Your clients need to hear from you.
Let me be clear: Your clients don’t need a once-per-year card wishing them a ‘Happy New Year’. They need valuable, targeted and regular guidance that is bespoke and industry-specific. They need to know about upcoming regulatory challenges and whether they have proper cover. Above all, they need to know that you’re there to answer their questions.
The role of the broker is changing. This is not news. We’ve written about it here. Increasingly, as the insurance industry is beset on all sides by new competitors and agile disruptors, insurance clients will expect their brokers to not just sell, but guide.
And, this new emphasis on providing guidance is why regular communication with your clients is so important. Routinely sending useful guidance to your clients positions you, the broker, as an essential part of your clients’ financial success. There are many reasons why you should be communicating regularly with your clients—here are four of the most important:
- They want to hear from you. When clients only hear from you come renewal time, you may have a hard time justifying why you deserve their business. Compound that with the fact that you haven’t provided any useful guidance during the last twelve months, and it’s enough to send your clients searching for another broker. Your clients want to hear from you—38 per cent of UK insurance consumers prefer receiving communications at least semi-annually from their brokers, while only 23 per cent actually do, according to the most recent data from Ernst and Young. That’s a 15 per cent difference between expectations and reality. Even more, 60 per cent of respondents to an independent 2015 industry survey said their insurers only contact them once per year, probably around renewal time.
- Insurance consumers are confused. Insurance is confusing. If you don’t demystify the jargon for your clients, who will? This is not just anecdotal—a May 2015 Consumer Intelligence survey found that 51 per cent of respondents had trouble understanding their cover due to policy jargon. And, a May 2015 FCA review found that ‘insurers and intermediaries had not always taken steps to provide sufficient, clear and consistent information on the overcall cost of…insurance’. Sending your clients regular communication that helps to demystify the insurance landscape can create loyal, informed customers.
- Clients need to be steered away from ineffective price aggregator websites. These websites provide clunky, ill-fitting cover—and they are one of your biggest competitors. Provide your clients with something indispensable that a website cannot provide: guidance. If you fail to keep in contact with prospects and clients, they’ll simply rely on price aggregator websites which give no bespoke advice, just one-size-fits-all policies that collapse under pressure. The market pressure from these websites is real: A 2014 global survey commissioned by Google estimated that 75 per cent of all insurance policies will be sold online by 2020. Last year, 50 per cent of insurance policies were sold online in the United Kingdom, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. What are you doing to differentiate yourself from price aggregator websites? The easiest and most effective answer is sending regular and valuable communication to your clients.
- Insurance is becoming more customer-centric. With more telematics-enabled products delivering ever-more valuable information to insurers, insurance policies are becoming more and more bespoke. By selling policies tailor-made to the consumer, brokers should be ready to support those customer-centric policies by facilitating access to up-to-date legislative and industry-specific information. Almost 50 per cent of respondents to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey on insurance customer experience said that more accessibility to insurer/broker guidance is central to improving customers’ experiences. Consumers now expect businesses to communicate with them, on their own terms. Insurance is a relationship-driven industry, but old-school prospecting will no longer suffice. Enhance your customer communications to ensure existing and prospective customers are receiving important content on their own terms. This helps create loyalty and exit barriers.
Communicating with clients on their own terms is crucial. But I’m not talking about regular face-to-face communication—your clients are too busy for that. Communicating with clients on their own terms means communicating via email, social media and other digital channels like FaceTime. Failing to do so helps reinforce negative stereotypes of the insurance industry as stagnant, and it sends your clients looking for a broker who will change with the times.
The easiest way to make this change and jump-start your client communication efforts is by relying on Zywave’s Broker Briefcase and MyWave Connect sales and marketing tools. They allow you to continuously provide your clients with clear, valuable and up-to-date content to help them stay compliant, informed and successful.
Differentiate yourself from the pack and ensure your future success by communicating regularly with your clients. For an overview of the kind of content that brokers’ clients who use Zywave tools can expect in 2016, click here.