Customer Engagement: Insurance Communications Evolve, One Meaningful Conversation at a Time

Online consumers can now buy anything anytime they want with a single tap. For insurance vendors, this element of the relationship is now table stakes. According to Bain & Company, up to 79 percent of insurance customers planned to engage with their accounts via digital channels in recent years.

An insurance agent creating customer engagement with a new client
By investing in advanced business communications technology, insurance firms can boost customer engagement by initiating meaningful conversations and anticipating client needs.

Customer engagement — meaningful experiences that businesses create with the people they serve — is a single, central idea fueling the future of successful consumer interactions today. But what are the technologies driving these interactions, and how do they apply to the insurance industry?

Business Communications Technology and the Insurance Industry

The link between the customer and the insurance agent is now digital, and it's bound to move further in that direction. Technologies that can help drive these meaningful conversations with customers include unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) and communications platforms-as-a-service (CPaaS). Thanks to the scalability and software integration options these solutions offer, insurance leaders of any size can create customized portfolios of consumer-facing experiences that aren't tied to rigid infrastructure or to the budgetary anchors of ever-expanding hardware, rooms to house all of it, and a never-ending push to keep everything up to date.

For insurance companies especially, the ability to integrate their communications platform with day-to-day business applications like customer relationship management (CRM) tools is invaluable. A UCaaS–CRM integration empowers the insurance provider to see claim histories, policy contents, premiums logs, and any other pertinent information throughout every customer interaction. When insurance agents know where the customer has been (college, for example) and what he or she has done (graduated recently), they can anticipate what that customer is likely to need (a renter's policy opportunity) in their next conversation.

For the insurance industry, capitalizing on these moments and bringing all these advances into the insurance-provider landscape means empowering bolder, better ways to support consumers across the cycle of their insurance needs.

Customer Engagement: Personalization is the Conversation

Such personalized interactions are a primary force in any insurance business communications build-out. When consumers tell the industry, for example, that 64 percent of them want to engage via chat, the industry — if its leaders are wise — pivots its communication strategy to chat. This is easily accomplished with the help of CPaaS via integrated chat APIs, whether on the company's website or within its proprietary app. From a timely, friendly reminder that a policy is up for renewal to an automated message from a bot that asks how customers can be helped, this is the opportunity to create moments customers remember.

To take it a step further, insurance firms can use business communications technology to:

  • Follow up and provide: With a UCaaS platform at its disposal, the insurance organization can integrate an SMS conversation with email follow-up. These are the dynamic interfaces that keep the agency–customer conversation going.
  • React and solve: When a customer takes the conversation to voice, the agent taking that call can pull up the customer's full interaction history — it is no longer limited to what has transpired during the most recent interactions, or through only the voice channel, but relevant interactions across all communication channels. This is where relationships meet and crucial junctions occur: At the time of a claim, or any incident in which the insurance agent has to leap into action, access to the customer's full interaction history makes a big difference. The agent is empowered to tell the story the client wants to hear — that solutions are underway and clicking into place as they speak.
  • Proactively engage: Social media and other marketing strategies can emerge out of these situations. The insurance agency's marketing team can draw insights from customers' interactions, then pull important parts of those stories into social or media campaigns. This social messaging is tightly aligned with a narrative that can be generalized to similar audience segments, allowing the agency to expand and attract new customers to whom the ideas and stories being told are highly relevant. Relationships are started and built on these engagements — and relationships, in turn, drive loyalty.

Insurance benefits from personalized customer experiences precisely because of what happens to the consumer's mindset when he or she perceives the interaction to be personally relevant. Clients engage and become active in the conversation, and as The Insurance Network reports, actively engaged customers are less sensitive to pricing and are more likely to stay with their insurance carrier.

Relationships, Time, and the Evolving Insurance Consumer

The relationship between insurance companies and their customers has evolved to meet digital consumers where they live, work, and shop. The mobile device is at the root of this evolution, as are the underlying ways that smartphones, tablets, and laptops have driven change in the communication between users and businesses overall, both at work and at home.

Consumers care most about experiences. They want every engagement to rest on the three pillars noted above: personalized interactions, dynamic interfaces, and relationships that transform as technology advances and creates new possibilities — and new expectations.

For the insurance industry, capitalizing on these moments and bringing all these advances into the insurance-provider landscape means empowering bolder, better ways to support consumers across the cycle of their insurance needs.

Meet your digital-native customers on their level. See what Vonage's insurance solutions can do for your agency.

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