Insurance companies have to deal with two “physiological” moments in their relationship with customers: Managing renewals and managing accident claims. The first is a fixed date in the insurance contract; the second is a variable which, if it happens, triggers the guarantees provided for in the policy. Both represent a critical phase in the customer relationship. Therefore, management of renewals and accident claims can become, from the insured’s point of view, an opportunity to evaluate their provider; for the company, it’s an occasion to increase engagement within an omnichannel customer experience strategy.

Today’s insurance consumer: More informed, less loyal

Given that the insured is now “on board,” most insurance companies compete on equal terms in these two moments. The lower price, which presumably was a decisive factor when the policy was taken out in the first place, is no longer the pivotal element. Customer retention mechanisms and an all-encompassing customer experience come into play. And this is where personalized communications can really make a difference.

Before the advent of the internet and social media, renewals followed a standard, almost bureaucratic procedure, so much so that efforts were concentrated mainly on winning new customers rather than on retention. The decision to go with a competitor wasn’t really analyzed, except as a marginal percentage. Also complicit in this were policies that were practically interchangeable from one provider to another.

Now, with the entry of operators who, instead of local branches, mainly operate on the web, an increasingly informed and attentive consumer has emerged, one that is becoming less and less faithful than in the past.

Infografica - Challenges and opportunities for the insurance industry

From loyalty to engagement

In the face of such a consumer, modern marketing has replaced the traditional concept of loyalty with that of engagement. Unlike its ancestor, engagement contains conceptual nuances that convey a sense of belonging and emotional involvement. That’s why, in today’s communications with customers, emotion is an essential factor for effective customer retention.

When the policy expires, it is not enough to send an email that just confirms or slightly improves upon the contractual terms. The customer must receive something that engages him. An automotive sector study found that images and videos posted on social networks increase the level of engagement with customers. In this study, videos were slightly ahead of images, also because the algorithms of platforms like Facebook tend to reward their visibility. This is an important indication for insurance renewal campaigns. By taking advantage of their in-depth knowledge of customers (the same information that they provided when taking out the policy), companies can craft personalized messages targeted to their unique requirements.

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Reassurance when an accident occurs

Some of this data can now serve as a basis for storytelling in the form of a video clip, for example. This would be similar to how Facebook proposes a montage of the photos uploaded by the user on different occasions—birthdays, friend anniversaries, etc. Although it is the result of an algorithm, it is seen as thoughtful by those who receive it. The same thing can happen on the occasion of policy-related events such as accidents.

In fact, even before dealing with all the accident claims management procedures, the customer needs someone, an ally, to reassure him. And who better than the insurance company that had promised to be there, especially in difficult times? There is even room for irony, which must obviously be calibrated to the extent of the damage suffered. A simple video reminding the customer of their policy coverage, and at the same time letting them know that their insurance company is available and attentive to their needs is a great way to strengthen the link with the brand.

Why the omnichannel customer experience is important

How you deliver the message depends on the customer’s communication preferences; usually the same channel the customer employs when he communicates with you.

The video, therefore, can be delivered by email, with a link on instant messaging apps such as Whatsapp or Telegram, through the social profile, etc.. The important thing is that it takes place from an omnichannel point of view. So, let’s talk about multi-channel customer experience. In other words, we need to make sure that the agent in charge of the account and help desk operators are aware that the insured has already received a preliminary communication immediately after the incident. This is not an obvious recommendation. 

It often happens, in fact, that the same brand uses a multi-channel approach, but without having a complete picture of the various touchpoints through which the customer can come into contact with the company. An omnichannel approach, on the other hand, places it at the center of all the channels used by the insurance company. And when something happens, such as a claim, the customer doesn’t have to repeat themselves over and over again to explain their situation on every channel. After receiving a reassuring and funny video, the customer knows that you’ve heard them and that you’re engaged on their behalf.