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The Pandemic Changed Digital Insurance Customer Expectations – How Your Agency Should Change, Too

The Pandemic Changed Digital Insurance Customer Expectations – How Your Agency Should Change, Too

The coronavirus pandemic accelerated trends in several areas, including digital insurance customer service. A recent survey showed that almost 90% of American consumers think customer service is more important now than before the pandemic took hold of the world.

Consumers not only expect more from service providers, they also have more options, meaning they’ll choose an agency that offers quicker and smoother interactions over one that’s, say, unable to process esignatures. As your team transitions back to the office, now is the time to reevaluate your customer service tools and processes to keep up with expectations.

1. Get more customer data

The more you know about each potential customer or group of prospects, the better. Set your agency up to gather customer data through marketing automation and record that data in an insurance CRM integrated with your agency management system.

With all your customer data in one place – your insurance CRM – producers and CSRs alike can look up a customer profile and get to know everything they can about a customer before speaking with them. The more you know, the better you can serve their needs and streamline interactions.

2. Focus on the customer

With so many choices and access to reviews, consumers can easily tell when they’re being “sold to” rather than actually helped. Use your customer data to focus on each individuals’s goals rather than your own. Train your producers to ask questions to understand what would best benefit the customer. Selling lower-priced coverage may seem like a loss in the short run, but if that’s what the customer needed to be happy, you’ve got a net positive in a life-long customer.

3. Stay in touch

You have a great deal of customer interaction leading up to signing a policy, but what about after? Take time to follow up with customers to see how things are going and if they have any new needs. If every contact isn’t about a sale, your customers are more inclined to trust you when it comes time to talk about an upsell or cross-sell opportunity. Use your insurance CRM and marketing automation to put in reminders to get in touch and automated messages to reach out regularly.

4. Be accessible in many ways

You know each customer is unique, so why don’t you offer them unique ways to get in touch? Some customers may prefer a phone call, while others want a text. Some may only look at email, while others want to talk over online chat. Whatever the way, make sure you have it as an option.

Marketing automation can let you know those preferences, tracking individual engagement with certain types of outreach, and options like integrated text and email make it easier for you to respond and capture customer data at the same time. 

5. Offer self-service

A self-service client portal is a must for the modern insurance agency. A self-service portal allows customers to access their policy, claims, and other information 24/7. During the COVID-19 lockdowns, consumers got used to self-service, and now many prefer it to get information almost instantly. With a self-service portal, customers can make payments, print ID cards, and update information without needing to call your office. That ease of use is essential.

6. Make feedback available and public

As we mentioned, online reviews play a big part in consumer choice. With so many seemingly similar insurance options, people often go to reviews to make their final decision. Make it easy for your customers to leave reviews about their experience. Ask for a review after a service call and add a link on your website and in your team’s email signatures. Check out your review pages to respond to less than stellar experiences, too. Your honestly and attempts to “make it right” go a long way.

7. Make more time for people

After lockdowns and social distancing for more than a year, people are craving more personal interactions. Structure your agency so you can give more time when needed. With a system like the Partner Platform agency management system and insurance CRM, you can automate and speed up processes thanks to real-time integrations and esignature capabilities, among other time-saving tools.

With less time spent on small tasks, you can give your time to the most important job: being there for your customers. Find out how you can give your customers back more time with a system that gives you that competitive advantage: get in touch with the Partner Platform team today.

All About the Data: Using Insurance Marketing Tools to Improve Customer Service

All About the Data: Using Insurance Marketing Tools to Improve Customer Service

Everyone loves to get two for the price of one. It’s the beauty of doubling your money and getting more done in half the time: a win-win for all. The digitization of insurance has made that “two for one” thrill possible with insurance marketing tools that double as customer service tools, too. And it all begins with data.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digitation across industries, and insurance was no exception. Part of the acceleration included a rise in direct-to-consumer (DTC) purchases. More people started buying goods and services online, cutting out in-person or phone interactions. That rise in DTC increased access to customer data.

That data is the main component to your double-dipping in marketing and customer service tools. The more data you can gain through marketing, the better you can serve customers and prospects.

 

How to Harness Data

Your customers want their interactions to be more efficient,
yet they still want the personalization they expect from an independent agency.
You want the same: faster processing with a personal touch. With proper data management, you can get both. It takes three steps:

  1. Gather customer data at every interaction point
  2. Track and analyze that data
  3. Put that data to use

Stats You Need to Know

 

Seems simple enough, right? It can be if you have the right tools at your disposal. 

The Insurance Marketing Tools You Need

Start with a robust insurance website. Your website is your digital storefront and the landing spot for every customer you serve and prospect you want to serve. Make your website count by connecting it with your agency management system to track visitors and their interactions. And, make sure it’s optimized for mobile: 63% of Google’s daily search traffic takes place on a mobile device.

 

On your agency website, you need a Client Portal. With a Client Portal, you can connect your customers directly to their policy information, including the ability to download and print insurance cards, view claims status, make payments, and do other essential services on their own. The more self-service you provide, the less time you spend on small tasks, freeing more time to focus on complex customer issues. And, you gain data on what your customers are looking for and what they value.

