Ignore Your Policyholders for Prospects’ Sake: 3 Key Opportunities Your Insurance Site is Missing
To say that insurance products are complicated is an understatement. If you’re in the insurance business, you know complication is one reason why supporting your policyholders is such hard work.
And if you’re in charge of your insurance brand’s website, you must constantly listen to your policyholders to improve their digital experience. Right?
Well yes, but … not constantly. Sometimes, you need to ignore your policyholders.
Here’s why. The path to a competitive digital experience can be counter-intuitive — and the curse of knowledge may be holding your insurance brand back.
Definition: The curse of knowledge is a cognitive bias that occurs in communication, where one party assumes the other party has the background to understand.
It’s critical for insurance companies to realize that policyholders have very different needs than that other extremely important buyer persona in the insurance space — prospects.
To become a policyholder, a decision-maker must gain basic knowledge about the policies you offer, coverage benefits and requirements, and why your company is a great choice for them.
As this knowledge is gained — from word of mouth, a broker or agent, a print brochure, your websites, and more — the policyholder forgets the time before they knew what they now know. But we’re here to tell you that you shouldn’t.
Once a decision-maker becomes a policyholder, their focus shifts. Policyholders are intent on meeting requirements, making payments, and utilizing benefits. Task-oriented users appreciate digital experiences that speed them to the right details, help them complete tasks quickly, and let them get on with their day.
But drop a prospect on a site that’s over-focused on supporting policyholders, and they feel like they’re in an alien world.
“We see so many insurance sites that forget to welcome and engage newcomers, to simply define what they do, and to offer a clear call to action for those ready to engage for the first time,” says Kevin Hurwitz, Praxent’s Managing Partner.
To create a great experience that builds confidence from the first click, and motivates prospects to engage with your insurance company, keep in mind these key concepts about your insurance buyer personas:
Make a great first impression.
Having a long history is a great way for an insurance company to instill a sense of trust. But old age can be undermining if it’s true of your website. Use great photography, thoughtful typography, and a color palette that helps site visitors understand how to interact.
“Some industries have traditionally under-invested in design, perhaps viewing it as an ‘expense’ that did not directly benefit policyholders. But in a digital age, design is experience,” says Tim Hamilton, Praxent’s Founder. Digital experiences must be up-to-date with modern aesthetics and capabilities. If not, sites become too painful to use, and suggest your products and services may be behind the times as well.
Tell your story and set expectations.
“Insurance site users we’ve talked to often say things like, ‘I just want to know what they do!’ Insurance companies have a big opportunity to cut prospect frustration with simplified messaging that highlights the value proposition in a human-friendly way,” says Deanna Dial, former VP of Clients Services at Praxent.
Tell new users why your company is the best choice. If your products are complex or entail certain requirements, work to create simple frameworks that set expectations up-front. Tout your benefits, customer service, and time-saving tools. Do whatever you can to paint a simple picture of what being a policyholder is like.
Give them an easy place to start.
If you’ve made a great impression and set expectations effectively, your prospect may wish to engage. Don’t leave them hanging! What must prospects do to act on their motivation to become policyholders?
For many insurance companies, the answer may be complicated. Perhaps they need to talk to a broker or agent to complete a transaction. Can you connect them with a broker, saving time on both sides — or can you give them a quote online? Even when this is not possible, ask yourself: What can we do to keep the conversation going?
Of course, listening to existing policyholders will always be critical to your insurance business. But it’s just as important to realize that policyholders aren’t telling you what they needed when they were prospects — and prospects who don’t engage won’t tell you why they didn’t.
Overwhelming new prospects with details they weren’t ready for is a likely culprit.
With a constant policyholder chorus of “How do I do this,” and “Where can I find that?” in your ears, it’s no wonder digital experience teams get over-focused on the details, details, details.
Don’t let the curse of knowledge make your digital experiences skip saying hello to new folks, simply stating your value, and welcoming prospects to the just-right information they need to make their next decision.
Even brokers and agents will appreciate your efforts to improve digital customer experiences for prospects. “Agents have told us that when a site supports prospects and brand new policyholders well, it gives an agent confidence to recommend their products, knowing their clients will have a great experience,” said Mark Power-Freeman, user researcher at Praxent.
Understanding the prospect point of view can really pay off. Look at your insurance company’s digital experiences with fresh eyes — as if you didn’t know a dividend from a daffodil — to see what impression you get from your site.
Is your value proposition clear? Do you set expectations so new visitors can make a simple mental map of your offerings right away? Does the site give prospects an easy, logical place to start the process of becoming a policyholder?
If not, put your existing policyholders aside for a second. Consider simple digital experience improvements that will build more momentum with prospects.
Thinking through the insurance buyer persona’s customer journey from the beginning is well worthwhile. After all, even policyholders are prospects at renewal time.