The insurance customer's journey typically started with a phone call or a meeting with a representative. Over the last decade, this has changed immensely: Now the first step is a search engine or a visit to a company's website. However, in many cases, the companies haven't been prepared to answer their customers' questions online.
Now more than ever, the ability to communicate and connect underpins everything a company does. Further, the global pandemic has caused the digital transformation to accelerate at warp speed. And this isn't a fad: This change is lasting and will continue to influence purchasing decisions indefinitely.
With this in mind, executives met at the Digital Future of Insurance conference looking for innovative solutions. While many topics were discussed, one thing was clear: Rapid digital transformation is critical not only to survive, but to thrive in this ever-changing environment. Read on for top takeaways from the week-long conference.
1. Business strategy must align with the digital modernization of the customer journey
Digital transformation was already happening, but COVID made it a necessity. In the age of Google and Amazon, consumers have expectations about how quickly they should be able to find answers to their questions — and they expect to be able to find them without having to pick up a phone. The buying experience for the customer must be completely transformed for modern customers who expect an efficient, speedy, and easy process.
The best place to start? Your own website. According to research from LIMRA, more than half of Americans would purchase more insurance if the online purchasing process were made easier. 58% reported wanting "transparent explanations of risks and pricing" and 66% reported "fast and easy" as a top purchasing indicator. Make it easier for them to solve their problems via your website by elevating access to information through FAQs and site search to improve self-service options.
2. The goal is to make sure customers are served well — from anywhere
Virgil Miller, COO of Aflac Group, summed up the challenge of 2020 by saying that Aflac "needed to allow customers to sit in their homes and get the same customer service they would from being in-person" and that Aflac needed to reevaluate the digital channels to "design for the customer." For Aflac, this meant looking at the entire customer experience — from search to social to their own website — to find the gaps, then fill them with technology that helped the consumer.
With 69%of insurance customers beginning their purchase journey with a search, and a 50% spike in insurance search terms in 2020, it is imperative companies are able to meet customers at their moments of intent and lead them through the purchase process. Whether at home or in-person, the adoption of online purchasing and the availability of information means companies need to make sure that answers are readily available for any person looking for one.
3. Prioritize the moments of impact
Have you taken time to sit down and go through the process your consumer would go through to find answers and make a purchase? If not, this could be a crucial missing piece to your digital strategy. During the conference, we heard several leaders discuss the frustrations, roadblocks, and wrong answers they received when trying to search their own sites or make a purchase via their own platforms.
Your website is the first impression, so you'll want to make sure it provides all of the relevant information customers need and can seamlessly lead them through the discovery process and ultimately lead them to purchase. Take a walk in your customers' shoes and prioritize optimization of all the moments of impact from FAQs and site search to final purchase.
Consumers want answers to their questions quickly and efficiently. As we continue to adapt to customer expectations, your website is your strongest asset. Make it work for you to create easy, frustration-free, tailored experiences for your customers.
Want to learn more about seamless site search and how it's already helping insurance companies? Tune into our upcoming webinar.