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Microsoft Weighs In Part II - 4 Revealing Stats for Digital Insurers   

Posted on April 18, 2016 by Guy Weismantel

Digital Insurer Blog

Last Monday I took some time to share my thoughts on Microsoft’s new E-Book, "Insurance in the Age of Digital Disruption," and encouraged each of you to take some time to view their on-demand webinar. This week, I want to dive into some of the impactful data revealed in their content and take a deeper look at what the findings might mean to our industry.

You can check out Microsoft’s full interactive Infographic here

#1 - 80% of customers would switch to an insurer providing personalized service 

In a world where there is MORE of everything – more access, more page views, more channels to advertise through – there is one thing that will always be in high demand (and hard to attain!): Trust.

Win customer trust

So while the number is shocking, 80%, the idea that your customers would prefer a personalized customer service experience should not be all that surprising. I’ve mentioned this before in previous posts, but personalizing the customer service experience has become table stakes in 2016. To become a digital insurer, you need to have access to the tools and technology that will allow you to provide your customers with the personalized experience they crave – but also, it’s the experience they deserve. They’re experiencing this level of service everywhere else in their lives and it’s time for the insurance industry to catch up. And just to drill that point home, 80% of your customers agree. #toughlove. 

#2 - 48% of customers rely on social media comments when buying insurance

Have you ever heard of Amy’s Baking Company? Long story short, they were on Gordon Ramsay’s TV show Kitchen Nightmares and have written themselves into the history books of marketing by providing a real-life case study (documented on national TV) about how NOT to respond to customer’s comments on social media. Forbes actually wrote an article about their social media incompetence called Lessons from Amy’s Baking company: Six Things You Should Never Do On Social media. If you have the time, and you’re looking for some unintentional comedy, the full episode is highly recommended.

What’s the point?

Amy’s Bakery is no longer around. You need to take your social media presence seriously, even if that means you’re just creating a process or guidelines for what employees shouldn’t be responding to. That’s up to your team to decide, but the reality is people search first (data from Google supporting this claim), then they get in contact. And when they search, they’re going to find your social channels. The internet can giveth and the internet can taketh-away. Its amazing ability that allows you to research and find new prospects also allows those prospects to research and find you. The playing field is relatively level if you’re putting yourself out there with a website and social channels, and my best guess, if you’re reading this post, is that you have both of those. 

Take advantage of social media

So while the stat states: 48% of customers rely on social media comments when buying insurance – what this is really saying is: if you don’t live up to your organizations standards, and don’t deliver on your promises, your prospects are going to find out and they will look somewhere else for their needs.

#3 - 72% of customers plan to renew or purchase insurance in the next year

The idea that ¾ of your customers are facing a decision in the next year about whether or not to stick with you can be hard to stomach. But the real question is – who’s in that 72%? Who’s in the 28% that isn’t facing this decision? And once you know who they are, how should you speak to them differently? Market to them differently? 

Achieve sustained growth

There’s really only one way to know and that’s through the use of analytics and business intelligence. Let’s push the jargon aside and use a real life example:

If you have a CRM tool that can track customer interactions and activities (such as canceling a policy), you can use your data to look at trends and predict when someone is about to cancel. For example, you might see that 90% of people who cancel are between the ages of 25-34, haven’t opened any of your emails for the last 6 months, stopped logging into your client portal, and they’re due to renew their policy in the next two months. Once you have the ability to collect and view your data you can start to paint vivid pictures that tell stories and enable you to become pro-active about communicating with these customers who are high-risk for cancellation.

How nice would it be to KNOW which customers are thinking about canceling and get out in front of it with a call or email?

#4 - 60% of insurers say they will initiate big data projects to reduce risk in the next two years

Reducing risk is the name of the game. The infographic talks about 3 main points

- Streamlining your compliance

- Process-centric User Interface

- Streamlining documentation processes.

Streamline compliance

Providing customers with personalized experiences and having access to your data are both extremely important to the overall health of your business…but let’s not forget about E&O. Setting yourself up for success with the right tools – tools that can automatically make sure your employees or colleagues are dotting I’s and crossing T’s - also means reducing your own risk.

So What’s Next?

Let's take a moment to take deep breath!

Breath in. Hold for 3 seconds. Now breath out. Feel better?

I want to take this opportunity to remind you that the cost of retaining a customer is always going to be less than acquiring new ones. There might be times when you are faced with tough decisions about how to spend your capital, and when it's crunch time, make sure you invest in yourself. Give your team the tools the need to succeed. Give your customers the experiences they want and the experience they deserve. Operate as though everyone is watching - because they are. And most of all protect yourself from unnecessary risk. Next Monday I’m going to take a look at Microsoft’s Whitepaper titled “Thriving in the Age of Disruption: Leveraging Data to Drive New Opportunity and Deliver Customer Value.” I hope you’ll be back to join me for more in-depth commentary.

Microsoft's free on-demand webinar, "The digital revolution: act or react?" featuring Karlyn Carnahan, Research Director at Celent will only be live until the end of the month! Make sure you get a chance to watch it while it’s still available.

Guy Weismantel

Mr. Weismantel is the Vice President of Marketing at Vertafore. With 20 years of marketing and financial leadership in companies such as Microsoft, Business Objects, Baxter HealthCare, Caremark International, and Expedia, Guy’s career has focused on bringing differentiated products to market and providing the “compelling reason to purchase” for customers and prospects alike.

Guy has a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of Notre Dame, and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.




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