Growing customer expectations are forcing insurance brokers to continue to invest in and improve their services. Firstly, as customers encounter seamless customer experiences (CX) from the likes of Amazon and Netflix, they come to expect the same from their financial products and services. Secondly, due to the proliferation of direct channels and low-cost alternatives, customers count on differentiated products and services when buying insurance through brokers.
On the customer experience front, the competition is strong. Digital native insurance distribution channels like direct writers and online comparators offer apps and websites with smooth, easy-to-use experiences. Similarly, an improved CX plays an essential role in the ‘multi-access’ strategy of tied agents and bancassurance channels.
Considering these alternatives, it evidently becomes important for brokers to be able to invest in a modern customer experience – from offering online access for insurance policies to digitally filing and managing claims.
In addition to a strong customer experience, customers expect brokers to provide products and services with clear added value. Direct channels offer low-cost alternatives and in general allow customers to orientate and educate themselves more extensively on insurance. Even as closing insurance transactions online remains limited, digital-savvy customers still use these online channels to educate themselves, showing that their expectations for non-direct channels are evolving as well.
For traditional brokers, the need to differentiate is becoming increasingly more pressing. Not only is there increased competition, but there are growing demands by customers who are now confronted with unfamiliar risks such as natural catastrophes (e.g., floods and droughts) to cyber-related risks.
Where brokers can significantly differentiate themselves is in the customer relationship part of insurance. Building trust and offering personalized service is still important to customers and adds perceived value for brokers looking to help solve client challenges.
Here are five tips to building trust with clients that can help elevate your perceived value:
- Understand the client’s communication style. How often do clients want to meet? Should you pick up the phone to call or send a text? Each client has a different expectation of communication frequency and type.
- Understand the client’s business. Ask genuine questions to better understand their business outside of insurance. This can not only lead to cross sell opportunities, but also makes for a more personalized experience. This individualized experience provides value beyond a policy that cannot be found on websites or direct platforms.
- Establish creditability. Display your expertise and knowledge of the industry. Discuss case studies that show tangible outcomes and positive experiences. Communicating your company’s story and problem-solving tactics can show the capabilities and value you bring.
- Give them peace of mind. Insurance is about reassuring your clients. By looking to the future and thinking ahead, you can calm and comfort your clients. This peace is highly valued, sometimes even more than what a policy can provide.
- Educate them on the process. Guiding clients through each step of the process takes the pressure and work off of them – and is vital to showing the additional value of your services.
When buying insurance through intermediary channels customers expect a differentiated offering in terms of product and service. This makes expertise, knowledge of product offerings and a focus on service necessities for intermediaries looking to deliver tangible added value for their customers.