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Elevating experience: Lessons from insurance

Which topic sends more people scurrying for the exits: Taxes, lawn care — or insurance? Now, those of you in and around the insurance sector know it to be a challenging, fascinating industry.

Consider this discussion a thought-starter for a conversation about how we can help you move your insurance offering toward extraordinary brand experiences and ever-greater success.

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Elevating experience: Lessons from insurance

  1. 1. Which topic sends more people scurrying for the exits: Taxes, lawn care — or insurance? Now, those of you in and around the insurance sector know it to be a challenging, fascinating industry. For your target consumers, however, dread is the most common reaction to dealing with insurance companies. Allowing fear, confusion and resentment to reign supreme over your customer’s experience is no way to grow a business, let alone generate brand loyalty. Here’s the good news: It doesn’t have to be this way. We at Jack Morton believe there is massive upside awaiting insurance companies who commit to elevating the experience of every aspect of the customer journey – offering the right information, at the right moments, in the right ways to seamlessly meet customer needs today and throughout their changing life stages. Today’s proactive insurance executives are asking themselves: • Is our customer’s digital experience 100% optimal? Simple, clear, on-demand, customizable and built to nurture long-term relationships, especially with millennials? • How are we demystifying insurance for the public? What’s our content marketing strategy? Where are our Buzzfeed-style listicles, infographics and games that empower customers through better understanding of their options and the ramifications of various choices? • Do our employees know how to bring real value to every customer interaction? Are they acting as helpful partners and guides or as by-the-book bureaucrats? Let’s take a closer look at why meeting these challenges is so pivotal to your company’s prospects and explore some ideas for leading the charge for change. Consider this discussion a thought-starter for a conversation about how we can help you move your insurance offering toward extraordinary brand experiences and ever-greater success. Elevating experience: Lessons from insurance Contributors: Jon Paul Potts and Peter Sun
  2. 2. Be great online (or be spurned) Digital isn’t a communications distribution channel; it’s the bloodstream of your business. • Over 80% of people first research their insurance options online. • 72% review online ratings and gauge their social network’s opinion of insurers. • With millennials, these percentages approach 100%. Your customers are always connected. But does your digi- tal experience connect them with the tools and information they need, when and how they need it? Too many companies have legacy websites, built for desk- tops and functioning like repurposed brochures: Text-heavy, one-size-fits-all, multiple-click mazes that alienate rather than embrace customers. A recent U.S. survey found that only 31% of consumers think it’s easy to find information on their health insurer’s site. Your consumers are living online, mostly through their mobile devices. Demonstrate your care and com- mitment by reaching them where they are and respecting their needs: • Providing easy-to-use digital tools optimized for mobile (e.g. enabling auto claims filing via smartphone photos) can mean the difference between surviving and thriving in this era of high expectations and low patience. • Offering more video and concise, image-rich edutain- ment across digital marketing and social media can boost your organic web traffic from search engines by up to 157%. • Being open to direct dialogue with consumers via so- cial media shows transparency and helpfulness while delivering valuable data and insights. Takeaway Improving your customer’s digital journey should be a top priority. Straightforward, frictionless brand experiences boost your reputation and revenues.
  3. 3. One of the latest digital outreach strategies is harnessing the power of games to inspire and engage customers, uncover their preferences and establish a trajectory for addressing their future needs – setting up the insurer to deliver superior service throughout the customer’s lifetime. In our experience, the most effective games leverage people’s natural desire to achieve recognition and to “win.” They must be fun, motivating and offer both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. The first generation of adopters has shown gamification’s potent utility: • To help reduce accidents and claims, Arbella Insurance created a highly successful driving simulation and online companion experience called “Distractology”. Aimed at new teen drivers, it teaches the risks of distracted driving and rewards game- completing teens with gas cards and eligibility for potential insurance discounts. • To motivate portfolio evaluation and increased coverage, a Canadian insurer engaged customers through a gamified app requiring players to demon- strate knowledge of investment and retirement plan- ning principles. • To improve patient compliance and outcomes, Cigna deployed gamification for behavior modification with its Re-Mission app. The game challenged and motivated young cancer patients to stick with their treatment regimens. • To save nearly $20 million through efficiency gains, a U.S. insurer applied gamification to its claim scheduling process, rewarding employees for submit- ting innovative solutions to common problems. Gamification game-changers Takeaway Games win with customers while removing communication barriers, motivating constructive action and reducing costs. Consider using a gamification lens to frame moments concerning incentives, choice-making and behavior-modification.