 

Similar to the Client Portal, you should also have an agency mobile app so your customers can access information on their mobile devices. A mobile app provides the same self-service options as your Client Portal but makes it easier to access on the go. A mobile app is essential for quality claims processing as it allows customers to take photos of accidents or damages the moment they happen.

 

Marketing automation is another critical insurance marketing and customer service tool. With marketing automation, you gain data on every customer and prospect’s digital interaction. Whether it’s filling out a web form, clicking an email link, or interacting with a social media post, data from that interaction is stored in marketing automation. You can then analyze that data to discover which communication methods and what pieces of content individuals and groups prefer. From there, you can create customer and prospect segments and send out the information they need via the modes they choose – all in one system.

 

Your final essential insurance marketing and service tool is an insurance CRM. A CRM is the center of data storage and analysis. Within your insurance CRM, you can see each prospect and customer’s digital interactions, along with their in-person and phone interactions, detailing their entire relationships with your agency. With this wealth of data, you can create customer and prospect segments and identify gaps in coverage, referral and cross-sell opportunities, and other valuable information to boost interactions and improve services.

 

Find Everything You Need in One Management System

If you think getting two for one in a single marketing and service tool is exciting, how about getting all of these valuable tools in one agency management system?

 

That’s what you can find in the Partner Platform agency management system and insurance CRM. Our cloud-based system combines all the practical management system elements with data-driven digital tools for a personalized digital experience.

 

Find out more about the advanced agency technology you can leverage to improve service and retain and grow customers. Get in touch at sales@sisware.com or 800.747.7005, Option 6 today.

Insurtech: Finding the Best Fit for Your Agency

Insurtech: Finding the Best Fit for Your Agency

This past year was one like no other. With the entire world forced to move to digital work rapidly, many industries felt growing pains and suffered from the sudden shifts. One industry that didn’t was insurtech.

The term “insurtech” applies to a variety of digital tools used in the insurance industry. Everything from a client portal to an integrated rater are insurtech. Overall, insurtech removes barriers in insurance, speeding up enrollment and claims processing, among other procedures, making it easier for agencies to grow their business and serve their customers.

Since 2015, insurtech investment has steadily increased, hitting $2.5 billion in funding in 2020. This consistent growth speaks to insurtech’s value, and individual agency successes show that insurtech works.

Given its benefits, many of our independent agencies are asking if and how they should adopt insurtech. We offer advice with the following questions.

Where are you in your tech use?

There’s no doubt insurtech can advance agency operations. But, if your agency is still using decade-old computers or in the midst of upgrading to paperless workflows among other modern systems, you should take it similarly slow in adopting new insurtech. Know your own pace and make a plan as to what you’ll adopt and when, giving your team time to adjust so you can implement new tech with fidelity.

What are your goals for insurtech?

What exactly is your agency after in investing in new tech? Do you want to address operational issues? Grow your customer base? Add value to the customer experience? What your goals are will determine what types of insurtech to add to your operations first. You should only add new technology if you have a clear plan for its use.

What insurtech do we have now? Do we need to add to it?

There are a few key insurtech items every agency should work to adopt. Those include:

  • Client portal
  • Insurance CRM
  • Marketing automation
  • Integrated email and texting

If you already utilize this tech, you can consider adding other items, depending on your specific goals and needs. Other tech to consider include:

  • VOIP phones
  • Digital payments
  • Commercial rating
  • Digital forms and eSignature

It’s up to you and your agency how to want to grow. But, pay attention to how trends move and keep a pulse on whether or not these “nice to have” items move to the “need to have” column.

What are the potential risks we need to address?

Yes, insurtech improves operations, enhances customer service, and promotes growth, but it has drawbacks. The most prominent is the increased vulnerability to cyber threats. The more you leverage digital connections, the more you expose your agency to cyber-attacks. That doesn’t mean you should write off insurtech; you simply need to ensure you have robust security measures and employee training to keep your data safe.

The other significant risk is losing personalization and the human touch your customers value. Be intentional about how you use insurtech – it can increase personalization if used correctly. Pay attention to how you’re using new technology, including training your staff on how to leverage its benefits and avoid falling into a less human-centric approach.

Who should we partner with for insurtech?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask. While the tech may sound great, if the provider isn’t willing to work with and for you it’s not worth the investment.

We work side by side with our Partner Platform agencies to determine what tech they need. Our in-house team is well versed in integrating top-of-the-line insurtech resources into our system, and we’ve partnered with our elite Partner Allies to get experts on the case.

Along with providing an integrated, best-in-class experience, we work with our agencies to ensure they have the best training and always accessible resources to keep themselves equipped to serve their customers.

Find out more about our Partner Platform system, our tech partnerships, and how we can help your agency stay connected. Get in touch at at sales@sisware.com or fill out a contact form here.

