As a successful insurance agent for 26 years, I have seen firsthand how important it is to put the focus on the customer and their experience. And in recent years, mobile technology has played a major role in this shift.
Smartphone apps in particular have made it easier for insurance industry customers to view their policies, make changes to their coverage, download their insurance cards, and communicate quickly with their insurance agent.
But not all companies are embracing technology as a way to make the customer experience better. In fact, not all companies are using a customer-centric approach to business. According to Forrester's US 2022 Customer Experience Index, customer experience quality fell for 19% of brands in 2022 — the highest proportion of brands to drop in one year since the inception of the survey. In addition, customer experience quality has fallen back to early 2020 levels, reversing gains made in 2021. The drop stems from companies’ waning focus on customers even though customers expect more from digital and hybrid experiences. Providing better customer service leads to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
Before I get into the benefits of technology for the customer experience, let's first look at what "customer experience" actually means.
Customer experience, or CX, refers to the overall experience of a customer as they interact with a company or brand, from the moment they become aware of the company to the post-purchase follow-up. This includes all touchpoints such as the company's website, customer service, sales process, and physical office or store.
CX is important because it can have a major impact on a company's bottom line. According to a study by PwC, nearly two-thirds of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Additionally, research by New Voice Media found that poor customer service can cost businesses up to $75 billion per year in the US alone.
Here are a few other interesting facts about CX:
- In a survey by Forrester, 69% of consumers said that they have stopped doing business with a company due to a poor customer experience.
- According to a survey by Zendesk, 86% of consumers say that personalization plays a role in their decision to do business with a company.
- A study by the Customer Experience Professionals Association found that companies with a strong customer experience have a 4.5 times higher likelihood of retaining customers.
- A survey by American Express found that small businesses with a strong customer experience grow 2.9 times faster than those without.
I included these studies and surveys so you would know there is a mountain of research out there by reputable sources in support of companies providing great customer experiences, but honestly, I don't think we really needed any studies to know that a great customer experience is good for the customer and the company. I think it's obvious to all of us.
Knowing that a great customer experience is the goal for many brands, how they deliver that experience differs based on the company, the industry, what and how they sell, and many other. For example, a great customer experience for a local burger joint might simply be the in-store experience combined with a great burger. For an ecommerce company, it would be driven by the online experience and ease of ordering, purchasing, and returning products if necessary.
The benefits of technology for the insurance industry go beyond just improving customer service. A Harvard study found that mobile applications, for example, can also enhance the overall customer experience by providing convenient and accessible information and resources.
The insurance industry has been traditionally slow to change. Creating efficiencies and increased profit margins for the insurance agencies and carriers has been the prime focus for their adoption of new technologies. But in the past few years, we have seen the adoption of technologies that offer a better customer experience increasing as insurance companies discover the value of a customer-centric business approach. Pioneers, like Allstate, which introduced telemetric technology (a plug-in device or a smartphone app) to monitor enrolled customers’ real-time driving habits, such as sudden braking and excessive speed, so they could now rely on more-accurate data to offer a more affordable pricing model based on good driving habits, are, unfortunately the exception, not the norm. At the insurance agency level, it's even worse, with most insurance agencies still doing things the old ways.
At the very least, your insurance agency should have a mobile app to make it easier for you to to view your policies, make changes to your coverage, download your insurance cards, and communicate quickly with your agent. This type of mobile technology that most customers are used to using on a daily basis should be the norm, not the exception. And if your insurance agent doesn't offer a mobile app, it's time to consider whether they should be your agent at all. If they haven't adopted digital technology, it's highly possible they also haven't really adopted a customer-first approach, despite what they may say in the marketing and advertising, or to you directly.
At the Magoon Group, we believe that having a mobile application is now essential to the customer experience. Our mobile app allows our customers to easily manage their policies, make payments, and get in touch with us whenever they need to. Getting the right insurance coverage for your home, auto, or business should be as easy as a few clicks on your phone. Trusting that coverage is the right coverage comes with knowing that companies like the Magoon Group that are embracing new technologies are doing so because they care about the customers experience.