  4. 4. Disclosing information isn’t the same as informing people. Between the multiplicity of choices and the proliferation of fine print, is it any wonder consumers race to complete their mandatory insurance tasks and avoid thinking about it again until it’s time to battle through a claim or renew a policy? What if insurers took a more empathic path? What if consumers received regular, personalized communications that helped them make smart choices not only about insurance, but also about achieving their goals at each stage of their lives? Too often, content marketing gets short shrift as com- panies put their dollars behind TV commercials and other traditional campaigns. Problem is: your biggest, most important customer base – millennials – has abandoned mass media in favor of on-demand entertainment and social media. Connecting with today’s customers requires cultivat- ing an on-going, helpful dialogue that plays to these customized, on-demand experiences. A few tips: • Segment audiences – and content – to precise cohorts. Make use of the abundant data resources available to hyper-customize both your message and its distribution. • Similarly, get closer to your customer with every interaction. Snap polls, inclusion of “desires and goals” questions within purchasing forms and check-in calls from agents all build ever-more-refined databases for better CRM results. • Bring your customers surprising nuggets of useful info. “Did You Know” factoids help them understand coverage options, risks and rewards. • Tell more stories visually with infographics, photos and punchy lists. • Make your content super-sharable. People want to be known as the “in-the-know” person. Help them by offering up the kind of content they want to share with friends – thought-provoking, funny, illuminating content. Feed the knowledge need Takeaway Concise, helpful, hyper-targeted content mar- keting – grounded in empathy – can serve as guardrails that prevent customers from falling off the journey’s path. This reduces leakage while building trusted, long-term relationships.
  5. 5. Upgrading your digital touchpoints and content marketing is one half of the experience-improvement story; the other is improving the performance of your people. According to a recent survey of current insurance custom- ers, 60% say they perceive “no value” from their insurance agent or representative. Ouch. Now, rather than parsing theories about why that is, let’s get busy fixing this unsustainable situation. At Jack Morton, we talk about the importance of building your brand from the inside out. That process starts with some basic questions: • Do your employees understand not only WHAT they’re doing, but WHY it’s important to customers and the business? • What kind of differentiating experience are you seeking to provide customers? Does every employee – from the C-suite to the intern pool – understand her/his role in providing that optimal experience? • Is your workforce well-educated? Ready to talk about complex financial products in an accessible way to hyper-connected, digital-centric consumers? • Do your people and your technology systems comple- ment each other? • Do your people have permission (and management’s encouragement) to deliver what individual customers need, not just what the manual says? Your people, your advantage
  6. 6. Top-notch recruitment, training and support are all key components to building a better workforce. But there’s a cultural, emotional element that’s perhaps even more important. People need a sense of mission, a feeling that they are contributing to something meaningful. • USAA, provider of financial products and insurance to almost 11 million customers, is a great example. USAA has created a “culture of nobility,” where employees are reminded every day that their work has value because of the valiant people they serve: military per- sonnel and their families. The $21 billion company with 26,267 employees also looks after its own, offering accredited childcare centers and other benefits which earned the firm a place on Fortune’s “Best Places to Work.” How your diverse employees and independent agents see themselves and their work is crucial to your success. How much more energizing and powerful would it be to have – instead of identifying as a particular job title – people committed to the role of partner and guide for customers? Ditching transactional thinking and embracing the challenge of helping people navigate the many complexities of insur- ance over a lifelong customer relationship? The answer? Seven times more, if you consider that highly loyal customers deliver 7X the lifetime customer value of a low-loyalty one, and 3X that of a value-neutral customer. Seven. Takeaway To gain a competitive advantage that only increases over time, invest in your people. Help them appreciate how and why their work matters. And empower them to serve as the partners and guides customers need to successfully navigate appropriate choices for each life stage and aim.
  7. 7. Insurance is a mysterious realm for most consumers, an utterly intangible product. Only when calamity strikes does insurance become real, and often really confusing. Even at the front-end of the policy journey – evaluation and purchase – it’s almost impossible to compare products on an apples-to-apples basis; so voluminous are the possible policy variables. This situation offers a huge business opportunity for any insurer who decides to step up and simplify the experience. As the book SIMPLE says: Simplification provides significant business benefits in the form of cost savings, better client retention, enhanced employee efficiency and competitive advantage for first movers… Simplicity is the essence of the golden rule. Everyone wants to understand what is being offered or expected of them, and simplicity helps make that clear. It closes the distance between people. Some simplifying starters: • Use plain, jargon-free language in brief, easy-to- understand sentences. • Reduce product assortment to manageable levels of options. • Deploy digital tools (e.g. diagnostic quizzes) that help customers self-sort information and maximize relevant communication. Getting simple isn’t easy. And it’s extremely difficult for internal teams to achieve. Insider familiarity breeds blindness to complexity. Bringing fresh, impartial eyes to your simplification efforts speeds you toward productive, customer-centric strategies and communications. Simple is smart business Takeaway Simplify.
  8. 8. Consumer attitudes toward insurance compa- nies won’t change overnight. But leaders who commit to elevating every aspect of every cus- tomer’s journey will change the industry – and their bottom lines – for the better. We at Jack Morton welcome the opportunity to be your partner in this challenging, rewarding endeavor. Let’s start a conversation about how to move your business toward an extraordinary brand experience and ever-better results. Acting now Let’s talk. Contact Peter Sun VP, Brand Marketing 212.401.7015 Follow us Linkedin Twitter Facebook