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Life Health > Running Your Business > Marketing and Lead Generation

Brand Loyalty Is Your Superpower

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What You Need to Know

  • Tech companies would like to compete with you.
  • You already have customer relationships.
  • The value of those existing relationships will depend on how smooth they are.

If you’re an agent, planner or advisor who offers products like insurance and annuities to help customers manage their health and wealth, you’ve no doubt seen alarming reports about big tech companies sizing up your industry.

After significantly disrupting sectors like financial services, tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are eyeing the $6 trillion insurance sector.

A McKinsey & Company overview on trends shaping the future of the industry describes the threat in stark terms, noting tech companies have voluminous consumer data, deep customer relationships and proven digital competency.

They also have all the technical skills they need to integrate rapidly and take full advantage of their massive datasets. With the ability to launch new products or businesses instantly, as the report puts it, “They’re here to stay.”

So, tech company market entrants are formidable competitors, but you have an asset you need to defend as the industry landscape shifts: brand loyalty.

You’re not a new player in this space.

You’ve got customer relationships, and you’ve earned your clients’ trust.

You also have the commitment to providing services that led you to this profession in the first place.

Let’s review what it will take to maximize these advantages going forward.

1. Know your customers.

Customer expectations have shifted in important ways, and their needs have likely evolved too.

It’s safe to assume something in your customers’ lives has changed due to the pandemic.

These changes provide an opportunity to anticipate their needs and be there for them, making it simple and streamlined for them to get the services and products they need as their circumstances evolve.

Tech companies like Amazon have unimaginably huge sets of data that provide unprecedented insight into people’s lives.

For example, if a woman in Boston buys a swimsuit and beach gear in February, she’s probably going on vacation, and tech giants use this data to suggest other items she might need.

You will also have to find ways to anticipate customer needs to remain competitive.

Partnerships with other businesses that can share relevant information can help you maximize your data to build brand loyalty.

2. Improve efficiency and transparency.

In another major shift, customers are more likely to look beyond just price.

They want to do business with companies who share their values — like a commitment to diversity, sustainability and ethical sourcing — rather than looking exclusively at price.

You can respond by being more transparent about your values and making sure vendors are also aligned with them.

All that said, price still matters.

Today’s consumers are more informed and intelligent than ever, and the information they need to make decisions is just a click away.

Your customers know what competitors offer and at what price, and they want a fair price from you too.

So, sharpen your pencils and eliminate excess costs so you can consistently deliver the best value.

Look for value-add opportunities through education, cross-selling and up-selling opportunities as well as partnerships.

3. Use technology to up-level your superpower: Brand loyalty.

Changes in consumer expectations may demand changes in your business strategy.

You’ll need to structure your business to offer products and services when and how people want them.

Consumer expectations have been reshaped by the seamless delivery of goods and services, and if you don’t take the friction out of processes, you will lose out to businesses that do.

Technology can help. It’s particularly critical to ensure that the claims experience and arrangements for managing annuity payout options meet expectations. Ultimately, requests for benefits are the moment of truth in the customer journey.

A negative customer experience can push the customer to shop for a different provider based on that moment.

A positive experience can make up for the payout and get long-term value from the relationship.

Your commitment to customers and experiences serving them are assets new market entrants don’t have.

You can build on this advantage by using technology to create better customer experiences and form new partnerships that expand data access, which will provide the critical insight you need to compete more effectively.

Going up against tech titans may sound like a daunting challenge, but with brand loyalty as your superpower, you can compete and win.


Tara KellyTara Kelly is the founder and CEO of SPLICE Software, a company with artificial intelligence-based systems that can help insurers, insurance distributors and other customers communicate with their own customers.

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(Photo: Shutterstock)