How to Deal With Humans (Customers) Who Prefer a Digital Interface to a Real Face

By | July 20, 2015

Flying drones and self-driving vehicles are being readied for everyday use — and we are not amazed. That’s because, in our industry, we focus on the practical instead of the stupefying: looking at the various ways to insure these 21st century means of transport.

One key fact is that while these machines are computer driven, they lack true artificial intelligence. Humans are still essential to driving their success. Ditto with growing your agency.

Humans Rule

According to Walter Issacson’s 2014 book, The Innovators [Simon & Schuster], computer engineers have worked two primary avenues: building “thoughtful” computers with artificial intelligence characteristics and those that augment human intelligence by working alongside of it.

It’s this second path, along with much collaboration, that helped to bring about today’s digital age.

Technology is our teammate in human (and sales/marketing) advancement, but it’s not cognizant enough to build an insurance operation without a guiding hand. Sure, it can accumulate and analyze data, as it runs applications and algorithms, but it can’t strategize and execute entirely on its own.

Besides, if technology, alone, could market and sell insurance as well as you do, you’d be out of a job.

Humans Hide

Face-to-face and even voice-to-voice human interaction is being supplanted by more impersonal communications. Text messages, social media, and other online interactivity are shifting communications away from flesh and blood to silicon and solder.

The essence of this is that some humans hide from direct contact and your agency has to open up a hailing channel to attract and serve the growing population that chooses to interact this way.

Humans Seek

Agencies must address this invisibility issue by first accepting the inevitability of digital dominance. As such, every survivor must employ the minimum toolset of a well-crafted mobile-friendly website (and optional mobile app) plus a strong, continuous social media presence. Still, these tech tools lack artificial intelligence and self-sufficiency. You need to prime their prospecting power with creative marketing support, both online and off.

The classic web-landing page, or mini-site, helps you accomplish this by serving as a magnetic funnel. Properly promoted, it attracts and directs leads (and other communications) to your real-time rater or to staffers who respond online. Landing pages focus on particular target markets and subgroups of prospects, appealing to their specialized interests. Create as many as you need to keep your selected pipelines flowing. And don’t forget to employ email marketing [see my Feb. 23, 2015 column for tips].

Humans Dream

It would be sweet if you could set up a mobile website, app, and social software to do all of your marketing and selling for you, then sit back and collect the commissions. It’s essentially what crucial rivals hope to do. They endeavor to commoditize insurance, starting with auto policies and advance from there, supported by massive marketing resources.

Don’t fantasize this way. Don’t expect your agency’s endless tech investment in time and treasure to do it all for you. As the real brains behind the operation, you must always be actively involved.

You are the master of your dreams. If you want to function in the digital world where a rapidly growing number of shoppers hide and tap, invest in the right tools and in the right mindset to market and sell to them. Your efforts, augmented by ever evolving technology, along with a family of supportive and competitive carriers, can challenge any rival, large or small.

Topics InsurTech Tech

About Alan L. Shulman

Alan Shulman, CPCU, is the publisher of Agency Ideas® sales and marketing newsletter (free basic subscription at He is also the author of “500 Sales Ideas for Commercial Lines Producers” among many other P&C sales resources. Email: Website: More from Alan L. Shulman

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