In the context of chatbots for the insurance industry, some viewed this tool as a threat to brokers. The reality is, chatbots are a great tool to complement the services of a brokerage; not replace them. At Broker Tool Belt we stay up to date with trending marketing technologies that can assist agents in taking their marketing strategy to the next level. This week we discuss the benefits, and use cases of insurance agency chatbots. 

In 2018 instant messaging is expected to be an instrumental marketing, sales, and customer service tool across various industries. The insurance industry is no exception, and brokers who adopt this tool now, could gain a competitive edge with the right execution.

MESSAGING IS A MAJOR PLAYER

When it comes to inbound marketing, messaging is the tool to bridge the gap between leads and conversions.

To understand the power of messaging, just let this sink in; 1.3 billion users actively communicate through Facebook Messenger, and those users are exchanging 2 billion messages each month with businesses. If your agency doesn’t have a Facebook page, I’d say now is the time to get one! Facebook has launched incredible business tools for their messenger app that you need to capitalize on, but we’ll discuss this in a bit.

For live chat support on business websites, research found that 42% of consumers prefer live chat as it provides instant service. Also, 92% of customers report feeling most satisfied when using a live chat feature during their buyer’s journey as compared to other options such as email.

Intercom is an affordable live chat feature that can be easily integrated to your agency’s website. For as little as about $100 per month, you can have a live chat set up for your website with a variety of features:

  • Team inbox
  • Customer user profiles
  • Real-time updates
  • Live user data
  • Intercom mobile app for iOS

And a whole lot more. Intercom is a useful tool for enhancing your agency’s customer experience, while providing you with a simple administration interface.

When you consider modern consumer behavior, you can come to understand why people are leaning towards instant messaging as their main line of communication with businesses; the keyword is instant. As technology advances, customers can now access information, products, and service in a few swipes of a smartphone. Integrating instant messaging into your agency’s marketing, sales, and customer service strategy is essential for 2018.

CHATBOTS ON FACEBOOK

This may sound like some millennial created marketing word that isn’t for you, but this tool is an easy to use solution to enhance your agency’s customer experience. Firstly let’s take a look at how Facebook Messenger has leveraged the power of chatbots to create a powerful tool for marketing.

In the context of Facebook Messenger chatbots, think of the function of chatbots as the social media version of automated email marketing. Part of the reason email marketing click through rates and other similar statistics experienced decline over the years is because of how saturated the channel has become for consumers. We all get thousands of promotional emails each month! Facebook Messenger marketing on the other hand hasn’t reached this phase of its growth as yet. Due to this, customers on Facebook aren’t being flooded with promotional content from businesses. This results in higher open and click through rates. In one example, Neli Patel recently published an article on his experience creating a Facebook Messenger marketing campaign and saw an 88% open rate, with a 56% click through rate! In comparison to email it’s hard to deny how impressive those figures are.

We’re not saying replace email marketing with Facebook Messenger, but rather it’s an interesting additional marketing channel to help optimize your agency’s digital marketing strategy. So how does Facebook Messenger marketing work? It allows you to:

  • Deliver messaging sequences to prospects in messenger
  • Create a sales funnel that can bring in sales directly within messenger
  • Send downloadable marketing content
  • Have automated conversations with real users on Messenger using AI.

That’s just some of the capabilities. Chatbots can be used to serve a diverse number of functions in this capacity. To point out some real world examples, Sephora uses chatbots for automated customer bookings and it led to a 11% increase in booking rates. SnapTravel, a hotel booking service, uses chatbots for providing customers with hotel rate quotes based on basic travel information shared with their chatbot. Since adopting this tool SnapTravel has achieved $1 million in hotel bookings in less than a year!

We recommend checking out Facebook Messenger’s chatbot  website to set up this feature for your agency’s Facebook page.

HOW BROKERS CAN USE CHATBOTS

Think of insurance agency chatbots as your personal virtual assistant. They are capable of simplifying everyday tasks. They have the potential to create efficiencies for both the insurer and the policyholder; chatbots can assist in researching offerings, purchasing policies and filing a claim.

Policy Research

We’ve previously discussed how most Americans don’t understand basic insurance terms. This makes policy research difficult for most, especially first-timers. When it comes to enhancing the top of the funnel, chatbots are an incredible tool to help win a prospect’s business thanks to an intuitive interface and educational support.

For leads in the early stage of the buyer journey, getting accurate information is essential so they aren’t surprised by undisclosed fees or any other misunderstandings. Insurance agency chatbots accurately process data at extraordinary speeds, which would help to ensure customers get the right policy and relevant information so they can be more confident with their purchase. With the unique ability to quickly scan through the wealth of information available online and recognize user patterns; chatbots can create incredibly accurate policy offerings tailored to the needs of a specific customer. For a broker this means your agency can make a great first impression to prospects, manage more inbound traffic, and increase conversions as seen with aforementioned real world examples.

Claims

As a broker you work tirelessly to go above and beyond for your clients. No matter how hard you work, you’re still only human and need rest at the end of the day. Insurance agency chatbots can assist in servicing your clients outside of office hours. The automated attribute of chatbots makes sure that your clients have access to assistance whenever needed.

The claims process involves multiple steps, but chatbots can help streamline the customer experience in a way that benefits all members of the process. Chatbots can field claim calls and provide customers with status updates for their claim in real time, just like if they were tracking a package delivery.

INSURANCE AGENCY CHATBOTS

Geico provides their agents with “Kate”, a virtual assistant that is an ideal example of how brokers can leverage the power of insurance agency chatbots. Kate answers basic policy and billing questions within an app.

Insurtech start up companies have come out with a lot of hype and predictions of being the future of insurance; eventually replacing the ‘old way’ of doing things. However, no matter how seamless services become due to advanced technology insurance still requires people; the human connection. So many brokers can claim having business relationships with various clients over the span of decades, and those clients maintain their sense of loyalty to their broker. Technology cannot replicate or replace that. Consumers still rather talk with real people when engaging with a service. In fact, a study from Google found that 57% of consumers prefer to talk to a real person at the purchasing stage of the sale cycle. Chatbots and similar tools are great for enhancing customer service and optimizing your omnichannel marketing strategy; not replacing the people that make customer service great.