The Online Self-Service Guide for Property & Casualty Insurers

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With an uncertain economy, rising premiums, and plenty of insurers to choose from, consumers looking for Property and Casualty insurance are going online to comparison-shop in record numbers. Their expectations are high, their time is limited, and they will not tolerate a poor web experience.

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The Online Self-Service Guide for Property & Casualty Insurers

  1. 1. Online Self-Service Do You Have The Right Coverage? What Every Property & Casualty Insurer Must Know To Convert and Retain in the New World of Online Customer Service
  2. 2. Online Self-Service: Do You Have The Right Coverage? The Facts: A Changing Insurance Landscape With an uncertain economy, rising premiums, and plenty of insurers to choose from, consumers looking for Property and Casualty insurance are going online to comparison-shop in record numbers. Their expectations are high, their time is limited, and they will not tolerate a poor web experience. Are you ready for them? •Price is still the primary reason why consumers switch insurance providers. •But, customer experience is growing in importance and increasingly that experience begins online. •In a recent Consumer Channel Preferences study by the Temkin Group, almost 40% of respondents chose the Web as their preferred method of communication across a range of common interactions. •Yet despite the criticality of the online channel, many insurance websites still fail basic tests according to a 2012 study of the top U.S. Auto Insurers conducted by the Customer Respect Group. •Buying patterns have changed and will never return to the dominance of a local agent sitting down to explain the options. Consumers have less patience with poor websites due to a much broader experience of what is possible online. •Consumers are task-orientated. They want to get things done without unnecessary fuss, and they go to insurance websites with very specific goals. (The consumer task focus is even more finely tuned on mobile devices where quick and efficient task completion is vital). © 2013 IntelliResponse Systems Inc. 2
  3. 3. Online Self-Service: Do You Have The Right Coverage? The Challenge for Insurers •Proliferation of Online Content is Out of Control! Insurers have been adding content for years on the basis that fresh content drives web hits. However, websites have become bloated, and it has become increasingly difficult for consumers to find what their looking for from an insurer’s website. •Consumers Want to Self-Serve Online. Consumers are making the effort to go online to self-serve their problems and those decisions must be respected. When people are compelled to speak with a representative because of a site’s shortcomings, the conversation will be borne out of frustration. While there are many metrics and ratings to gauge customer satisfaction, for the consumer, the only metric that matters is whether they could complete their task. Multi-channel has arrived, whether we like it or not. A smart phone has 7 different communication methods, and the phone is only one – mobile applications, text, email, Facebook, Twitter are all examples of communications channels used each and every day by the modern consumer. “Could I Complete My Task?” The only “customer service metric” that customers care about. •Providing Content and Self-Service Options That Align with Consumer Expectations. Property and Casualty Insurers face the challenge of providing content and supporting self-service functionality to consumers in a way that aligns with what people want to get done online. The challenge is even more demanding as people increasingly use social media channels as well as mobile devices with smaller screen sizes, lower bandwidth, and limited time. 20 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds had changed auto carriers in the previous 12 months - Deloitte © 2013 IntelliResponse Systems Inc. 3
  4. 4. Online Self-Service: Do You Have The Right Coverage? What Insurance Providers Can Do Now To Improve The Online Experience – and Convert more Customers Given the importance of customer self-service, Property and Casualty Insurers need to examine their own website to avoid some fairly common mistakes and poor performance of industry websites. Below are three areas that if improved, could have a positive impact on the overall online experience for consumers: Simplify Browsing & Navigation For consumers to easily browse a website they need the support of a good navigation system. However the issue of poor navigation is almost endemic in the insurance industry according to the same 2012 study prepared by Customer Respect Group. In most cases, the problem is simply the result of most insurance websites being designed from a company-centric perspective instead of a customer-centric viewpoint. Therefore, each category makes sense from the company’s viewpoint but this rarely suits consumers. Here are a few tips that will help improve browsing and navigation: •Avoid Menu Overlap: Ensure top-level menu items are independent of the others. When these menus overlap, consumers get confused! •Aim for Clarity: On every page of the website there should be only one clear and unambiguous link to the content they need. Consumers should not have to think where to find content. •Move Consumers Toward Task Completion: Only offer content and links that take people forward in their task completion process, not sideways or backwards. Trying to link to everywhere from everywhere is an outdated concept. Complex content structures and navigation can make people feel they are in a maze. Keep people progressing along the path of their tasks. ? © 2013 IntelliResponse Systems Inc. Just answer my question! “Consumers want answers. They care little about back-end systems, which insurance department is responsible, or whether a site section is called ‘FAQs’ or ‘Insurance Tips ‘.”- Consumer Respect Group 4
