Insurance covers emotional events. You buy term insurance in case you die suddenly. You buy health insurance to help pay for your recovery. Auto insurance covers the value of your car and more in the event of a crash. Heck, there’s even pet insurance for your cat. Protecting your loved ones and prized possessions – it doesn’t get much more emotional than this.
Yet insurance companies are not known for their ability to interact emotionally with customers. And that has cost them billions of dollars.
The key word here is “interact.” The big insurance companies give us emotionally laden TV ads. But that’s branding, not interaction.
In the report Reborn identity: Bringing emotion to insurance the author Oliver Wyman states that the “resulting lack of emotional engagement and growth in franchise value has cost European insurers over 100 billion Euros in value.” (equivalent to 133.49 billion US dollars)
He goes on to offer objectives that can help insurers better engage their customers:
- Satisfy customer needs as customers see them.
- Offer tangible benefits, not ethereal concepts.
- Interact emotionally at all customer touch points.
- Build a culture of customer-focused innovation.
How can insurance companies interact emotionally?
Step 1 – Create an integrated marketing, sales and customer service plan that addresses the above objectives.
Step 2 – Make sure you include a social media marketing strategy.
Why Social Media?
Social media is where you connect and interact with your customers in real time. It’s here where you can:
- Learn what your customers needs are, as they see them
- Interact immediately with them, addressing their emotional concerns
- Build a community with your customers and prospects that:
- Involves them
- Rewards feedback
- Pro-actively addresses service issues
- Solves problems individually and collectively
In fact, if insurance companies embrace social marketing, they will build an insurance policy for their longevity. Here’s why.
Building Trust. Insurance companies fundamentally ask their clients to trust them. Put your money into my insurance and when the need arises, we will back you. With social media, each time you interact honestly with your customers and prospects, you create a level of trust. When the insurance company responds to an individual’s concern, everyone who is connected to the insurance company’s social network has access to it – both in real time and as an archive. When a blog post resonates with the needs of customers, it remains on the Internet for those who find it through the search engines. It’s trust that’s built to last and it belongs to the insurance company.
Humanizing Insurance. One of the objectives is to interact emotionally at all of the touch points. Insurance companies have known for years that face-to-face encounters are the most effective when selling policies or explaining claim benefits. But with less face-to-face encounters and more people turning to the web for interaction, social media has become the front lines for customer/company interaction. Furthermore, with social media marketing you don’t have to wait for the complaints. You can manage the conversation by showing your human side. For example, during the most recent snow storm Allstate Insurance talked about snow fall and snowmobiles on several of its Facebook posts. It’s not all about selling – it’s about talking to your customers about what’s of interest to them at the moment.
At the end of Reborn identity: Bringing emotion to insurance Wyman talks about building a culture of customer-focused innovation. The aim for innovation is “to improve the customer experience and, by doing so companies, will improve their own economics.”
He then goes on to offer the three key innovation imperatives – focus on the i) customer experience, ii) a structured process and iii) robust measurement.
By integrating a comprehensive social media marketing program into their marketing, insurance companies can accomplish all three – and as a result improve their own economics.
That’s a good insurance policy for long term growth.
What do you think as a consumer or insurance company rep? We’d love to hear your thoughts.