Successful insurance agents understand the value of quality customer service. Establishing strong, long lasting business relationships is crucial to longevity and continued growth. However, due to the evolution of technology across various industries, customer expectations have grown. Add in the values of the modern consumer and you have a recipe for change. While brokers are beginning to adopt technology solutions to create a more seamless workflow, it’s also important to consider the customer service expectations of today’s consumer. In order for brokers to be competitive, they need to provide a brand experience that will increase insurance customer engagement.
Competitive pricing is still important but winning experiences has become paramount, and the ability to drive true engagement has become the Holy Grail! So tap into your inner Indiana Jones as we explore what it takes to increase insurance customer engagement.
GOING BEYOND THE COST
Most modern consumers value good customer experiences over cost. Research shows that 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience. The keyword is ‘guaranteed’; customers are no longer satisfied with just being promised a good experience. This means leading the customer journey with the “sale” isn’t as effective as it once was. Neither is promising that you provide great customer service just like every other broker on the market.
What essentially matters more to customers today, from the broker’s perspective, isn’t so much the sale, but rather the carrot that will drive to it. Your marketing content takes the why and who of your agency’s brand, and tells the story of the experiences you provide. The way in which you distribute and share that content with consumers at key touchpoints is what dictates their customer experience. However, whenever telling a story it’s important to drive emotional engagement from your audience.
CREATING EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT THROUGH CONTENT
Brain research, most notably the work of Nobel Laureate Daniel Kanheman, found that humans function better and are inherently happier when they are relying upon their innate emotional responses rather than invoking a rational decision process. The insurance industry of today has shifted to a customer experience focus, and emotional engagement is a critical ingredient for successfully optimizing the customer experience. Storytelling through content marketing is at the heart of this movement.
Consider Coca-Cola’s marketing campaign “Open Happiness”. The campaign’s message, visuals, etc. weren’t directly about selling the product, but rather, it was about establishing emotional engagement. That overarching theme influenced all of their marketing tactics across various touchpoints, creating a consistent customer experience. Whether it was “Share a Coke” or the “Hug me machine” the customer experience was consistent, and Coke successfully drove emotional engagement by using marketing content to tell their brand’s story.
Use insurance agent marketing research tools to gain key insights into your customers and then use those insights to speak to their pain points. For example, creating video content that communicates relieving the stress of open enrollment for everyone involved is a great way to drive emotional engagement. Once you’ve established the type of messaging that’s relevant, based on customer research, use content marketing to tell the story of how your agency provides the ideal experience and solution. Leveraging data is absolutely essential to successfully increasing insurance customer engagement.
EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT FOR THE BROKER
Now that you have an understanding of emotional engagement, you may be wondering what kind of messaging is relevant for a broker?
Collaboration, inclusion, aspiration.
These are three possible theme suggestions for a broker to communicate. Make your customers feel included in the aspiration to make tomorrow better than today. Consider the previously mentioned example of a HR manager researching enrollment solutions. They’re aspiring to a better workday for themselves and their employees.
Communicate the notion of collaborating with you, include them in the journey you and your existing customers are on through the services you provide, and aspire to making tomorrow better than today. The key ingredient to successfully driving emotional engagement is having a touch of empathy in your marketing, storytelling and overall customer experience development. Your messaging will not come across as authentic without it.
Insurance revolves around people; employers and employees, families, etc. When you look at it from that perspective it’s easier to see the different ways you can connect with and relate to your target audience.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE IN YOUR MARKETING
As the Harvard Business Review explained, “By understanding that the mechanism behind mindfulness is the improvement of broader emotional intelligence competencies, leaders and the brands they steward can more intentionally work on all of the areas that will have the strongest impact.”
Companies across multiple industries are already using storytelling methods to relate to their target audience. That doesn’t mean all the players are doing it right. Consider Pepsi’s “Live for Now” commercial. It garnered such harsh criticism from the populace that the soda giant had to eventually pull the ad from circulation. It is a prime example of a company trying to drive emotional engagement but lacking emotional intelligence in their execution. It’s important to fully understand your audience before implementing this strategy, which requires in depth market research.
For brokers, your audience has a wide range; all the way from Gen X to Millennials. What drives emotional engagement for these different generations will wildly differ. Understanding the unique emotional motivators for each generation’s persona will be of great value to assist in increasing insurance customer engagement from your groups and prospects.
If you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth the effort, consider that research shows the most effective way to maximize customer value is to connect with customers on an emotional level; far beyond customer satisfaction. That means appealing to their “emotional motivators”, such as a desire to belong, to succeed in life, or to feel secure.
INCREASING INSURANCE CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
It’s common knowledge that the insurance industry is largely perceived as out of touch with modern times by the average consumer. Going into 2018, it’s important to shift from a sales centric insurance agent marketing strategy to one that revolves around establishing a strong connection with your clients. In order to effectively do this: