7 Ways Insurance Companies Can Use SMS Marketing
Getting people’s attention has never been harder. If you want to reach them you need to find them where they are – and today that increasingly means their mobile. In 2016 it was reported that mobile browsing had overtaken desktop usage worldwide. Whilst as of September 2017 here, it still accounts for well over a third of browsing and the gap is continuing to close, meaning that mobile devices are truly where it is happening.
In addition to this, it is worth noting that according to Ofcom, 93% of UK adults own or use a mobile phone. Young and old alike are now using their mobile phone as a hub for all their communications, and with instant communication, the new norm, email – which was once the medium of choice for direct, electronic marketing – has lost its ground. This is evidenced by the huge difference in open rates and conversion rates. The latter currently averages 35% for SMS Marketing against just 2% for email.
With so much power at their disposal, there are numerous way the UK’s Insurance companies can put SMS messaging to work for building their business and managing customer relations. In this article, we look at 7 examples that can be applied to any type of insurance.
1. Appointment reminders
How much time is wasted by your agents because of people who miss their appointments? People are always busy, easily distracted and time just gets away from them. Research shows that the majority of no-shows for appointments are caused by the participants simply forgetting that they had made an arrangement. Sending an SMS message to remind them of an appointment can turn this trend around and help to reduce no-show rates and the associated costs. It also adds value to the customer by helping to make sure that they follow through on their plans – and this seemingly small gesture alone can go a long way towards winning that all important conversion.
Along with a reminder, you can also give clients the option to reschedule or cancel via text too. By making it easy for people to make changes, your agents will be able to manage their schedule more efficiently and fill in those last minute cancellations, as well as demonstrating that there is a human side to the company that recognises that the needs of individuals can change.
2. Important events
With the UK ranking as the 4th largest insurance industry in the world and largest in the EU, few other sectors are as competitive. Such an aggressive marketplace means that price alone is now enough to win over customers – it is often the personal touch that matters most.
SMS Marketing can help to add that human touch. Is it time for a policy renewal? Send a short message letting the customer know they need to take action to renew. Or just send a courtesy reminder if the renewal is automatic.
You can also send birthday wishes or acknowledge other life events with a text message. When your customers feel good about you, they’re more likely to stay loyal even in the face of lower rates elsewhere.
3. Cross promotions
With so many different types of insurance on offer, why not let your customers know about them? The multi-policy deal has seen a tremendous rise in recent years (just look at a certain nautical-themed insurance company’s latest TV campaign) and there is great scope for increasing the value of your customer acquisitions through upselling and cross-selling. If your customers do not already have a multi-policy deal, using SMS Marketing to send periodic offers is an obvious strategy.
4. Text for a quote
Your customers are likely to have their mobile near them at all times and access to fast, 4g wifi is increasing all the time. Earlier this year, the London Underground began introducing tube wifi, meaning that millions of commuters in the capital can now spend their journey browsing on their mobile device. This is just one example of the opportunities that lie in SMS Marketing.
A coordinated marketing approach might be to run a catchy display campaign on platforms with a shortcode for more information – for example, “Text INSUREME to 87007 and get a personalised quote in minutes.” This could be used to send a link to an app based survey tool or a short link to a mobile friendly site.
Click here to learn more about using shortcodes s shown in the example above.
Making the experience as simple as possible from the outset is a great way to instill a sense of trust in potential customers.
5. Knowledge Sharing
For example, you could send your home policy customers tips on how to keep their home safe while travelling. It could be simple tips like using a light timer and not letting the mail pile up.
Life insurance holders could use tips on staying healthy, auto policyholders could use safe driving tips. For every policy type you sell, there are probably dozens of preventative tips you share with your customers. They may not read their email or the post, but they will read text messages which could end up reducing the number of claims you receive.
6. Claims Management
In 2016, 97% of Protection claims presented were paid out. In addition, Travel insurers paid out £365m claims to travellers who needed help whilst they were abroad. Where once the focus of insurers was to avoid making payouts on a claim, there has been a paradigm shift in recent years to ensuring that claims are processed and settled as quickly as possible. If someone has filed a claim, chances are they’ll be anxious to get the situation resolved.
SMS messages are a great way to keep customers updated as the claims make it through your review process. Send a confirmation message when the claim is received, another one when it’s actively being reviewed, then another one letting them know if you need more information. Keeping them informed every step of the way helps put them at ease, but it can also reduce enquires to your call centres or agents for updates. Once the entire process has been completed, be sure to follow up with a feedback survey.
Do you know what your customers think of you? Have you asked them lately? Sending out a short SMS survey can be an easy and quick way to get some insight into how your company is performing, how you are perceived and what you are getting wrong and right. The surveys could be sent randomly to all customers or triggered based on events. Automatically send out a survey two days after a claim is closed to see what they thought of your process and results. Send a different survey out to people who’ve used your customer service centre recently and see if they had a good (or bad) experience. Survey results can always help you improve on what you’re doing and using SMS Marketing makes it quick and easy for everyone.
The suggestions presented are just a few of the ways the insurance industry can use SMS Marketing. Used effectively, they can help to reduce costs, increase sales and help establish your brand’s reputation for excellent customer service.
In this blog I also share a story from a previous job where timekeeping was critical to the success of the company and how SMS could have helped. For any business needing to keep track of employee time and payroll, SMS is a perfect fit. This simple form of communication is so versatile, it can be used for just about anything.
Can your business benefit from A2P SMS? According to recent research the answer is yes. See the industries that are using it and how the convenient and easy to use fastsms API can get you started, even if you don’t want to code.
One of the most interesting use cases for SMS messaging is the financial industry. Just a couple weeks ago I wrote a blog on 7 ways the financial industry can use SMS messaging to communicate with customers. In this blog I'll expand on the topic from a different perspective: personalisation.
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