  5. 5. Online Self-Service: Do You Have The Right Coverage? Get Your Content Right Content on Property and Casualty Insurer websites is generally created to address problems that are considered important by internal departments. Consumers, however do not think in the same way. They will therefore face significant problems when content is spread across different sections of sites, sometimes seemingly randomly, sometimes multiple times, and sometimes when it is completely absent. Here are a few more tips to help you in this area: •Make it Relevant: Relevant content is essential and its quality is of paramount importance. Each item has to work to earn its place on a website. •Don’t Duplicate Content: This problem is actually quite prevalent across Property & Casualty Insurer’s websites. Multiple departments see a problem as relevant and decide to address it. This creates duplicate or even triplicate versions which will cause hesitation in the minds of consumers. Can they trust the content? Each version is slightly different so which provides the correct answer to their question? * #$! •Avoid Use of Static FAQ’s: Forrester Research indicates that just 51% of consumers are ultimately satisfied when using FAQs. FAQs are used so expansively because the industry accepts—incorrectly—that they solve the problem that occurs when consumers have questions that are not addressed by answers found either by browsing or by search. Static FAQ lists often become a dumping ground for content that nobody has classified or questioned, if it is even relevant at all. •Refrain from Industry Jargon: Do not use company or industry-specific jargon. Consumers are infrequent visitors to insurance sites and it should not be assumed that they are familiar with industry terms. One simple example is that consumers have ‘accidents’ whereas insurers think of ‘claims’. © 2013 IntelliResponse Systems Inc. 5
  6. 6. Online Self-Service: Do You Have The Right Coverage? Avoid Site Search for Answering Questions Many insurers still rely on traditional site search as their primary solution for online self-service. Yet, site search is simply not effective as a tool to deliver answers. Consumers will simply find that your keyword search is more of a hindrance than a help. Below are a few points to keep in mind: •Make it Contextual: The underlying problem with site search on nearly all sites is that it is not context-relevant. The search engines takes no account of where people are and what content they are showing an interest in. Any selfservice tool should understand the context of the questions being asked. •Don’t Overwhelm: Many insurance websites today offer keyword searches that indiscriminately searches right through the whole site and through all types of content. Results will often contain hundreds of links to PDFs, documents, blog posts, and other product areas. This overwhelms the consumer, forces THEM to find the correct answers, and is thus not a good approach to offering self-service to consumers. •Self-Service Needs to Work Across All Channels: Site search was specifically built with the web interface in mind. This is most evident when attempting to self-serve from a mobile device where it’s just not practical for consumers to scroll through pages of search results to locate the correct answer. And what about other channels like social media, or even when consumers call in to speak to a live agent. Will your organization be able to deliver a consistent response to customers’ inquiries in these channels? Self-Service Needs To Be Contextual If someone were searching for coverage-related content on an auto insurance page, why would they be interested in truck insurance, life insurance, or annuity advice? Traditional site search often lacks context. © 2013 IntelliResponse Systems Inc. 6
  7. 7. Online Self-Service: Do You Have The Right Coverage? Virtual Agent Technology: Taking Online Self-Service to the Next Level The above suggestions are a great first step to help address the issue of a poor online experience for consumers. However, proactive Property and Casualty Insurers who want to take the customer experience to a whole new, and improved level, should do so with Virtual Agent technology What Exactly is a Virtual Agent? Self-service technology on websites, in the form of Virtual Agents, is evolving quickly and Property and Casualty Insurers need to adapt accordingly. Since Virtual Agents can dramatically improve the online experience for consumers, an increasingly growing number of insurers have turned to these solutions in recent years. At their core, Virtual Agents are simply software services that engage in automated conversations with consumers in self-service environments. Sometimes referred to as virtual assistants, Virtual Agents have become an effective means to get problems solved and questions answered. Virtual Agents Empower Consumers to Ask Their Questions Virtual Agents empower consumers through their journey for answers and task completion by simplifying the process of delivering information. RBC Insurance prominently features their IntelliResponse Virtual Agent on their home page. Consumers are prompted by Arbie (the persona), large text, and centered placement of the question box over the search tool, as well as the directional question inviting the user to type their question. © 2013 IntelliResponse Systems Inc. 7