Six Ways to Keep Your Agency Secure in the Digital Insurance Age

Six Ways to Keep Your Agency Secure in the Digital Insurance Age

Approximately 43% of all cyberattacks are on small businesses, and, in 2020, 12% were attributed to finance and insurance industries. In the age of digital insurance, your independent agency is part of that vulnerable small business group. And, this threat increased since the COVID-19 pandemic: researchers report a 30% increase in cyber-security breaches since the pandemic hit.

As a particularly vulnerable industry, insurance agencies must be mindful. The volume of files processed daily and the sensitive information contained in each mean insurance agencies are increasingly at risk. Yet, KPMG found that only 43% of insurance executives said their organization was protected.

Is your agency taking cyber attacks seriously? Here are some ways you can start.

1. Provide secure infrastructure

Cloud-based systems – most notably agency management systems – are the fastest, most accessible tools. Yet, cloud-based systems are also increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats. Keep your agency safe with up-to-date hardware and secure cloud hosting. Consider using a VPN to keep information protected at all times, especially when accessing data outside the office.

2. Train and re-train your staff

Humans are by far the weakest link in cyber-safety. Shockingly, anti-virus developer McAfee found that only 30% of employees receive cybersecurity training. Without training, your staff can create multiple cyberattack vulnerabilities each day. Train employees on elements like identifying and reporting suspicious emails and test them regularly with fake attack attempts. As tech advances rapidly, so too do cyberattacks. Continually train your staff to stay up-to-date on the latest threats.

3. Use anti-virus software

While your staff may be well-trained to spot cyber attacks once they reach them, they cannot see what is going on behind the scenes. Anti-virus software can identify threats before they make it to your inbox or server, offering a sophisticated level of protection. As you keep your staff training updated, do the same with your anti-virus software. Be sure to download updates to add new protections against emerging threats.

4. Use more and complex passwords

Your agency processes sensitive information daily. Each time you access personal data, you should enter a password. The more often you require passwords to view information, the better it’s protected. Establish guidelines for these passwords, requiring them to be as complex as possible and less vulnerable to hacks. Enhance protection by requiring passwords change frequently and remind employees not to share their passwords with anyone, including their coworkers.

5. Employ back-ups

Whether it’s a cyberattack or a power outage, you need back-ups of all your agency data. If you find yourself unable to access your primary server, you want a secure back-up to rely on to keep your business moving.

6. Vet your vendors

You and your agency can do everything to combat cyberattacks, but if you partner with a company that’s vulnerable to attacks, you are, too. Work only with vendors that take cybersecurity seriously and understand how to keep their – and your – information safe. Ask questions about their cyber protections, back-ups, and disaster recovery plans. You want a partner that cares about your data just as much as you.

At Partner Platform, we value security to keep our agencies protected. And, we know enough to recognize we’re not the experts in everything: that’s why we partner with highly-vetted Partner Allies to keep us at the expert level.

On our secure, cloud-based infrastructure, we employ redundant back-ups and multi-character password protection on our host servers. We understand that cybersecurity measures change frequently, so we regularly train and test our employees on cybersecurity measures. We value providing a high-quality agency management system experience that’s also well-protected.

Want more security resources? Check out our partners at ACT. And, find out more about our other tech partnerships and get connected to see how the Partner Platform management suite can bring you speed and security. Contact us at sales@sisware.com or click here.

Digital Insurance Stats You Need to Know

Digital Insurance Stats You Need to Know

Insurance is now digital insurance. The same goes for almost every consumer sector – from banking to healthcare and beyond, most consumers are finding what they need online.

But just because people are searching for what they need online doesn’t mean they only make purchases via digital means. Customers still want that personal connection, they just want to get business done faster.

This is the conundrum of the independent insurance agency – responding quickly, yet personally, to prospects and customers. These statistics tell that story.

Stats on the Move to Digital

  • Almost 70% of consumers searched for insurance online before making a purchase
  • When they started searching, 68% of insurance consumers didn’t have a specific company in mind
  • Close to 75% of customers who attempted to make an online insurance purchase encountered problems
  • Approximately 67% of Millennials say they want digital shopping experiences
  • More than 70% of consumers aged 55 and over say they want online chats or video to replace in-office claims processing

Stats on the Desire for Personalization

  • 66% of consumers said they would share “significant data” to obtain personalized services (up 54% from two years ago)
  • Close to 50% of insurance customers said they’d trust a human advisor over an automated chatbot or web system when making a claim
  • 88% of insurance customers demanded additional personalization, such as personalized call experiences
  • After running an online search, 78% of consumers call a business to make a purchase

Sources: LSA, Accenture Insurance Blog, Accenture

What Does This Mean for Your Agency?

If you’re like most independent agencies, you’ve got personalization down. How can you improve your speed of response and ease of access?

Look into how to integrate your systems, like your email and phone, among others, into your agency management system. Improve information flow with digital document storage and a CRM system to hold customer and prospect information. And improve your website with a simple, branded, easy-to-navigate site and an integrated client portal to streamline customer service access.

Each of these innovations can upgrade your internal processes, increasing your customer response times and bringing high-quality service to prospects and customers quickly and efficiently.

See how you can find all these tools in one intuitive management system: get in touch with us at 800-747-7005, option 6, or at sales@sisware.com.