In our 2021 Workforce Survey, we again asked questions about how agencies are communicating with their clients. As we’ve heard before, agencies value their communication and are finding more and different ways to stay in touch. We also heard from insurance professionals who are leveraging social media into their communications. Finally, we heard loud and clear that agencies want more opportunities to meet with their clients to discuss how to best match coverage to individual needs.
Most of the insurance professionals who took our survey reported using email (87%) and the phone (76%) for client communications. In the previous year’s survey, 97% reported using email and 95% the phone. Previously only 16% reported using a portal/app and that number increased to 38% in our recent survey.
This decrease in email/phone usage coupled with the increase in portal/app usage shows agencies are branching out and diversifying the ways they communicate with their clients, and that's particularly good news. While email continues to be a powerful way to stay in touch, interfaces that allow for self-service and two-way communications are quickly becoming the norm for small business. The agencies that are utilizing portals and apps designed specifically for insurance are enjoying the efficiencies that accompany this InsurTech along with better-informed clients.
Social media has an impact
In this survey, when we asked how agencies communicate with their clients, we included “social media” as an answer choice. Social media has quickly become ubiquitous in the small business marketing space, and we thought it was time to officially record its use.
One in four respondents reported using social media as a method of communication. This means they have discovered the various spaces to interact with the community, tell stories, support local charities and sports teams, and show pictures and videos. Agencies using social media well are interacting with their clients outside of the office and are benefiting from being in the communities’ feeds. The social media space will continue to explode, and agencies who are not yet posting and tweeting will hopefully soon discover the difference a social media presence can make for their small business.
Agencies prioritize client communications
For the second year in a row, insurance professionals told us that they are spending more time in a week communicating with clients than they are building policies, gathering quotes, completing forms, and creating proposals. In fact, 44% ranked client communications as first or second for time spent.
However, only 26% indicated they are using automated client communication solutions to stay in touch with their clients, which indicates that many agencies who prioritize client contact are not using InsurTech designed to make communications easier, targeted, and efficient. These programs allow agencies to target clients for focused messaging, to celebrate special occasions, and to manage an agency’s reputation.
Insurance professionals want more face time
In our open-ended question we asked insurance professionals what they would like to do if time weren’t an issue. Overwhelmingly, they said that they would like to have the time to meet with their clients. They want to visit, have coffee, and discuss what is happening in their client’s lives.
What came through in these answers is that agents are eager to provide individualized service to those who have put the protection of their homes, belongings, and health in their agency’s hands. Insurance professionals want to be in the community, in people’s homes, and at the table to establish and build relationships. However, there is often not enough time in the day to arrange these meetings.
Our respondents have again shown that open and frequent communication with their clients is a top-of-mind issue. They have also shown that they are taking important steps make communication more frequent, more targeted, and more productive.