What sets your agency apart from the competition? Is it having a well-known brand or product? Or is it being in the right place at the right time with the right message? The answer is neither. The primary competitive differentiator is a great consumer experience
The shopping experience has changed. Today, window shopping happens across digital channels and comparing products and prices has never been simpler.
So, what sets your agency apart from the competition? Is it having a well-known brand or product? Or is it being in the right place at the right time with the right message?
The answer is neither. The primary competitive differentiator is great consumer experience, and local agents—armed with smart information—are best positioned to deliver it.
But, before you can deliver the best experience, you need to gain a wider view of your customers.
Here are four ways to give your clients what they want:
- Create more value: Businesses with an eye on customer engagement are more focused on value creation, not revenue extraction. The key is to create an end-to-end customer experience that includes great products, personalized interaction and real-time customer support.
- Utilize data: Types of data, such as behavior and intent data, enable agents to determine when customers are in the market for insurance and further optimize the timing, content and platform used to engage prospects and clients throughout their customer journey.
- Define the ideal customer: Creating customer profiles takes time to define and, as the market evolves, must be continually refined. Just as customer behavior and intent data should influence engagement strategies, they can also help to refine ideal customer profiles.
- Deliver personalized experiences: By understanding behavior and intent, agents can deliver personalized engagement and a superior consumer experience.
Marketers must meet the consumer when and how they want to be met. And with consumer expectations hitting an all-time high, shoppers are more than willing to take their dollars to wherever that may be. Optimizing the client journey will help you retain clients, as well as realize their total value by providing more opportunities to cross-sell other products and services.
To do this, the key questions you need to answer about your clients are:
- How long does my target customer take from initial research to their final decision? Does this timeframe vary across consumer segments?
- How many unique sites do consumers visit and what kinds of sites are they?
- When do customers start shopping for insurance and what can I do to get them in my sales funnel before my competition?
The answers to some of these questions are not intuitive, and there is no single answer, especially when considering different consumer segments. For example, when considering the age of shoppers, we see that baby boomers start the shopping journey earlier and conduct their research with a higher frequency of site visits when compared to millennials, according to Jornaya, a consumer journey insight platform.
Shopping journeys also vary by location. Consumers in the Southeast are more active online than those in the Pacific Northwest, according to Jornaya. Also, the majority of insurance shopping is conducted on mobile devices, which means agents must have a solid mobile presence. 64% of millennials visit insurance sites on a mobile device, compared to 54% of boomers.
In addition, consumers with “poor” credit shop for insurance on a mobile device 83% of the time, whereas consumers with “good” credit shop for insurance on a mobile device 52% of the time.
Jornaya expect mobile insurance shopping rates to increase over time, so having a mobile-first strategy will pay off in the long run. Most importantly, great mobile shopping experiences often transition into an inbound phone call to an agent—just make sure someone answers the phone!
The bottom line is: there’s no typical journey when targeting consumers across multiple segments. Therefore, agents must design their marketing and sales strategies to align with how their prospects conduct their shopping journeys.
Jaimie Pickles is GM of insurance at Jornaya.