In a world driven by technology and convenience, customers expect to access all types of services through their phones. And consumers with insurance policies are no exception.
It's no secret that more and more people are glued to their phones. Americans, on average, log 4 hours and 25 minutes daily on their mobile phones, according to a 2023 survey by Reviews.org. That adds up to two months, or 65 days, in a year.
As we increasingly rely on our mobile devices, independent insurance agents must adjust their marketing strategies and optimize their offerings for mobile consumption. In a world driven by technology and convenience, customers expect to access all types of services through their phones. And consumers with insurance policies are no exception.
A mobile app for your insurance agency can provide numerous benefits to both your agency and customers. Here's why your agency should consider a mobile app and which features should be at the top of your list:
1) Increased brand awareness enhances customer engagement. Creating a user-friendly, streamlined interface can lead to increased customer satisfaction, which, in turn, can lead to higher policy retention rates. This is because clients who have a positive experience with your app are more likely to continue using it and recommend it to others.
A branded mobile app with a custom agency icon also offers brand exposure. It's essential to have a branded icon that stands out and creates an unspoken connection. This helps increase brand awareness and enables customers to recognize your app amongst a sea of other apps very quickly. Additionally, a branded app creates an image of professionalism and reliability, which enhances customer confidence and trust in your services.
Another consideration is having an app that is compatible with voice commands. This can be a game-changer for customer engagement. With the help of smart assistants like Alexa, your customers can quickly open your app and access your services without physically interacting with their phones. This feature can save your customers valuable time and effort and make your app a go-to solution for emergencies like car accidents.
2) Customer access to self-service solutions saves you time. As an insurance agent, you understand the importance of building client relationships, but determining which services build lasting relationships ensures you devote your time to the right place.
One of the main benefits of having a mobile app for your insurance agency is the option for policyholders to complete basic but essential customer service functions. This not only keeps your agency's relationship with the client front and center, but the mobile app also helps ensure your clients are happy and satisfied with your services by providing self-service solutions that your clients can access anytime and anywhere. Further, clients don't have to wait on the phone during busy hours to complete basic tasks they can take care of themselves.
3) Software integration can streamline your workflow. Many insurance agents struggle with siloed data, forcing them to interact with numerous software interfaces. Efficiency is crucial in any business, but it's imperative in the insurance industry. Successful agencies can quickly and effectively respond to customer inquiries, process claims and handle policy updates through one central system: the agency management system (AMS).
If you choose wisely, a policyholder-facing mobile app can automate documentation tasks, reduce paperwork, and streamline communication between team members and clients. Selecting a software solution that integrates seamlessly with your existing AMS with application programming interface (API) integration is key to incorporating a mobile app that benefits your agency and your clients.
Choosing a mobile app with integration in mind will help avoid the staff tech frustration of managing multiple software interfaces and will increase the return on investment of your technology.
4) Improved customer experience increases retention. The right mobile app can also help you attract new customers because can be a competitive advantage over insurance agencies that do not have one. A mobile app helps establish your brand as modern and tech-savvy, which can be particularly attractive to younger customers who value convenience and digital experiences. These elements can result in higher customer lifetime value and increased revenue over time.
Which App is Best for Your Agency?
Not all mobile apps are created equal. Before you start searching for policyholder-facing mobile app solutions, it is crucial to understand the basics of app architecture, APIs, webhooks, website scraping, and other related terms. By better understanding app terminology and methods, you'll be able to make better tech recommendations and decisions for your agency.
Here are six steps to help pick an agency app:
1) Identify the pain points to solve. When looking for the right mobile app solution for your agency, you must first figure out your client engagement pain points and how you hope a mobile app can address those issues. This will determine which mobile solutions you value or will find worthless.
For instance, if your agency sells products from smaller carriers that do not offer consumer-facing websites, would mobile app technology solutions utilizing website scraping be the best option? Maybe not.
2) Verify your AMS and other systems can integrate with an app. Check with your AMS provider to verify whether your AMS is capable of integrating with a mobile app solution. Based on those factors, your AMS provider may recommend one app architecture over another—if they have done their homework.
Other systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) systems and payment gateways could also integrate with the mobile app solution, leading to even more operational efficiencies for your agency.
3) Identify any prerequisites required to implement the app. Some mobile apps may require the use of other applications to work correctly. For example, if a mobile app solution involves the use of a specific API or webhook, it's essential to ensure that the necessary component is available.
4) Evaluate options for a well-designed user interface. User experience matters because it determines how easily users and agencies can achieve their goals by using your app. A well-designed user interface will make it easy for clients to perform these tasks without encountering errors, confusion, or frustration.
5) Consider how flexible and maintenance-heavy an app is. When choosing a solution, you should consider stability, scalability, security and performance factors. Consider how frequently updates, upgrades and changes to the user interface need to be made.
6) Pick the right vendor. When looking for a solution provider that offers a mobile app, look at their experience in the insurance industry. Vendors focusing on the insurance sphere are more likely to align with how your end user wants to interact with an insurance app. They have looked at how an average user behaves, what type of security is expected, and what a typical insurance consumer needs from an app.
Additionally, look for a solution provider offering marketing assets to help improve customer app download, engagement and best-use practices.
Matt Aaron is co-founder of Insurance Agent App.