Studies show there is a significant correlation between time to close and whether you have secured new business.
This isn’t surprising, considering the importance of a fast and seamless customer communication experience, especially for the new generation of consumer who expects everything to be quick, effortless and intuitive.
In order to work toward creating an ideal environment for securing new customers, it’s important to first understand where the most reoccurring points of drop-off are from a consumer standpoint and what causes these issues.
1. When your data collection is slow
Courting new business is successful when a carrier shows two sides to their business: The benefits of your coverage and the simplicity of working together.
That becomes difficult if the early stages of data collection are slow, repetitive and poorly designed.
Some insurance companies still rely on manual, paper-based or archaic electronic entry mechanisms that don’t focus on the customer. Poor mechanisms such as broad questions without clearly defined answers, neglecting additional follow-up questions based on a previous selection, and neglecting to provide sufficient guidance reflect negatively on both the carrier and the agents handling the policy.
Carriers should work toward creating documents that capture all relevant information in one sitting, without the reliance on outside reference or help. This could be the difference between shifting potential customer perception from a seemingly never-ending process to a controlled one with a clear conclusion.
By adopting intuitive document design and streamlining the on-boarding process, carriers can greatly reduce the amount of time to close.
A simple change of moving from paper to paperless, for example, in key areas of the on-boarding process can make a major difference in terms of cost per mailing and time between touch points. Modern customer communication management technology is allowing carriers to rapidly deploy automated intelligent onboarding forms that dynamically guide the customer, facilitate add-on purchases, and even add instructional video content.
A recent Technavio study found that the global document management market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14 percent over the next four years because of the paperless processes — not only for environmental reasons, but to account for the addition of preferred screens such as mobile and tablets.
2. When your response is slow
Drop-off can be high as a result of sub-par communication between the agent and the insurer after the potential client is through the submission process.
Deborah Smallwood, founder of Boston-based Strategy Meets Action, alludes to this in an interesting article comparing a poor communication system to medieval times, highlighting the misunderstandings, wasted resources and antiquated practices between the “kingdoms” of agents and insurers.
When a customer provides information to an independent agent for a quote, they will typically shop this information to one or more carriers. This information is often conveyed either manually (paper, fax, email) or electronically. If it’s electronic, the agency management system and carrier systems must communicate — but this conversion is anything but a seamless process. When the carrier responds to this information, it’s the same process but in reverse.
With so many different agency management systems needing to translate to carrier systems and vice versa, this process is often long, confusing and tedious, which can lead to client fatigue.