How the evolution of customer behaviour is reshaping the insurance sector

The insurance industry has an unenviable reputation of providing complicated policies that are obtained through a cumbersome and time-consuming process. For many customers this means a confusing and frustrating experience.

And in an increasingly digital world, consumer loyalty is no longer a guarantee. Modern day consumers will move their custom to businesses that offer a simple and convenient user experience at best value. This trend has only been accelerated with the onset of COVID.

For the insurance sector, it is essential for companies to not only get up-to-speed with the latest digital consumer trends but stay one step ahead to offer the most fit-for-purpose product or service that is complemented by a positive customer experience.

It starts with customer insights

Rapid market movements and changes in customer behaviour are driving a step change in the collection and assimilation of customer insight that is subsequently converted into action. A prime example is the seismic shift from public transport to private vehicle when lockdown was introduced.

Data from the Department for Transport revealed that public transport usage dropped by as much as 90% early in lockdown and is still currently down more than 70% compared to pre-COVID levels. This meant that the luxury of pre-planned market studies with linear decision making flowing out of the insight had to be replaced by the need for rapid ‘in-the-moment’ assessment of changing customer demands.

This was achieved through greater utilisation of light-touch agile methods, coupled with the ability to make robust intuitive marketing decisions from imperfect data in a time where speed is king. It’s not about perfection but achieving positive outcomes at pace in a rapidly-evolving consumer landscape.

Ongoing and proactive customer engagement is key

Customer engagement as a means of understanding, as well as fulfilling changing customer demands is crucial. Dialling up customer engagement capability of an organisation is more important than ever in enabling businesses to stay close to customers and differentiate responses and action accordingly.

Whether that be from a geographical perspective reflecting differing restrictions, adapting distribution like the motor industry’s move to remote selling of vehicles or sharing the profit burden by offering preferential promotions to encourage customers to part with a share of their reducing wallet.

Playing back compelling solutions that more closely meet the diversity of need will cut through the ‘standard’ COVID response noise. It’s about being more relevant to the customer – on their terms, and by their side. When the customer wins, the business wins too.

A well-run customer engagement programme can lead to improved conversion rates. For example, converting previously non-purchasing enquirers into paying customers, or converting one-time buyers into multi-buyers. Another business benefit of an effective customer engagement programme is encouraging repeat customers to come direct via owned channels – reducing exposure to paid search.

The best products and services are co-created with direct customer input

It goes without saying that even the best customer engagement programme will be ineffective if customers are not satisfied with the product or service they are receiving. At Tempcover, we’ve introduced a fully-enhanced digital user experience that was co-created with customers – with multiple-stage research and testing resulting in a fit-for-purpose user experience based on customer demands and expectations.

The end result is a simplified user journey that enables our full customer base to gain easy online access to our service offering and to interact with us seamlessly. Our super-agile digital offering also brings fully-comprehensive temporary car insurance straight to customers’ fingertips, through a quick and simple user experience that involves a simple policy confirmation process that enables customers to get a quote within 90 seconds. Our customer advocacy is clearly evident in our TrustPilot scores – where 81% of over 20,000 reviews receive an ‘Excellent’ 4.6/5 rating.

Looking to the marketer to navigate the future

It has never been more important for players in the insurance industry to truly know and understand their market. Adding valuable insight and direction to a business facing significant change means the role of the marketer is particularly pivotal in navigating how best to serve changing customer needs and serving those needs differently.

Those who lead through change will undoubtedly build valuable experience, demonstrating breadth and depth of capability – standing them in good stead for onward opportunities. The legacy will shine a light on the key role of marketing to lead, shape and set the direction of an organisation and how to win in challenging circumstances. The legacy will also challenge long-standing ways of working and reveal a new world order where speed, agility and pragmatism trump formulaic inflexible methods.

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