In today’s increasingly digital world, customers generally expect not only to do business online—they want it to be fast, easy and convenient. This means that independent insurance agencies are no longer just competing against each other, they’re competing with every other online experience a customer has, regardless of industry.
Because the bar for delivering a good online experience to customers is high, the quality of this experience has a direct impact on your agency’s success. We’re here to help you level up by sharing five impactful ways to support your customers’ online experience, including providing a user-friendly website, offering client portal access, utilizing live chat, harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) and surveying your customers to illuminate improvement opportunities.
Design your website in a way that’s user-friendly
There’s no better way to enhance a customer’s online experience than at your digital door—your agency’s website. It’s likely the first stop for a prospect to learn more about your services or a customer looking to connect. What can you do to ensure your website passes the user-friendly test? Consider the following digital elements:
– Intuitive navigation—Whether it’s learning about the services you offer, requesting information or reporting a claim, intuitive navigation means that when a visitor lands on your website, it’s easy for them to find what they are looking for. If your navigation isn’t intuitive, visitors may lose patience and leave your website in frustration.
– Page load time—How many seconds does it take for your website’s home page to load? Customers typically expect it to be within one to two seconds. For every additional second, it grows more likely that the person won’t hang around to find what they were looking for.1
– Mobile-responsive design—Making your agency’s website mobile-responsive means that images, text and menu options are sized correctly to be viewable from any type of device, whether it’s a cellphone, computer or tablet. If not, words can be jumbled, images may not align properly and visitors may have to scroll endlessly to find the information they need. Without the smooth and seamless experience a mobile-responsive website delivers, visitors may be inclined to click away. Furthermore, the proportion of people using their mobile devices to visit websites outweighs those leveraging laptops, driving 61% of visits to U.S. websites in 2020 (up from 57% in 2019)—making it more important than ever to have a mobile-responsive website design.2
For additional website insights, read about ways you can market your agency’s website and watch this video on how to enhance your website to attract and retain clients.
Utilizing client portals
When it comes to managing their insurance, customers appreciate having convenience at their fingertips. Providing customers with secure access to a client portal gives them the ability to self-serve on various insurance-related needs. Typically, a client portal is accessible via link from your agency’s website or mobile app, providing users the convenience to view their accounts and manage activities such as adding life events, making payments and handling claims, whenever and from wherever they are.
The convenience of a client portal not only benefits your customers, it also helps your staff by freeing them up to focus on more meaningful work, such as selling new business or consulting with existing customers on more complex insurance needs.
A new partnership between Glovebox and Nationwide can also help Nationwide-appointed agencies better serve their customers online. Using Glovebox’s platform for personal lines business, customers will be able to get basic policy questions answered, request coverage changes and access insurance documents online without having to call their agents.
Enhance your customer service with live chat
When it comes to dealing with common questions and service issues, many customers are embracing live chat over the perceived hassle of waiting to speak to someone on the phone. In fact, 42% of online retail shoppers expect businesses to offer live chat options.3
Integrated into your agency’s website and/or mobile app, digital chat software functionality enables fast, responsive communication between your staff and online users. Customers can use live chat for getting assistance with filing claims, requesting insurance cards or securing policies—providing them with a convenient, more responsive customer service experience.
Use AI in your processes
AI uses computers and machines to engage in human-like activities, harnessing data for learning, decision-making and problem-solving. Your agency can also take advantage of AI-powered tools for managing customer service processes, including virtual chatbots and assistants. For example, a customer who needs assistance can access a chatbot right from your agency’s website. Chatbots are smart, so they can guide customers through numerous queries without staff intervention. What’s more, they’re available 24/7, extending your customer service capabilities beyond normal business hours.
In addition, AI can support your agency’s operations. For example, an AI-powered assistant can help staff manage emails, maintain calendars and even provide recommendations for streamlining processes.
Regardless of what you choose, the adoption of AI-powered tools in your agency’s processes can increase customer satisfaction and retention while also boosting operational speed, accuracy and efficiency.
Listen to customer feedback
Agency success and delivering a good customer experience go hand in hand. How do you know how your customer experience stacks up? One of the best ways to find out is to ask. By surveying both current and former customers, you’ll gain valuable insights to help you understand what’s working well and take action on what’s not.
To survey current customers, include a link to a customer experience survey in your agency’s monthly newsletter and staff email footers, and/or send a targeted email campaign to your customers to get feedback quickly and efficiently.
It’s nice to know that people are satisfied, but finding out why people stop doing business with you can be even more valuable. As part of your business termination process, send emails inviting former customers to complete a survey or simply reply with their feedback.
Get started today
Ready to get started on building a better online experience for your customers? Check out our Agency Forward guide to agencytechnology, where you will learn about key strategies to take your online capabilities to the next level. Also, be sure to save the dates and listen in to Nationwide’s ongoing technology webinar series, navigating the agency technology landscape, which is designed to help you digitize and optimize your agency’s technology solutions. Finally, remember to take a closer look at how Nationwide’s partnership with Glovebox can help your agency solve certain servicing aspects of the insurance process through digitization.