In early 2020, Geico and Progressive commanded 92% of the auto industry’s growth due to fast sales and adoption of a direct-to-consumer (D2C) business model, anticipating the rise of the market for quick and easy services. In some companies’ markets, there is a realization that increasing their distribution with D2C means stronger growth and lower cost of acquisition and customer satisfaction. Not all insurance markets need a D2C solution, but for carriers operating in the life, benefits, voluntary and small business markets, the rush to D2C has begun and insurers need to invest in building those capabilities.
Startups may think that adopting a new customer acquisition strategy is too difficult a task for their organization to handle, while incumbents are forced to navigate it.
However, being successful in acquiring D2C information and using it is not as difficult as it may seem. A successful D2C installation depends on the following steps:
- Having D2C experts outside the industry.
- Expanding omnichannel capabilities.
- Simplifying infrastructure through the cloud.
- Use of customer data.
- Embracing a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model while building a career.
1. The best in the whole industry
Today’s consumers want to search, browse, and purchase insurance as easily as they store home products through Amazon’s order. It’s a tall order for insurers as even the simplest terms are more complicated than dealing with online retailers. But there is much to learn from online retailers and other D2C leaders. Today’s market leaders are taking this approach by focusing on AI technology with a seemingly diverse workforce, made up of data scientists, insurance consultants, product managers, developers and more.
It’s not a rush to buy. Insurers should incorporate user experience into their design, such as easy navigation of websites and apps; omnichannel approach to answering questions but consumers prefer to engage with them. Moving technology tools to a single platform for a 360-degree customer experience enables seamless collaboration across these multiple channels.
2. Increase omnichannel capabilities
Omnichannel is an important investment for insurers, as it allows consumers to interact / act the way they want – whether via live phone, social media, web/mobile app, or other channels. Integrating automation into an omnichannel system integrates all processes, data, back-end processes, no matter what customers use. These capabilities extend beyond channel selection, channel integration and channel integration, which are common in the luxury and retail and insurance sectors.
In addition to traditional omnichannel capabilities, an interesting emerging model is the appropriate identification and conversational AI to accelerate purchasing. Here’s how it works – a potential customer browses for insurance through a mobile phone and calls to start the qualifying process. In most cases, this takes too much time for customers and existing support staff. The buyer has to wait for pre-qualification and may cancel due to impatience. A live agent’s time is wasted retrieving all of the customer’s previous online transactions.
Companies need to monitor all customer contact points across all systems to ensure that data reflects where they are and where they shop. Using conversational AI and natural language, chatbots can guide customers through a no-wait, seamless process from initial contact to sales, qualifying prospects to orders in less than a minute. Any high-profile cases that require a live agent have their own history to avoid backlogs.
3. Go to the cloud
Beware of fragmented efforts and unnecessary complexity when building/expanding your D2C infrastructure. The best way to get customers a 360 view of the entire process is to bring every interaction on a single platform.
Companies that do not have infrastructure or employees with the right technical skills should look for a digital partner that can create an integrated solution, including an omnichannel platform and a team of well-trained and licensed agents. As such, this solution is highly flexible, which enables insurers to add/remove products as needed and plan to expand with new ones. Relying on an experienced third party means avoiding the cost and disruption of a DIY approach, allowing for quick integration into a secure, cloud-based environment, and enabling them to focus on creating better solutions and experiences to fit the unique needs of their customers. .
4. Embrace customer intelligence
Another important component of well-built D2C platforms is the analytics used for customer intelligence. Many D2C companies (not just insurance companies) only analyze a small segment of customers, leaving valuable information about customer behavior untapped and providing opportunities for the customer. Fortunately, advanced analytics and machine learning can make it easier to access this information.
For example, cognitive AI, which imitates human emotions to find answers, can provide feedback on recorded customer experiences to allow insurers and life support companies to better understand the pain and doubts of potential customers and find the right answers to give them the right solution.
Another advantage of relying on a third-party solution provider is that instead of risking large upfront costs, it can provide the service that is needed through the cloud, or even better, a participatory model where the bills are based on reality. business results rather than promised results. This is especially useful for advanced applications such as chatbots, which can be useless if created by inexperienced hands.
Paying only for marketing results, not content creation, makes the initial cost and ROI of D2C very low for startups and companies looking to scale quickly.
Most consumers are not experts in understanding the insurance market, and traditional carriers and platforms can be difficult for the average person to understand. As a result, they may go into the buying process under pressure or be wary of carriers. Digital solutions should not only guide consumers quickly and easily to the right products but should make the experience pleasant and easy to solve any concerns the customer may have.
The easier and more enjoyable an insurer can make purchases, the more the investment in D2C technology will pay off.