In this latest Opinion piece, Grant Fraser, CEO at Digitonic takes a look at how conversational marketing can really make a deep impact in the insurance sector.
Rapid digital advancements in the ways which businesses can communicate with consumers has led to growing customer expectations of a fast and convenient service across all commercial sectors. Audiences are also increasingly empowered and demand a personalised experience, tailored to their exact requirements.
And, despite being traditionally uncompromising in its procedures, this is no different when it comes to their approach to insurance companies. In fact, with Accenture announcing that 88% of insurance consumers demand more personalisation from providers, it is now more important than ever for insurance businesses to take advantage of digital advancements to reshape the customer experience.
Streamlining and simplifying business processes, one way to achieve this is through conversational chatbot technology that can provide immediate response to customer queries, delivering a more intelligent and personalised insurance experience.
The power of chatbot conversation
Chatbots, through utilising developments in AI to identify patterns triggered by certain words and other stimuli, can be installed into websites and messenger platforms to guide customers through a customised conversational path to receive all the information they require.
More importantly, chatbots allow businesses to appropriately respond to each individual interaction with customers. This increases the quality of data and insight that businesses can gather, allowing continuous hyper-personalisation of interaction with audiences through further conversation, strengthening the quality of relationships as new trends emerge.
Chatbots can be used to provide quick ‘indicative insurance quotes’ funnelling only qualified leads through to sales operatives. This enables insurance providers to maximise call centre profitability, while providing an alternative acquisition funnel to costly price comparison sites which can cost upwards of £50 per new customer.
Furthermore, chatbots can be used to transform lengthy and rigid transactions, such as providing billing information, accepting insurance applications, producing policies and even processing claims, into two-way, personalised interactions that take a matter of minutes.
Engagement and quality customer service around the clock
As an example of where this offers real potential is when it comes to addressing insurance claims. There is no predicting when these will need to be made, from early morning road accidents to late night burglaries and holiday blips across different time zones, the urgent nature of claims means they often come outside normal business hours. Traditionally, this has forced customers to make phone calls, often waiting on hold for long periods, aggravating what is already a stressful situation without actually resolving the problem.
Available 24-hours-a-day, chatbots can process thousands of claims at the same time within individual, personalised conversation flows, without human intervention. Acting as a quick self-service option for customers that provides information and resolves issues through real-time digital conversation experiences, chatbots can work through huge amounts of information in seconds to provide instant gratification for users.
The majority of calls and messages insurance companies receive are in relation to simple policy changes and updates. By integrating chatbot solutions to directly respond to such queries, insurance workforces can devote their time to accomplishing tasks that require human interaction.
What’s more, today’s social media-dominated world presents the opportunity for anyone and everyone to become a critic, meaning when customers don’t get the service they demand, it can be hard for businesses to avoid negative word of mouth.
Customer support through chatbot conversation allows machine learning to prioritise claims based on their urgency through picking up key words and phrases, ensuring that the most pressing issues are seen to as quickly as possible. Through dealing with queries in this manner – claims in particular – solutions can be found more easily and efficiently, squashing customer concerns whilst keeping brand reputation intact.
Of course, while advancements in conversational technology are hugely beneficial to the insurance industry, insurers must still ensure they remain compliant with regulatory requirements and maintain a high level of data protection when using such methods to communicate with customers.
For instance, the FCA handbook outlines advertising rules for businesses in the insurance sector, and it is vital that rules around client communications and financial promotions within the insurance sector are fully understood and adhered to. As such, insurance businesses and marketers must collaborate to ensure communications are ‘clear, fair and not misleading,’ with all marketing communications clearly identifiable, allowing consumers to make informed decisions.
As such, it is essential that insurance businesses invest time in ensuring that their chatbot is configured to adhere to these rules. This will require the chatbot to be configured with well-constructed conversation flows that are compliant with FCA guidelines on marketing communications to ensure that the chatbots can respond to the potential customer’s questions and enquiries, without leaving the business exposed. To do this effectively insurance companies may want to consider working with a specialist tech provider to provide peace of mind that their chatbot is meeting their requirements.
Cutting through the mist to streamline the insurance process
Trying to make sense of large amounts of important, complex insurance information, such as a life or death policy, can become intimidating at the best of times, especially considering the vast majority of people aren’t familiar with the industry. In fact, according to a recent YouGov survey, 72 percent of consumers agree that insurance companies use confusing jargon.
Chatbots, however, speak human language, reduce confusion, and promote the quick and easy acquisition of insurance information for consumers through the art of conversation. Walking customers through traditionally complicated processes in a few simple interactions, chatbots break down large amounts of complex information and put it into more simple and straightforward terminology.
Simplifying interactions whilst increasing engagement, chatbots can also be equipped with interactive, rich media content such as short quizzes, surveys and games, making conversation more enjoyable and interesting to the user. This makes the once daunting and laborious process of purchasing insurance more dynamic, personalised and user-friendly, benefiting customers and businesses alike.
It’s time to embrace the insurance chatbot
Conversational marketing, powered by intelligent chatbots, has the potential to break stereotypes and traditions of the insurance industry being rigid, slow and unwilling to embrace change. In the age of comparison sites and convenience, changing these perceptions has the potential to be a real game-changer, helping establish a deep and lasting connection between customers and insurance brands. This includes both encouraging policy holders to be loyal to their trusted insurance provider, while attracting new customers into the marketing funnel.
As they become more knowledgeable and intelligent with every interaction chatbots can thrive in the insurance industry, from insurance startups to established providers with years of history. As such, the question shouldn’t be whether or not to use a chatbot, it should be what exactly do you want your chatbot to do?