Businesses are struggling more than ever to foster customer loyalty. Today’s customers are more likely to look for new vendors or providers following a poor experience with the company. Customers have a low threshold for frustration, and service issues such as long hold times, agents lacking knowledgeability, or unresolved problems are more than enough to erode their faith in the organization.
While numerous factors contribute to the customer experience, two play the most prominent roles: personalization and convenience. Customers expect a personalized experience. Personalization has become essential for businesses to thrive, as 86% of customers report that personalization influences their buying habits and 25% indicate that personalization plays a critical role in driving their purchases.
Convenience is just as crucial. Customers no longer limit their comparisons to industry competitors. Businesses must now compete against tech and ecommerce giants like Apple and Amazon. These organizations set a standard of service delivery that customers expect from all the companies they do business with.
Text message communication combines personalization with convenience. Text message communication channels can improve the customer experience in several ways:
- Builds trust with helpful engagement. Customers have little patience when waiting for an update on their inquiry or claim. Many businesses email their customers with regular updates, but this assumes the customer has internet access to check their inbox regularly. SMS text messaging provides updates in real-time, isn’t reliant on Wi-Fi, and removes the inconvenient necessity of constantly opening their email.
- Quickly resolves inquiries and problems. Customers expect rapid answers and solutions when they reach out to customer service. Texting is a convenient way to seek updates or request information, as customers can engage with their provider whenever and wherever they are. Texting also doesn’t tether the customer to their phone or computer while they wait on hold or in a queue.
- Improves service efficiency. Customers loathe repeating their information or inquiry. It makes the customer feel like the company doesn’t care about their problem or that they are just one file number among many. Text messages retain previous conversations so any agent can help resolve the problem, regardless of their familiarity with the situation.
- Builds an emotional connection. Text message communication is often more casual and informal than email or phone calls. Agents can establish a rapport during these conversations while providing rapid customer service.
Customers have a growing preference for text message communication. Businesses that meet their customers on their preferred communication channels have an excellent opportunity to foster customer loyalty and deliver superior service. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about implementing text messaging services.
Keeping customer churn to a minimum is an ongoing endeavor in the insurance industry. A single poor experience or negative interaction is enough for customers to look for a new provider. The cost of losing business goes well beyond product value. Finding new customers and securing their loyalty takes time and revenue. Word of mouth from dissatisfied customers can also hinder business prospects.
Engagement wasn’t a requirement prior to the rise of Fintech, Insurtech, and other technologically advanced startups. These companies radically changed customer expectations and disrupted standard business practices. Now, engaging with policyholders is a necessity to prevent customer attrition rates from spiraling.
The following are several creative ways insurers can improve customer engagement:
- Utilize social media. Social networking has come a long way since the early years of Myspace and Facebook. People have moved beyond liking photos and retweeting memes. They use these platforms to seek out recommendations, share their experiences, and purchase services. It’s not enough for insurance companies to post bland press releases or reminders about open enrollment. Insurers need to engage with customers where they congregate, and the overwhelming majority prefer digital interactions.
- Create content with a purpose. Expanding on the idea above, insurance providers can increase customer engagement by producing valuable content. Customers often try to find answers to their insurance questions themselves before reaching out to a representative. Insurers can meet this expectation by providing a knowledge bank with content that discusses common insurance misconceptions, answers frequently asked questions, or compares policy options with easy-to-digest infographics.
- Offer insurance products with built-in rewards. Health insurance products that reward customers for achieving wellness goals serve two purposes. Improving customers’ health reduces the likelihood of them falling ill or developing preventable diseases, and fewer claims reduce the financial burden placed on insurance providers. Built-in rewards also create an opportunity to engage with customers through check-ins, redeeming wellness points, and celebrating health goals. Cash prizes and premium reductions are the most popular options. However, insurance providers can offer wellness rewards on a smaller scale as well, such as providing a free gym membership.
- Personalize the insurance journey. Customers easily recognize and dismiss canned emails. They’re impersonal and do little to capture the customer’s interest. Understanding the customer is critical for personalization, as it allows insurance providers to recommend relevant products. Knowing how the customer prefers to communicate is also important, as insurance companies can use that information to start the personalization process. Insurance providers can also use this data to reach their target audience and market their products more effectively.
Effective customer engagement requires a multipronged approach. For example, producing valuable content is useless if customers never see it. Interacting with customers on their preferred platform improves visibility and engagement while reducing customer churn. Contact Actec to learn more about implementing new communications channels like text and chat services.
Customers contact their insurance provider through a variety of channels; however, chat support is dominating the field. In the next year, experts project that chat support will increase by 87% across all sectors. Certain industries may see even higher growth as consumer demand rises. Consumers prefer to engage via chat and text over all other digital platforms, and insurance companies can’t afford to overlook these tools.
The single greatest reason customers prefer chat interactions over email, web portals, and other digital communication channels is the convenience. However, their interests and preferences are more nuanced than that. Here are several reasons why customers prefer chat and text support:
- Instant access. Chat and text support connects the customer with an agent immediately. The customer doesn’t need to navigate an app, a convoluted phone tree, or wait 24-48 hours for an email response.
- Short wait times. Nothing is more infuriating for a customer than finally getting through to an agent just to be put on hold. Customers have a low threshold for frustration, and chat and text support circumvent this by providing fast service.
- Historical data. Recording a call for quality assurance is great in theory, but it’s tedious in practice. Agents or managers have to listen to the call or rely on voice translators to find the information they need. With text and chat, the data is easy to find with a simple search.
