step further with the Amazon Echo and Alexa. You just say what it is you want to order.
Amazon continues to look for where the friction is in the consumer buying process and find ways to make it better.
Consumers want a process this easy from every company they buy from.
Consumers Have Control
From the beginning days of insurance, agents controlled the buying process. It was only through an agent that you could get the insurance coverage needed.
No longer. Between companies like Amazon determined to simplify and our increasing use of technology, consumer expectations have changed.
How have consumers taken control of the insurance buying process? By choosing options that are easy. Now, consumers have more choices and more sources to get insurance than ever before.
There is a gap in the insurance industry because the industry has not always kept the same pace as consumers in adopting technology. There are companies trying to fill this gap because they recognize that consumers now have control. This insurtech movement is not slowing down.
Meeting or exceeding a consumer’s expectations is not enough to win loyalty. You have to provide such great service that it takes minimal effort to buy from you.
An unnecessarily difficult buying process will kill a consumer’s experience with your agency.
Are You Easy to Work With?
It’s tempting to assume you’re easy to work with. But, do you really know? What if your assumptions don’t line up with what a consumer actually experiences?
Try to not think like an agent. Secret shop your agency to experience what a consumer does. You can also ask someone you trust to do it for you.
- Do an online search for your main line of business and your town. Where does your insurance agency website appear in the results? Is it displaying the correct information? If you answered no to either question, you need to optimize your website better. There are many search engine optimization resources available, like this guide, as well as experts who can help.
- Check out your website. Consider your website from a consumer’s point of view. Is it obvious where to request a quote? Is it clear how to contact you with questions? Is there more than one way to contact your agency? Are you providing answers and helpful information on your website? Is your website easy to use on all devices, including smartphones?
- Request a quote. Was it time consuming and difficult? How long did it take to get a response? If you provide online comparative rates, how quickly did you get a rate and what was that process like? Fill out a contact form. How quickly do you get a response? What was the response?
- Call your agency. Did someone pick up right away? Or, do you have to navigate a phone menu? How easy is it to get a person on the phone? How long did you have to wait? When a person did come on the phone, were they friendly and helpful?
Think of all the ways and methods you interact with clients. Approach it like Amazon.
Look at everything you do, and ask yourself: How can I make this easier for my clients?
What You Can Do
When you put clients first, you get more loyalty, more referrals, and more business. Think about Amazon, or really any company with a reputation of great products and service. They got there by focusing on consumers and making every part of the buying process as easy as they could.
Here are some ways you can stand out by making it easy for consumers to choose you.
- Check your technology. If you don’t have the right insurance agency software, find what you need to improve your agency. Use good technology and processes. Train your staff to use the software and follow processes properly. Make full use of your technology. Understand what your systems are capable of and use those features. Monitor and measure your agency’s performance.
- Be where consumers are. 85 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. If you don’t have a website, get one. If it’s been a few years, it’s time for a refresh. Also, make sure your website is mobile friendly. You want your website to look great no matter what device a consumer is using. Go beyond the website. However a client wants to engage with you, that’s where you need to be. That can include social media and email
- Provide great service. Respond quickly to questions or requests for a quote. Follow through on what you say you’ll do.
- Ask for feedback. Survey your clients to find out what they think of your agency and service. Listen to what they have to say. What do they say would make it easier?
- Review your processes. Where are you making it more difficult for consumers? Remove any unnecessary hoops they have to jump through. Simplify.
Those who make it easy for consumers will win the opportunities. Competition is only growing. If you want to stand out and grow, make it easy for consumers, and they will choose you.