This post is part of a series sponsored by ITC (Insurance Technologies Corporation).
Digital consumerism is a train that can’t be stopped, and in fact, the global pandemic has accelerated it. Many businesses spent months working remotely. Business owners have learned that this is a tenable option for the long term. Buyers became used to the luxury and convenience of services that can meet them where they are. Or in the case of COVID-19, where they are stuck.
Let’s talk about Amazon.
The logistics giant reported $75.5 billion in earnings in the first fiscal quarter of 2020. This may seem like an staggering number to most. However, this number actually represents a decline in profits.
From Market Watch, “Amazon (AMZN), 0.85% reported first-quarter earnings of $2.5 billion, or $5.01 a share, down from $3.56 billion, or $7.09 a share, in the year-ago period. Revenue grew to $75.5 billion from $59.7 billion in the year-ago period. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had estimated $6.23 a share and revenue of $73.7 billion on average.”
Consumers have counted on Amazon for their essentials throughout the pandemic. Products like toilet paper, masks, paper towels, and the oh-so-valuable disinfecting wipes. So, it’s easy to think Amazon would be making more money than ever.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos transitioned his focus to COVID-19-related expenditures and looking toward the future. That means keeping his employees safe and ensuring orders ship on time.
Declining profits are often viewed as a negative. However, this first quarter underperformance is actually a sign of growth. Bezos and his army of analysts understand that COVID-19 is poised to create a new level of long-term demand and usher in a heightened age of remote consumerism.
What’s important to ask is why. The obvious answer is they have created an empire capable of providing goods faster than anyone. The less obvious answer is they have changed how people think about buying products.
Bring on the micro-moment.
What’s a Micro-Moment?
Google came up with the term in 2015 and define micro-moments as the critical touchpoints within today’s consumer journey. Consumers are acting on a desire or, in their perspective, a need. These actions resemble one of these four needs:
- To learn something
- To do something
- To buy something
- To watch something
Consider these micro-moment scenarios:
Scenario 1: Want to find a movie theater near you?
- Open Google.
- Type in movie theater near me.
- Pick from any of the theaters near your saved current location.
Scenario 2: Want to watch highlights of last night’s baseball game?
- Open Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, or any social media app.
- Type in the Team A vs. Team B highlights.
Want to order groceries? Want to research that appliance you need to replace?
All these scenarios take less than ten minutes for the modern consumer. Technology has improved the customer experience and reduced our decision-making process to minutes. The expectation has been set.
Here’s a search scenario you might relate to on a more professional level.
Independent insurance agency near me. Would your agency show up in this search?
Customer Loyalty and the Impact of the Micro-Moment
What happened to customer loyalty? The simple answer: Nothing happened. Customer loyalty still exists, but it’s more complicated.
An excellent product used to be worth the wait and maybe a little extra money. Excellent service and support used to mean returning customers.
The digital marketing boom of the last two decades has created brand saturation. Building relationships is now more complex.
It’s now the task of insurance agencies to cater to consumers’ individual desires and provide an experience that makes the buying process simple.
From a J.D. Power study, “As consumers increasingly take control of the shopping process to find the value they desire, they are finding simple ways to compare carriers. Independent agents offer multiple quotes, and browser auto-fill makes gathering several online quotes a job of minutes. Choice reigns supreme, and the consumer holds the reigns.”
With that in mind, it’s critical to consider the buyer journey and how your agency can improve the shopping process for your clients.
Here’s a simplified version of the buyer journey:
Step 1: Become aware of a product
Step 2: Consider the product
Step 3: Buy the product
The buyer journey is not a straight line. It is more of a tiered, multi-variable tree chart.
Step one plays an exceedingly influential role in steps two and three. Growing product awareness can take time, especially without established, significant brand equity. Some digital marketing channels that play an important role in growing brand and product awareness are…
- Social Media Advertising
- Pay-per-click advertising
- Online reviews
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing campaigns
- Social media
Here are some statistics to consider if you’re mulling over how important the list above is to your agency’s marketing strategy.
- By 2023, the number of social network users in the U.S. is expected to reach 257.4 million. The number of global users is expected to reach almost 3.43 billion.
- Eighty-eight percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- According to a 2019 study, search traffic generated 65% of total eCommerce sessions. Thirty-three percent was generated through organic search, and 32% was generated through paid search.
Your goal is fairly straightforward. Create a consistent digital presence during the awareness stage so that your agency is considered and purchased when the micro-moment occurs. For additional information on these topics, check out ITC’s resource hub.
These digital marketing channels also help support a good experience in the micro-moment, helping you earn loyal customers.
So, How Can You Earn Customer Loyalty?
Here’s why the micro-moment is a good thing. Yes, people want what they want when they want it. But, for the most part, they don’t have a clear idea of WHOM they want it from. They turn to their smartphones for that.
Here’s another scenario.
Someone is shopping for insurance and they don’t know a single thing about it. Like many people, they find it to be a complicated subject matter. They are looking for someone to guide them through the insurance shopping process.
That someone is you.
Here are some tips to make sure your insurance agency is prepared for the micro-moment:
Focus On Consumer Experience
According to a 2019 Global Consumer Study on Insurance, 66% of consumers don’t care how you reach them. Consumers are more focused on getting their service completed quickly and easily.
This feeling is reflected in the data. A bad experience is now a reason to switch brands. Thirty-three percent of Americans would consider switching companies over just one bad customer experience.
In other words, focus on the insurance consumer experience for 2020 and beyond.
Retention rate is a key metric that defines the performance of many agencies. (Though be careful with a blanket retention rate.) So, I highly recommend an automated email platform as a way to communicate consistently with your clients. You’ll see improvement in your retention rate if you weren’t using this technology before.
According to a 2019 study, 95% of customers expect businesses to communicate proactively, not reactively. Get ahead of the customer service issues and notify your clients beforehand.
Have The Best Website You Can Have
Get the most out of your . We like to say that your website should be your best employee. It’s true.
Technology is the focal point of excellent user experiences. Insurance is a low-touch industry. This term refers to industries that only require attention yearly. Because the insurance shopping process only occurs once a year, consumers are more likely to notice a poor experience. Therefore, they are more likely to become shoppers at renewal time.
A J.D. Power study states that customers who experience poor customer service are eight times more likely to shop for new insurance. Your technology must be excellent so that your user experience is excellent. If consumers experience with your agency is excellent, you’ll be more likely to convert in those micro-moments.
Make finding out what your agency offers simple. Ensure that your clients can find what they need with ease. And if something complicated cannot be avoided, notify your clients and walk them through it.
The micro-moment is just starting, and consumer expectations are still growing every day.
The buying process should be relaxed, sleek, and easy. The insurance agency that saves their clients time will retain those clients. Being ahead of the curve can’t be understated. Observe the consumer trends, so you know what people expect from their experience with you.
With these three tips, you can insert your agency into those micro-moments and thrive in the modern consumer market.
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