March 30, 2020

What the Insurance Industry Can Learn from the Retail Industry When It Comes to Customer Experience

Customer experience has been an integral part of the conventional B2C sales model since time immemorial. Even before there were marketing analysts and growth hackers helping out large corporations and big-box stores, great customer experience and its importance was widely known.

“Customer experience is the new marketing battlefront” – Chris Pemberton

In this article, we will discuss how the retail industry has got its customer experience right and what the insurance industry can learn from it!

Importance of customer experience and how the retail industry is winning
Undeniably, one of the best customer experiences are offered by the retail industry, and not just today. Remember walking into a candy shop as a kid and getting extra candy? Or when you had a free scarf thrown in your shopping bag after a big family holiday shopping? Or a new bookmark after buying heaps of books- that’s a great customer experience, and it has been around for ages.

But customer experience is not just giving away free stuff…

Customer experience is made up of the little details that make your customer’s buying experience memorable and having them come back for more! It is about understanding the customer psychology and hitting the right cord to make their buying journey more personalized, decluttered, and not overwhelming. The retail industry is one of the first B2C industries that has combined age-old techniques and modern technology to create and offer curated customer experiences.

The insurance industry, on the other hand, hasn’t been so utilitarian to leverage digital technology to create enhanced customer experiences. As the insurance industry gears up to involve digital transformation to attract the millennial buyers, there’s a lot it can learn from the retail industry.

What the insurance industry can learn:

  • Moving Online and offering virtual buying experience

Today, buyers are looking for quick solutions that they can resort to at their convenience. If they want to order a fillet mignon at 10 pm, they don’t want to postpone it to the next day because the butcher shop is closed for the day, they want it right away. The retail industry has understood the urgency of today’s buyers and has made it available at a tap online. The insurance industry can take a cue and move online to help the millennial buyer purchase car insurance while she is sipping her coffee on a school night.

Moreover, what makes retail buying so attractive to the millennial buyers is the virtual in-store buying experience that the retail industry offers. With immersive AR and VR driven apps, websites, or PWAs (progressive web apps), the retail is offering the customer the ability to experience in-store shopping and product trials.

The insurance industry can also make use of online platforms, websites, and mobile applications to attract customers and offer them the flexibility of participating in the buying journey from anywhere and everywhere, at their convenience.

  • Customization and personalization

The retail industry makes use of personalized search engines to offer a bespoke experience to its customers, which means that the restless buyer is not annoyed with things she doesn’t want to buy while exploring the recommendations. This customized experience is created through analysis of customer search history, behavior, and preferences. On top of it, various methods are put to use to understand the customer’s gratification and is used to make up for the shortcomings in the next buying cycle.

The insurance industry can also ensure that the buyer is offered a customized range of products that best suit their lifestyle, needs, demographic, and is based on the data of their interaction history, purchases, complaints, and grievances using AI and data analytics.

  • Customer guidance, interaction, and engagement

Once the customers move to an online buying model, everything they perceive of your product is left to the imagination. With no sales rep to help around in finding what they need, designing a customer experience that ensures that the customers are not repulsed by too many options is essential. The retail industry does it well by offering comprehensive buyer’s guides (season-wise lookbooks, for instance), FAQs, and detailed product listing to ensure the customer knows what to expect in any product.

The insurance industry has more cumbersome products in terms of technicality. Therefore, they need to offer resource documents, guides, informative textual/video content via blogs and newsletters along with detailed FAQs and product descriptions to guide the customer as well as to maintain customer engagement.

Further, to improve the interaction, the insurance industry can make use of chatbots or voice bots to offer a heightened customer experience. Also, offering support across all channels- website, app, and social media is the key!

  • Offers and up-selling at right times

If there’s one industry that has the most advantage of seasonal holidays and festivities, it is the retail industry. And it has made use of the same by offering discounts and offers at the right time, with fantastic media blasts, driven with the help of data analytics and marketing channels.

The insurance industry has a lot to learn here. For example, just like the holidays are a great time to buy gifts for your loved ones, they are also the best time to show that you really care about your loved ones. And the insurance industry can graciously step in to fulfill the need.

Creating befitting offers, up-selling add-ons, and related products via social media campaigns and online marketing with the help of marketing analytics and ML can significantly help in crafting great customer experiences.

  • Simplicity

Today’s buyer has less attention span, and, hence, it is critical to offer a simple, easily navigable platform that doesn’t irritate or confuse the buyer. The retail industry does it well, by sometimes offering product purchase even via a simple Instagram DM. Keeping the sales cycle short, returns easier, and reorders quicker is how the retail industry contributes to its elevated customer experience.

Although the insurance industry cannot go the exact same way, simplifying the process from discovery to sales and after-sales is one of the prime deal makers of remarkable customer experience.

Time to transform
Now is the time for the insurance industry to step up their customer experience game and follow the footsteps of retail. While the retail and insurance industries may seem like oranges and apples when compared directly, remember the customer experience is still equally important. Because, if they are not buying from you, they are buying from someone else!

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