HOW TO ENSURE LOYAL COSTUMERS?
Acquisition and retention are the main goals of the insurance industry today. Attracting new customers to a market where the offer is now saturated has become increasingly difficult; the real challenge, however, is retaining loyalty over time, preventing their immobility. All this becomes even more difficult bearing in mind that the Italian situation is characterized by a brand-user relationship strongly mediated by agencies, directly or indirectly, on which the company itself is often unable to exert full control. According to the World Insurance Report 2014 by Capgemini and Efma, loss of loyalty in the insurance world is often associated with a customer’s experience: Italy ranks nineteenth on the customer satisfaction list in respect of the insurance service received; only 30% of the policyholders considers it positive, as opposed to 70% whose opinion regarding the experience is neutral or even negative.
This is why companies are increasingly resorting to promotional actions such as web advertising or pure engagement contest, which encourage the simple acquisition of unqualified persona data or – in the best of cases promote the entry of new policyholders without sustaining the relationship after the acquisition. This situation, on the other hand, is fostered by the proliferation of on-line comparison portals which allow for guided policy activation without considering the policyholder relationship.
Companies today are becoming aware that their goal needs to be an improved brand-user relationship, encouraging a direct dialogue with the consumer, in spite of the limited product purchase frequency. The answer to this need could consist in adopting a strategic digital relationship program, whereby the brand opens up to the user (prospect or acquired account) by making available a number of touch points – from traditional adv, to social media, app, contests. The consumer, after having been engaged, becomes involved in a behavioral loyalty path which gives customized opportunities of increasing value in return, based on the response to specific inputs – for example, answering a qualifying survey or inviting a friend to join the program. In this way the brand is also suggesting a path to keep the user’s attention throughout the period which helps reduce the withdrawal rate from the underwritten policies by continuously offering more appealing opportunities. Finally, the mapping in real time of individual digital interaction in respect of the brand and of the information shared over time, allows for a behavioral profile definition; in combination with the parameters already benchmarked by the company, this will make customized offers and dedicated services possible depending on the individual needs and through the right channels, thereby improving la customer experience day by day.
According to growth forecasts, in five years’ time one third of the insurance company business will digital-related. The Italian market is not yet as mature as in North America, South Africa or The Netherlands; it is becoming, however, increasingly digital-oriented, which makes it necessary to fill the gap between expectations and demand. The use of strategic digital relationship programs could be a solutions for those brands wishing to establish a direct relationship with their policyholders, at the same time facilitating the efforts of insurance company’s strongholds – the agents – by offering them new tools to make potential customers curious and boost loyalty.