Consumers are looking towards the Internet more every year to research, compare and purchase insurance policies. In 2011, 20% of all consumers purchased their insurance online, with that number going up 3% in 2012 and 1% in 2013. Moreover, in 2013, the number of consumers that shopped for insurance dipped below 50 percent. As a local agent/agency, how do you compete against online insurance companies in getting and retaining customers? The answer is not price, but excellent customer service and a strong, evolving Internet presence that reflects that.
What do I need in order to have a strong online presence? The most essential part of a strong online presence is having a website. In fact, it’s important to your business in general. In today’s economy, a website acts as your storefront and conveys your brand to the world. If you do nothing online at all but have a website, invest in a good one (simple layout, easy to navigate, professional appearance). Then consider social media, starting with LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Social media helps you build awareness and provides another channel to reach out to your existing and potential customers. Investing in technology that help businesses reach and serve customers (and also boost their sales and ROI). Give consideration to mobile apps and live video assistance, but let’s focus on live video assistance here.
What is Live Video Assistance? Live Video Assistance is software that is added onto your website, or even your mobile app and certain social media platforms, which allows you to chat live on video with your customers and visitors. This should enhance the customer experience and your agency sales. Some live video software allows you to co-browse alongside the person with whom you’re chatting with, enabling you and your customer to see one another’s screen to help with, understanding a document or policy better, etc.
Why should I invest in Live Video Assistance? Enhancing customer support online is a big deal, especially with potential customers. According to Forrester, 45 percent of customers will abandon an online transaction if they cannot easily find an answer to their question.
Consider this example: Sarah, 27, just got married and purchased a house. She is in need of homeowners insurance and her auto policy is in play as well. Sarah, a businesswoman, limited on time, does her shopping and comparisons online. She comes across your website and is looking to find more information on a quote, but she has to fill out a lengthy form and wait to hear back from your staff at a “to be determined” time. She moves on. She comes across another local agency, with an easy to use website and a button that prompts her to click for “live assistance”. She clicks it and immediately is viewing and talking to a local agent who can answer her questions and take her information right way for an instant quote. Sarah purchases not only homeowners insurance but switches her auto insurance and is considering umbrella insurance based on her new agent’s advice. They share and sign documents, then and there, without Sarah having to step out of her office or take time out of her busy schedule to go to the agency.
Not only does Live Video Assistance help with potential customers, but existing ones as well. Policy updates and renewals can be discussed and completed quickly and easily with live video assistance, saving your customers valuable time and helping them to better understand their coverage.
How do I invest in Live Video Assistance? Setting up live video assistance on your website is as simple as pasting a line of code in your website (or sending a link to your webmaster). There are a few companies worth looking at, each with different features and pricing depending on your needs and budget:
Unlike mobile app technology, adoption of the service should come naturally as potential and existing customers browse your website and social media platforms. Although it won’t hurt to promote it via your touch points with customers, it should pick up activity quickly on its own due to its convenient nature. Keeping your online presence current and using new technology will help your business maintain a healthy brand that should translate into additional revenue.