Digital transformation, this expression is everybody’s mind. And present in all sectors! However, it seems that the insurance sector is really aware of the need to transform itself, or at least to metamorphose. And this change, this acculturation is done at all levels, from the insurance company to the insurance representatives. Let’s focus on connected insurance representatives.
Issues related to digital transformation in proximity networks
The challenge related to digital transformation is simple. It is simply a question of the survival of local networks. Today, in the insurance sector, in the banking sector and even in the retail sector, a physical agency that merely offers a presence in traditional distribution channels does not have a lot of future in mind. Indeed, consumption patterns have evolved. To be able to seduce the new generations, especially the “Y Generation”, you have to “emeet” them on the digital channels. When we are talking about digital channels, we mean social networks, customer reviews, SEO, comparators, a website… And in the customer relationship in insurance, we talk about connected insurance representatives.
The phygital, the match between the network of proximity and the digital media
We are now talking about phygital to summarize the complementarity between the physical network and digital.
What reality does it hide? The insurance representative can receive the person in the agency to advise him or her and then conclude the appointment by sending him or her a contract which can be signed by email, for example. Or conversely, the relationship starts from a comparator site, then followed by several exchanges via email. Finally, the future client goes to the agency to be reassured on some last points of his contract before signing it in the presence of his or her insurance representative. At the “TDay Insurance” held in Paris on November 7, one of the speakers from the Malakoff Médéric Humanis group said they had planned 100% digital sales routes. And yet, even in this context, only 30% of sales ended up staying on the digital channel. This means, in other words, that in more than 2 sales out of 3, the customer needs contact with his representative, whether by phone or agency.
In the years to come, the space occupied by the shop or the agency will evolve. The agency will almost no longer be a sale point but a meeting point, where the consumer, whether insured or simply customer, can live experience with his or her representative. The relationship with the insurance representative will have to focus on the emotional aspect of the relationship (in this regard, read Customer emotion: at the heart of branding strategies).
Actions with low added value will be deported on the digital channel: questions about contracts, requests for supporting documents… These low value-added actions can be processed in self-care mode, by robots or by artificial intelligence.
Digital transformation, a rapid step for an insurance
Traditional insurers, who have not yet approached their digital transformation, are reluctant about being present on the digital channels as this would damage their brand image. It is a mistake! They must quickly take the plunge, if not they may be swamped by the events and be left behind by pure Internet players. Today, the controlled use of digital channels directly leads to an increase in commercial opportunities. Indeed, a presence on the comparators directly ensures a gain of additional prospects. This gives better visibility of the brand, allows access to a new target as well. These new players, the comparators, are making a phenomenal communication effort. Then, it will be the guarantees offered, the price of benefits and the quality of the relationship that will make the difference. In this new era where the customer has become more versatile than ever, it is important to be present on these new sales channels. Then, it is the quality of the Customer Relationship that will make the newly acquired customer stay on board!
Digital best practices for a connected insurance representative
In terms of digital good practices, some insurance companies offer their representatives turnkey tools to put a website online, communicate on social networks… But beware! There is nothing worse than a digital strategy that is not consistent with the brand image. In the insurance sector, more than elsewhere, the representative must have a serious image. So, this is not recommended to post his holiday pictures on Facebook and mix his friends and customers. Methodically choosing your social networks is a crucial step. Another advice, bet on responsiveness! Indeed, being present on the Internet implies that the representative will need to be reactive. Requests for quotes that come from the website or from a web comparator will have to be treated as a priority because the customers who are behind have a compressed view of time. It is thus necessary to centralize the requests in a single space, and whatever the channel used by the prospect.
The connected representative, the responsibility of the insurance company
In addition to the communication tools, another tool is essential to master this digital transformation: a unique customer repository. The danger when it comes to digital transformation is to treat the digital channel as a separate channel. But it is a channel like any other, it must have the same treatment conditions as the others, even an even faster processing time. A CRM, which will serve as a unique customer repository, will help break silos by promoting collaboration between different departments of the company.
Beyond the hardware and software, the insurance company must take the training into account that goes with it as much as the content. As said above, nothing is worse than a person who goes digital without having thought about it beforehand.
The first steps for an insurance representative to address digital transformation
Personally, if I were a representative, the first thing I would do would be to challenge my insurance company by asking what they plan to help me on the road to digital. Finally, the advent of digital does not mean the end of the physical network. So, I would rethink my agency as a meeting place, I would train my staff in the basics of the customer relationship. Make an agency visit a real experience…
And to finish the loop, I would strive to set up KPIs to help me ask for more time and budget from my insurance company.J.
To go further
Finally, to complete this first approach, I would subscribe to the next conference organized by the IDC dedicated to Banks and Insurance on November 21. The theme? Banks and Insurance, industrializing innovation. To register, it’s here.