- Fast resolutions. Customers usually contact customer service when they have a problem. They expect rapid solutions, which isn’t typically possible with other digital platforms like email or social media.
- Time considerate. Customers hate sitting on hold, as it takes up time they could use to complete other tasks. While chat and text wait times are much shorter than other communication channels, customers can have another browser window open or return to their work while waiting for a response.
- Immediate answers for policy- or claim-related questions. Waiting on hold or going through multiple transfers to receive answers to basic questions is frustrating. Customers want instantaneous answers when they have questions about their policy or want an update on their claim, which isn’t possible without chat or text communication channels.
Meeting customer needs and expectations is critical to securing their loyalty. Providing chat and text communication allows customers to engage with their insurance provider when and how they prefer. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about implementing chat and text communication channels.
As technology evolves, customer expectations rise with it. Traditional business hours can hamstring an insurance organization, especially if their competition offers 24/7 customer support. While most organizations can’t afford around-the-clock customer service agents, offering text and chat support is an affordable alternative.
Here are a few ways text and chat support improve the customer’s experience:
- Availability when customers need it most. Accidents and losses can happen at any time, with many occurring outside the typical nine to five operating hours. Most insurance customers want to start the first notice of loss (FNOL) process right after the incident occurs. If the insured has to wait the entire weekend to begin their claim, they’ll be in a state of high stress and agitation by the time they reach an agent. Offering text and chat support allows the customer to start the claim process, receive answers for their coverage and policy questions, and keep them up to date on their claim as it progresses.
- Less frustration. Customers hate calling customer service and encountering a pre-programmed phone tree. When customers experience a loss, they don’t want to navigate a convoluted voice response system to reach their destination. While text and chat services operate in a similar routing method, they can react to customer responses. Whether answering questions about policies, offering solutions based on historical data, or asking for clarification, text and chat services aren’t limited to the rigid structure of a phone tree.
- Better information intake. Filling out a long form is the last thing a customer wants to do after experiencing a loss. Text and chat support can ask questions to obtain the information necessary to start the claim. Answering one question at a time is less daunting than a form littered with fields. These services can even autofill known answers, such as the insured’s name and address, to save time.
- Superior service. Text and chat support help expedite the claim process, but they can improve the customer experience in other ways too. Insureds don’t know the nuances of the industry and may have coverage gaps without knowing it. Text and chat services can answer their questions about policy and coverage options while also making recommendations for compatible products. For example, many insureds don’t realize their homeowners’ or renters’ insurance doesn’t cover expensive items like engagement rings. If a customer asks about adding a spouse to their policy, text and chat support can inquire about their valuable personal property as well to ensure they have the coverage they need.
Text and chat services are transforming how insurance companies interact with their customers. Providing these additional communication channels eliminates pain points and provides a better customer experience. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about implementing text and chat services.
As technology advances, insurance providers need to pivot to keep up with shifting customer expectations. Insurers must remain relevant and innovative, as customer loyalty is a fickle thing in the insurance industry. A single bad customer service experience or technology frustration can nudge long-time customers to explore their options.
New Technology Needs
Providing superior service and support requires a modern, multi-pronged approach. For example, if the primary form of communicating with customers is email, the provider isn’t likely to see significant engagement. Even social media has its limits due to filters, oversaturation, and algorithms. While email and social media marketing are still relevant, text messaging has better potential for niche marketing.
Insurance providers that expand their communication channels to include texting can add value to their services, products, and more for their customers. The following are some of the ways insurance companies can use texting:
- Appointment reminders. The claims process is hectic and hard to understand for those outside of the industry. Policyholders are under an unusual degree of stress following a loss, and they may forget when the appraiser is supposed to arrive, where they’re supposed to take their vehicle, etc. With texting, insurance companies can send reminders to help insureds keep track of everything they need to know about their upcoming appointments. This eases stress, reduces missed appointments, and provides a personalized touch.
- Marketing analytics can provide lucrative insight into policyholders’ purchasing behavior. For instance, many insureds bundle their home and auto policies for a discount. The data may show this demographic often needs special coverage for valuable personal property. While homeowners’ insurance has some coverage for jewelry, it often has a cap that may not provide full coverage. Sending a text message about valuable personal property insurance to protect the loss or theft of an engagement ring can bring in more business than an email would likely achieve. Automating text messages to trigger based on new policies can deliver the information in a timely manner when the insured still has their policy information fresh in their minds.
- Claim updates. The claims process isn’t always clear to policyholders, which can leave them frustrated and uncertain. While a mobile app can provide this information as well, it’s better customer service to alert the policyholder that the update exists. If the customer knows their insurance company will keep them up to date, it eliminates the need to frequently check an app or make a phone call through a convoluted phone tree.
- Other important updates. Insurance companies can send out reminders and alerts to help customers avoid a lapse in coverage, to notify them of coverage gaps, or to inquire about irregularities in their policies (e.g., unusually high or low deductibles that can affect their finances).
- Save money. If a significant weather event is approaching, insurance companies can text helpful information to policyholders to mitigate damages and losses. They can also send out guidelines on what to do following a loss from a covered event to reduce the severity of the damage (e.g., how to prevent flood damage from worsening).
Text messaging can give insurance companies an edge over the competition by providing personalized service, superior support, and timely product recommendations. To learn more about the benefits of text and chat support for your insurance company, contact the experts at Actec.