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October 5, 2016

Give Consumers the Experience They Want

Summary:

Success is simple. Just give your consumers the experience they want, through personalization and data analytics.

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Have you heard of the recent shopping trend, that consumers want experiences, not products or things? That’s been the inclination the last few years, and I bet it can even be translated to the insurance world. So whether your consumers are buying a service or a product, make sure the consumer experience is the one they want.

The customer experience is a funnel. Think about the entire experience consumers have with you and the many touch-points along the way. There’s the experience they have visiting or shopping on your website, opening or reading emails and content, as well as any phone calls or in-person communication. All of these points of contact help form the consumer experience.

Aim to optimize each stage of the funnel individually and make each touch-point as seamless as possible. Strive for consistency and ease of use.

How do you go about doing that? Two main methods are personalization and data analytics.

Personalization Is Key

Personalization is essential to a quality customer experience. Use the information you already know about your consumers to personalize each stage of the funnel. This will show consumers how attentive you are and improve their overall experience. You may also be able to personalize touch-points based on the context of location or other known aspects of life.

See also: Checklist for Improving Consumer Experience  

For example, an email may refer to the coming harsh winter season in the consumer’s state and then offer advice on additional home or auto insurance options. A phone call may refer to the last time the consumer called, or the conversation may end with a mention of a coming event largely talked about in the consumer’s city. Your website can be personalized to “welcome back, (consumer’s name)” whenever they log in or visit, or a form can be pre-filled with the type of car the consumer previously entered. Additionally, if you hold local events, your consumers may receive personalized mail or email about the ones located near them.

There are endless personalization opportunities to take advantage of that will help improve the overall consumer experience. Leverage the information you already have to make the consumer experience easier. You can also use data analytics to measure the success of the changes.

Data and Advanced Analytics

Use data and advanced analytics to measure and identify opportunities for improving the customer experience.

One optimal method is to use A/B testing. With this method, you can test a change against a control group to measure whether the change had more successful results. This can be used to measure the success of personalization changes or for testing other opportunities.

To determine testing ideas, take a step back and consider the consumer’s motives and needs. What are they looking for? What would be better for them—a more seamless online to offline transition, a different colored button, a two-page form instead of three? How can you make the consumer’s life easier? Whether you’re at an agency writing policies, working at an insurtech startup or delivering leads, set improvement priorities. Understand the company’s current consumer experience and then identify opportunities for positive change.

Don’t rush to implement these identified opportunities, but do rush to test them. While ideas are great, turning them into assumptions is not. You may be surprised by how one individual’s assumption or way of thinking does not match up when you look at a total set of individuals. Don’t deploy any widespread changes without first testing the ideas on a reasonably small scale, and then on a larger scale. If the results aren’t successful, move onto a new set of ideas to A/B test. As time goes on, and technology and devices evolve, there will be a near infinite amount of improvements to make.

You may find that consumers respond better to a different color form that improves their overall experience as they get in touch with an agent. Or they may open emails more often if the headline language is four words instead of eight. Different language in an email may lead to better results. Look at key data points such as the conversion rate onsite and click-through rate for emails to determine if that is the case. Once results are analyzed and changes are implemented, repeat the process and continue to optimize the consumer insurance experience.

See also: Want to Enhance Your Customer Experience?  

In addition to A/B testing, you can also streamline consumer data so that a customer will never have to answer the same question twice. The information will already be in one place. This will improve ease-of-use for your consumers so that they won’t have to repeat an answer that they’ve filled already filled out online or through the mail. Integrate systems to share data efficiently and securely to improve the customer experience whenever possible.

The Key to Success

The key to success is not a one-time adjustment to improve the customer experience. You need continuous updates and regular changes. EverQuote receives more than 5 million unique visitors per month. That means, based on the data, touch-points of the consumer experience may change month to month. Optimizing the consumer experience continuously and for the majority benefits us. Improving the consumer experience is a focus everyone in the company should know about, and all of the personalization and data analysis should naturally complement your other business practices. You may be surprised by how the profit follows.

Bottom line: The center of success will always be the consumer experience. Everything else revolves around that.

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About the Author

Seth Birnbaum is the CEO and co-founder of EverQuote, the largest online auto insurance marketplace in the U.S. EverQuote has been named to Inc. 5000 list of Fastest-Growing Private Companies for three years in a row and has over $100 million in revenue—with three-year revenue growth of 208%.

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