The pandemic has profoundly affected the way insurance companies operate. Previously, insurance agents were accustomed to interacting with prospects in person, but now, with social distancing a norm, all customer communication must be done over audio or video calls.
To address these challenges, insurers need to streamline their communication processes, build customer relationships remotely, and adapt to the situation in order to maintain a competitive edge.
According to McKinsey’s January 2020 US Agent survey, about 90 percent of life insurance agents’ sales conversations and nearly 70 percent of their ongoing client conversations were conducted in person.
Hurdles in effective customer communication
Insurance agents handle multiple processes, including administering existing policies, sharing instant quotes, selling and renewing policies, and addressing customer enquiries.
Recently, the mass shift to remote working has completely changed the way agents interact with customers, especially since they have historically relied on face-to-face sales and servicing. Additionally, obsolete legacy systems are unable to support modern communications.
Siloed processes and disjointed communication across departments is affecting agents’ abilities to access contextual information, collaborate smoothly, and as a result, provide speedy customer service.
Four tips to improve communication and collaboration
Insurance agents now have an opportunity to transform their digital services in response to changing customer and business needs. Insurers must collaborate remotely and deliver relevant communications through their customers’ preferred channels to improve customer retention. This can be done by:
1. Leveraging tools for remote working
In order to provide uninterrupted services to customers, insurance agents must leverage video conferencing and web meeting tools to effectively communicate with customers. They can also use alternative means, such as e-signature solutions and online, user-friendly forms, to service policies and process claims
2. Digitising customer interactions
Customers expect a streamlined experience at every touchpoint. Insurance agents can use a wide range of technologies, such as chatbots and self-service portals, to help customers access their policy details, pay premiums, and apply for claims from any electronic device
3. Automating critical processes
Automating key insurance processes, such as customer onboarding, underwriting, policy servicing, claims processing, and customer communication, enables insurance agents to collaborate remotely, reduce process turnaround times, establish a seamless information flow, and improve customer experience
4. Establishing virtual offices with mobility
Mobile applications must be used to establish virtual offices for sales agents and allow access to information, such as new policy features, policy quotes, customer details, etc. Agents can collaborate with the central processing office to transfer information and process applications instantly
As customer expectations heighten and the insurance landscape continues to evolve, insurance agents must invest in digital tools and new-age technologies to provide uninterrupted services across all channels and devices.
Digitisation is the key to facilitating communication and collaboration between insurers, agents, brokers, stakeholders, and customers.
Right now, “going digital” is a necessity for insurers to stay relevant; in the long term, they will continue to reap the benefits of modernised processes. As organisations look to the future, streamlined communication and collaboration will be the differentiating factor to keep insurance companies on the cutting edge. And in order to stay ahead of the competition tomorrow, insurers must digitise today.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
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