Millennials and Gen Z are overtaking Baby Boomers and Gen X as the largest segment of the insurance buying market, presenting a challenge for insurers who haven’t focused their efforts on digitally transforming their businesses. There’s no doubt that consumer expectations across all generations, but especially this younger cohort, have dramatically evolved.
But unlike many other industries, where online platforms have become the overwhelmingly preferred buying channel among younger generations, insurance is a bit different, especially in the U.S. In Duck Creek’s 2022 Global Consumer Insurance Insights survey, the company found that insurance buyers in the U.S. have a stronger preference to visit their local branch than any other geography (59% for car insurance and 48% for home insurance).
At a time when everything is moving to direct to consumer digital channels, insurance hasn’t necessarily followed suit. In some cases, it may be that poor digital experiences have forced shoppers to abandon the online experience. However, qualitative research has revealed younger generations value chatting with an insurance expert given many instances are the first time they’re making an insurance buying decision.
That isn’t to say policyholders and insurance shoppers don’t value digital, too, though. In Duck Creek’s survey, they found over 60% of consumers said they’d use online services to switch their insurance products, turning to web chat or agents if they encounter any difficulties.
So what does this mean for insurance companies as they consider digital transformation projects and distribution channel options?
Carriers have to avoid a channel-specific mindset. Improving the customer experience today and setting yourself up for success tomorrow isn’t about just optimizing chat or the self-service experience or your agent network. It’s about delivering one seamless customer experience, irrespective of the channel, that eliminates the disconnect. At Glia, we call that ChannelLess™ customer service.
What does ChannelLess™ service mean for insurance companies?
Multi-channel and Omnichannel have become buzzwords in the industry during this age of digital transformation. The trouble is those strategies have typically resulted in each channel being treated as a separate silo. So while channel choice has been presented to the policyholder, there’s no way for them to seamlessly move one from channel to another during the same engagement.
Imagine a policyholder logs onto your insurance company website and is looking to add their new teenage driver to their policy. They’ve been engaging with a service rep through chat, but they need to provide additional information that will be more easily communicated over the phone. While the phone is certainly a viable channel, in a standard multi-channel organization it requires the policyholder to dial into a call center, wait for the next available representative, and re-explain the issue at hand all over again.
Scenarios like these happen all the time—an engagement starts in one channel but needs to move to another. While an Omnichannel approach has enabled the customer to engage in any channel, it’s not designed to seamlessly pass from one to another. Instead, the connection is broken, leading to frustration and abandonment.
Research shows that 78% of consumers will abandon a transaction because of a poor customer experience—like having to make a phone call and duplicating the whole process again.
The insurance industry is unique in that policyholders often go many months without having any communication with their provider. Duck Creek’s research found that 32% of policyholders never heard from their insurance carrier on an annual basis. The lack of communication places an added emphasis and importance on the limited interactions. One poor service experience could mark a customer’s last!
Glia’s ChannelLess architecture seamlessly enables multiple channels within a single engagement, streamlining experiences for customers, agents, and managers alike. Learn more today about how other insurance companies are using DCS as a differentiator for their business.