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Insurers are realizing the increasing need for a more impactful and tailored approach to their online sales process. A brochure-website doesn’t cut it anymore, as customers are expecting to encounter messages, product recommendations and offers tailored to their needs and a simple, personalized buying experience.

However, personalizing online sales processes can present some unique challenges. Insurers must develop a deep understanding of customers’ preferences and needs. They must also gain mastery over audience segmentation and leverage the right digital tools and technology to create an online digital buying experience that can be intuitive and satisfying for customers.

Get to Know Your Customer

Before we can improve the insurance experience online with personalized offers, messages, pricing and recommendations, we must first gather data and insights on our customers. Insurance companies need to invest in the technology, analytics and big data to develop a more comprehensive view of their customers and a better understanding of their preferences, behaviors and interactions.

Key factors like a customer’s age, income, family status and gender can help personalize the way we explain, present and illustrate offers. Other factors like which browser visitors used, how long they stayed on certain pages, browsing behaviors and previous searches should also be considered as it can help ensure offers and recommendations are relevant.

Customers are increasingly willing to provide usage and behavior data in exchange for better recommendations and personalized services. In a survey of more than 6,700 participants globally, Salesforce Research found76 percent of consumers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, 59 percent said tailored engagement based on past interactions is very important to winning their business, and customers are more than two-times more likely to view personalized offers as important versus unimportant.

By personalizing web content and accurately addressing the needs of customer segments, insurers can make more intelligent recommendations and increase conversion and sales. According to a survey by Mindtree, consumers indicated that personalized promotions encouraged them to buy products and services they have purchased before (78 percent), as well as relevant products and services they have never purchased (74 percent).

Employ Behavioral Segmentation

Instead of traditional segmentation strategies based on demographic attributes, personalization is more effective when coupled with behavioral segmentation. Here we examine our customers’ purchasing, usage and spending behaviors as it relates to insurance. For example, we identify and determine the importance of key events like upcoming renewal date, poor claims experience or life events on customers’ purchasing decisions.

It is still very common, when one visits an insurer’s website, to realize that all visitors are receiving identical information. Offers are explained, presented and structured in the same way regardless of the visitor’s age, income or family status.
Based on this segmentation, we can personalize and tailor how different groups of customers should be targeted with different offers to be more effective. Add-ons can be offered individually and adapted to each visitor and segment, individual sales architectures can be designed to ensure the suitability of the next best offer, and we can customize offers to tap into each customer segment’s willingness to pay.

Create an Intuitive and Satisfying Online Buying Experience

Digital sales processes should focus on simplifying the customer’s journey and eliminating pain points. Insurance products that are sold online need to be packaged and priced attractively and be self-explanatory. Digital tools and curated shopping experiences leveraging pictures, videos, short explanations and interactive tools can make selecting an insurance product a lot less painful and must be prioritized.

Additionally, we have to take into consideration the human decision-maker. We must invest resources to determine how to explain, configure and illustrate product benefits in ways that are transparent and easily decipherable. The value proposition and differences in available product options must be clear to the customer. This ensures the online digital buying process is intuitive and satisfying.

Finally, through customer studies, we test which of the selected elements used to determine the individualized sales approach make an impact and which do not. We work to identify product features important to specific customer segments and optimize content descriptions, add-ons and features for each segment.

By personalizing web content and offering customers a better digital experience, insurers have an opportunity to increase conversion rates, up-sell and deepen relationships with their customers.

Unfortunately, it is still very common, when one visits an insurer’s website, to realize that all visitors are receiving identical information. Offers are explained, presented and structured in the same way regardless of the visitor’s age, income or family status. Optional or add-on products are presented uniformly to all customer segments.

This lack of differentiation and personalization is alarming especially in an age of rising customer expectations, where customers demand relevant and usable data to help them make informed decisions. We must begin to transform our online insurance sales process into a more effective one.