The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is always the talk of the town this time of year. CES has become the center stage for introducing new vehicles and auto technology to the world (and Nuance’s Dragon Drive is front and center, as it enables many of the world’s leading car brands to turn their offerings into integrated, connected automotive experiences). With auto innovation evolving quickly, there’s ample new car technology to wow and impress. But the one constant you’ll still need – no matter what cool gadgets you embrace – is car insurance.
J.D. Power’s most recent US Insurance Shopping Study confirmed what many of us expected – more consumers are shopping for insurance coverage than in the past. And, of course, this creates threats, opportunities and implications for how insurers need to service their customers and prospects.
This study focused specifically on auto insurance customers, tracking both shopping and switching rates – and, effectively, conversion or closing rates. Importantly, the study found an increase of 22 percent in the number of customers shopping for a new insurer from 2013 to 2014.
J.D. Power’s recommendations to consumers should trigger some self-evaluation by insurers. To paraphrase, J.D. Powers says consumers should look for insurers that provide clear guidance about policy options, selection criteria and pricing – whether through live agents or a website.
So, how clear is your organization being on its website? Remember, this is the front door to your company – are you providing decision tools that shoppers can use to select you? Are they able to get assistance on the website without calling in to your contact center, either through live chat or a virtual assistant?
The goal should not only be to provide shoppers with clear information around policy options, pricing and different features, but also to efficiently guide them to these self-service solutions. This is an area where online virtual assistants can aid a great deal, automatically responding to questions from consumers with quick, appropriate answers.
A few quick tips for meeting consumer expectations and enticing new customers with low cost self-service solutions include:
- Add a conversational virtual assistant to your web site. Through a virtual assistant, you can enable automated two-way dialog with consumers and guide them to the information they’re looking for, as well as the application process.
- Make your IVR easy to use. When customers pick up the phone with specific questions, provide an effortless experience with well-designed call steering and natural language understanding.
- Be proactive. Make sure you have the ability to reach out to customers who start applying but abandon the process somewhere along the way. CitiMortgage used proactive engagement to reach 80 percent of prospects within minutes, doubling the conversion rate of first time attempts, leading to an increase in customer growth.
Remember, evolution can be a great opportunity. The insurers that capitalize on this emerging era of annual policy shopping with efficient and effective self-service tools will end up on top of the satisfaction ratings, as insurers like Erie, USAA, Ameriprise and The Hartford did.