Are Prospective Customers Important?

Don’t Let Your Online Insurance Sales Process Turn Consumers Away!

 

It’s no secret that insurance companies are struggling with growth and customer retention in today’s economy.  And while it’s important to provide excellent customer service once a claim occurs, it’s equally important to provide stellar sales service to attract new customers.

Beyond competitive pricing, consumers want to know that they will receive timely service via the communications channel of their choice, 24/7. This starts the minute a consumer begins looking for a policy. Interestingly, despite the influx of insurance companies now doing business on the Internet, many are fraught with sales processes that turn consumers away.

As a former contact center technologist for an insurance company, I’m all too familiar with these challenges. This point was most recently driven home to me, however, as a consumer in search of a renters’ policy.

I began my search by contacting a handful of sites that provided free insurance quotes. I researched their coverage, filled out their applications, and hit submit, expecting to have an array of quotes in my hands within seconds.

To my dismay, I received only two immediate quotes. The other eight companies emailed me saying that someone would be contacting me shortly to discuss my quote. Over the next week I was inundated with phone calls and emails from various insurance companies to walk me through their entire product lines. One of the companies that provided me with a quote online called to let me know that it had given me a wrong quote. When I did finally select a policy (from the company, by the way, that sent me an instant, accurate online quote), I still had to wait for the sales agent to bring the document to my house to sign.

Needless to say, contrary to my expectation, selecting an insurance policy online was not fast, effective, or pleasant.

So what’s the moral of this story? There is a huge opportunity here for insurance companies to attract customers by providing a superior online sales experience. Here are a few guidelines for doing so:

–          Provide immediate, accurate information — Use a communications platform that enables you to integrate your backend solutions so you can provide immediate and accurate information to prospects. 

–          Enable consumers to make purchases online — A communications platform that uses workflow technology can route, monitor, and track interactions across departments, thus enabling the right people to quickly assist prospects throughout the entire sales process, while at the same time providing you with the metrics you need to measure success!

–          Provide multichannel communications options — A communications platform that has an online knowledge management application and provides multiple modes of contact — web chat, email, fax and phone — will give prospects the right combination of self-service and live agent assistance, which will significantly increase the odds of a purchase decision.

By following these guidelines, insurance companies can provide the kind of total, online self-service experience that, unfortunately, recently eluded me — one that enables consumers to research policy features, file an application, receive a quote, and secure a policy, all in a timely fashion and with the opportunity at any time to get questions answered by phone, email, or Web chat.

Have other guidelines for helping to make the online insurance sales experience faster and more effective? I’d love to hear them so please feel free to respond and share your thoughts.

Thanks for reading,

Janet Thalacker

Inside Sales Consultant, Insurance Practice

Interactive Intelligence

Janet Thalacker

Janet Thalacker

I am currently a strategic business consultant for Interactive Intelligence. My role is to review an organization’s business practices and tools, to promote the awareness of new technologies, and demonstrate how new functionality, processes, and applications could increase customer satisfaction and employee productivity. My career path includes over 20 years of experience working for a Fortune 500 insurance company. My experience includes work with automatic call distribution (ACD), self-service applications, quality monitoring, workforce management, multi-channel communications platforms, knowledge management, and contact management. I am a very passionate person, enjoy what I do, and am motivated to help others and make a difference in my work and in my personal life. I enjoy music, reading, good friends and laughter. I value my family and friends, and cherish time with them.