While most insurance company websites are useful, they are a bit passive both in presentation and interaction. However, the opportunity to employ technology to attract sales and build stronger customer relationships has never been better.

Here are three key technology concepts you can use to guide the design of your sales and service processes:

1.     Process Autonomy. Design a highly interactive website that pulls the prospect through an iterative process that presents information specific to that individual based on a combination of their expressed interest, goals and answers to well-formulated questions. This enables prospects to build a solution that’s best for them, either during or prior to a consultation and tweaking session with a professional agent or broker.

2.     Transaction Transparency. The typical customer has little or no understanding of what happens after he or she answers all the questions. Not knowing what is happening can be frustrating, and can even reverse the purchasing decision. Enabling applicants and agents to look in on the company on a real-time basis and see the progress their case is making through the process takes away the mystery and keeps them engaged.

3.     Social Networking. Customer and agent surveys are very useful, but even more effective are individual dialogues to better understand what they are looking for from you. This information becomes invaluable for product design, customer service and future technology improvements.

These technologies are already in general use in other industries, from courier service tracking to pizza delivery. Banks to car companies are making use of social networks for Web-based customer panels. Some auto repair shops enable their customers to log in and see their cars being worked on. These emerging, “cool” features will, like many emerging technologies, become the standard expected from every company. Couple all of this with Internet-enabled mobile devices, and agents and customers are totally engaged in the process, including prospecting, sales, application, service and benefits.

Ben DiSylvester is executive director of The Robert E. Nolan Co., a management consulting firm specializing in the insurance industry.

Readers are encouraged to respond to Ben using the “Add Your Comments” box below.

The opinions of bloggers on www.insurancenetworking.com do not necessarily reflect those of Insurance Networking News.

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