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Learn how clients rank their communication preferences – from text to voicemail

November 4, 2022

You have a new personal lines lead, and it’s time to follow up, but how?

Should you text? Send an email? Leave a voicemail? Does it matter how you reach out to new customers? And if it does, what’s the best way to make a good impression?

Based on recent Nationwide user experience research, here’s how clients rank their preferences.

1. Email: Reigns as the top preference

Our research found customers who purchased a policy in the past 6 months preferred to receive communications from their agent or Nationwide via email.

Top reasons included being able to document conversations, account changes, and transactions. Email allows them to easily sort through exchanges with their agent and carrier.

“I prefer email for all these things because I can save the info if I want. It is a safe and secure way to communicate.” – Survey respondent

Customers said they appreciated the access and portability of having email available on their phones. They checked their email regularly, so they saw it as the most reliable way to reach them – and the most convenient, allowing time to respond on their own timeline and not requiring a separate account to login to.

“I get email notifications on my phone, and I check my emails probably 30 times a day, so I won’t miss anything. I don’t need another mode of notification.” – Survey respondent

Overall, customers viewed email as:

  • Secure and familiar
  • Nondisruptive
  • It enables the ability to personally secure key documents
  • It provides storage essential to review transactions and interactions, if necessary
  • Efficient and timely
  • Ranked the safest channel for communicating with their insurance carrier
  • Less likely to be ignored than a voicemail

2. Text: If the situation is urgent, most customers prefer to be contacted by text

Overall, customers found texts intrusive and disliked them. If the communication is urgent, however, and a quick response is required, text is mostly preferred.

“Apart from reminding me to make a payment, I prefer to not be hassled by [text] messages.” – Survey respondent

In general, customers viewed text messages as:

  • Only for urgent situations requiring action
  • One of the least secure channels for communicating with their insurance carriers (only in-website notifications and push notifications ranked lower)

It’s worth noting, when it comes to the focus group ranging in ages 46-75 the preference is still for email, even for urgent situations. This group did not want text messages in any situation.

“I am old school and don’t care for texting and prefer to use email.”

“I hate phone calls. I hate text messages. Emails can be read when it is convenient for me.” – Survey respondent

3. U.S. Mail: Appreciated as a follow-up

Customers expressed an interest in being reached in multiple ways, especially if the situation was urgent. They appreciated a follow-up via mail to ensure they didn’t miss any critical communications.

“For important information, I like to be notified in multiple ways to be sure I have not missed anything. Rather safe than sorry.” – Survey respondent

Customers viewed the U.S. Postal Service as:

  • Reliable and familiar
  • A way to secure critical documents and interactions, if necessary
  • Preferred as a follow-up for items that require action but are not urgent
  • The third most secure way to communicate with their carrier after email and an in-website messaging inbox

4. Voicemails: Easily missed

Given the amount of spam call or spam filters, customers want to be reached through other channels. Customers also complained that there was no record left by a voicemail as there is with an email. They couldn’t look up the information later.

“I like phone notifications least because there is no easy way to save important information.” – Survey respondent

Customers viewed voicemail as:

  • Old-fashioned
  • Convenient and accessible
  • Easily ignored given spam-filtering apps
  • More secure than text, less secure than the online message center

Key takeaway: Let your message content determine how you contact your client.

As you work to build brand awareness and reach new customers, a multichannel approach is key, including a strong social media presence and informative website. However, finding this balance is often easier said than done. In fact, 53% of agents find it difficult to leverage digital marketing and social media to grow their book of business.1 Learn more about how Nationwide uses digital tools and technology to partner with you. For digital marketing strategies to consider implementing across different online platforms, view the video:


  • Nationwide research methodology

    P&C User Research conducted a national online survey of consumers who had purchased an insurance policy in the past 6 months. We fielded the study from July 7-8 and from Aug. 11-22, 2022.