  8. 8. Online Self-Service: Do You Have The Right Coverage? Receive One Right Answer Unlike site search, Virtual Agents equip an organization’s customer interaction channels with the ability to answer your customers’ natural language questions. Visitors simply ask their question and receive the one right answer, regardless of how the question was asked. Other helpful resources such as top questions and related questions are instantly provided on the same screen. From the RBC Insurance home page, once a user enters their question, they are immediately presented with the one right answer, as well as options to escalate their question to a contact center agent if they desire. While not shown here, RBC Insurance enhances the customer experience with links to contextually relevant information. Contextually Relevant and Accurate The ability to regularly and consistently deliver accurate answers to customer queries is a real benefit of any Virtual Agent deployment. The relevancy and accuracy of the information delivered to customers by the Virtual Agent is the lynchpin of the entire online customer experience. Inaccurate or irrelevant answers will truncate the engagement, in turn closing the door on conversion opportunities, ending the opportunity to collect further data from the interaction, and increasing escalation costs as customers look to other channels for resolution. Virtual Agents address this issue head on. © 2013 IntelliResponse Systems Inc. 8
  9. 9. Online Self-Service: Do You Have The Right Coverage? Extend Online Self-Service to All Customer Interaction Channels It is now imperative for Property and Casualty Insurers to offer a seamless and consistent experience in every channel, and then allow each individual customer control over when, where, and how the interaction takes place. CIBC is a global bank that uses virtual agent technology to deliver a consistent online self-service experience to customers on the iPad (pictured on the left), mobile phone (on the right) and on their customer facing website. It is now imperative for Property and Casualty Insurers to offer a seamless and consistent experience in every channel, and then allow each individual customer control over when, where, and how the interaction takes place. Online Self-Service - Any Time, Any Language, Any Place! With Virtual Agents, Property and Casualty Insurers can deliver answers 24x7, across multiple languages and geographies. © 2013 IntelliResponse Systems Inc. 9
  10. 10. Online Self-Service: Do You Have The Right Coverage? Get Started Today If you’re ready to take your organization’s online self-service to the next level, then the advice we’ve outlined in this whitepaper will be sure to get you started on the right path. These same practices have helped over 150 of our clients dramatically improve the online experience for their customers. If you’re still not sure if a Virtual Agent is right for your organization, start with an evaluation of your own website. IntelliResponse has worked with Forrester to design a vendor-agnostic analysis tool that evaluates the efficiency of your existing online customer service experience. The outcome of this analysis is an objective diagnosis of opportunities for improvement, and an actionable plan on next steps. Contact IntelliResponse to schedule a no-obligation 30-minute assessment of your website’s self-service capabilities. info@intelliresponse.com 1-866-454-0084 About IntelliResponse Systems IntelliResponse is the leading provider of virtual agent technology solutions for the enterprise. We create profitable online conversations for our private and public sector customers around the world. With our patented Enterprise Virtual Agent (EVA) solutions, corporate websites, mobile applications, social media channels and agent desktops can all be transformed by an engaging virtual concierge, empowering customers to ask questions using natural, conversational language and delivering an effective and engaging online experience. Some of the worlds most recognized corporate brands and public institutions trust their customer experience management needs to IntelliResponse including CIBC Bank, ING Direct, Charter Communications, Progress Energy, Copa Airlines, Kobo Books, Penn State University, Yale University and Harvard University. For more information about IntelliResponse, visit www.IntelliResponse.com. Twitter.com/IntelliResponse Facebook.com/IntelliResponseInc YouTube.com/IntelliResponseInc © 2013 IntelliResponse Systems Inc. To learn more about taking online self service to the next level for your customers, visit www.IntelliResponse.com. 10

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