Everyone in the UK insurance industry knows that we are working in an increasingly online world, but how rapidly is the shift from call centre policy sales to smartphone app inception happening?
Well ACORD say that almost half (45%) of insurance buyers in the UK make their final purchases online compared to just 20% in the US, while 80% of customers engage in online research compared to 65% in the US, according to analysis conducted by ACORD for their UK and US Digital Customer Experience Studies. These screened the websites of thousands of insurance carriers, brokers, and aggregators worldwide. The studies then evaluated eligible sites using over 100 criteria across more than ten customer segments, in order to assess the industry’s overall performance and identify the key strategies and capabilities for delivering a successful digital customer experience.
Chris Newman, Managing Director of ACORD in London, said: “UK customers are at the forefront of digital demand. Therefore, providing an effective and compelling digital customer experience is crucial. Aggregator websites – not a feature of the US market – have set the benchmark for customer digital experience in the UK. Year-on-year they lead the way according to the UK findings, although the performance of leading companies is catching up.
“The aggregator websites themselves have not changed dramatically in 12 months, but consumers’ expectations of their online experience have risen. This means it is getting tougher and tougher to compete, so the writing is on the wall: a great online experience is a must-have rather than a nice-to-have and needs continual investment.
“When shopping for insurance, consumer and broker demands are no longer shaped by our industry alone. Their familiarity with the current online and app-based retail environment creates expectations for what a satisfying digital shopping experience entails. ACORD’s research underscores the opportunity – and necessity – for insurers to invest in improving their delivery of digital customer experience.”
To effectively engage customers, ACORD found that insurers need to focus on three key factors: ease of use, alignment, and interaction. The best sites provide superior cross-industry design, intuitive navigation, and strong digital brand-strategy alignment. And when it comes to satisfying customers’ needs, tailoring, service, and education are the primary factors that create a positive digital experience. Functionality that exceeds expectations, a strong level of support across the process, and superior omnichannel capabilities are the hallmarks of the most successful sites.
Specific strategies that insurers should consider implementing include:
- User-friendly search capabilities
- A social media shopping funnel
- Scenario-based solutions and pricing
- Full functionality across multiple devices
- A hassle-free quote generation process
- Easy-to-find help functionality
Chris Newman said: “In today’s digital world, customers and brokers are used to service providers knowing them and understanding their needs. The insurance industry needs to offer the same predictive capability. Market leaders take in data to predict behaviors, and they know how to ask the right questions to provide the kind of interaction that users are looking for. This is a key differentiator for insurers looking to improve their overall level of success.”
More information on the ACORD Digital Customer Experience Study series is available at; www.acord.org/research.