From falling revenues to overstretched customer services, insurers are being hit hard by the pandemic — here's how WhatsApp can protect insurance sector profits and reputations.
Like other industries, insurance is contending with multiple challenges created by the pandemic. Chief among these is a huge increase in customer claims and enquiries about issues as diverse as travel (“am I covered if I get COVID on holiday?") and health (“can I gain access to private health services quickly?") to car insurance (“can I get a rebate because my mileage has halved?").
This increase in consumer claims, queries — and complaints — is putting huge pressure on insurers' customer service departments as they struggle to service each and every customer. And that's a real problem for the future: According to a recent Ipsos survey, offering a frictionless service is vital to acquiring new customers — and retaining existing ones. When choosing an insurance policy, respondents state they prefer speed, simplicity, and fulfillment over financial savings, and are more likely to select an insurer that can process policies and claims online.
Combined, that actually represents a significant opportunity for insurers — but also a serious hurdle for a sector that isn't perhaps as 'digital-savvy' as others. It's an issue though that can be solved by a solution already in the pockets of many consumers: The world's most popular messaging platform, WhatsApp.
Why WhatsApp is becoming the 'new normal' in CX
Already transforming customer experiences across multiple sectors from sports and travel to fashion, proactive insurers are turning to WhatsApp to deliver rich CX (see below). Used every day by over two billion people to stay in touch with colleagues and loved ones, the messaging platform represents an ideal CX platform for the sector because of its ubiquity and immediacy. Most importantly, customers want to use messaging platforms to connect with brands.
For instance, 90% of consumers say they prefer using messaging to communicate with businesses, according to Dimension Data. And that trend is expected to continue with Gartner predicting that 70% of all customer interactions will involve technologies including mobile messaging, chatbots, and machine learning by 2022.
WhatsApp: Meeting insurance customer needs end-to-end
From sourcing quotes and submitting key policy data through to documentation delivery and complaint management, here's how WhatsApp-powered CX can service insurance sector customers:
To reach out to prospects where they congregate, targeted insurance offers can be made via Facebook and Instagram ads. These can feature Click-to-Chat buttons that open a conversation between the prospect and the company in WhatsApp instantly. Learn more about how Click-to-Chat can be used to target prospects by reading tyntec's blog post here.
Making updates simple
Customer and their personal circumstances are always evolving. Providing insurers with updates about issues that may affect individual policies is inevitably an inconvenience though, requiring customers to send emails or wait in call center queues. WhatsApp removes this friction, enabling customers to instantly message insurers about changes to, say, names, addresses, payments and more, as well as request details on claim statuses and renewals.
Dealing with reluctance
Sadly, some consumers don't see insurance for what it actually is — offering genuine peace of mind for any eventuality — instead viewing it as a 'necessary evil', which can lead to delays to signing on the dotted line. To help hesitant customers, insurers can give prospects a gentle 'nudge' via WhatsApp — so long as it is within 24 hours of the initial enquiry — to remind the prospect of the offer's benefits as well as include further incentives such as a discount.
Delivering all in-app
Once the policy has been taken out, all policy information from the customer and documentation from the insurer can be exchanged via WhatsApp. This ensures the customer has all their policy details in one place as well as a digital record of every interaction; from that initial enquiry right through to the issuing of policy documentation. It means if the customer ever needs to make a claim or change personal details, they'll have all the details they need to hand, instead of being forced to hunt through multiple emails or piles of paperwork.
Staying on top
The pandemic has created fast-moving situations that many sectors have struggled to manage; just ask airline operators about their failure to communicate timely updates to increasingly angry passengers. It's a risk that can cause reputational damage to insurers too if polices change due to, say, a new COVD restriction, and customers are not alerted soon enough. However, WhatsApp enables updates and notifications to be sent to customers instantly, ensuring they are informed of any policy changes and can act on them if needed.
Protecting customer privacy and GDPR adherence
In an industry where customers are often required to provide sensitive personal information, WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption for all messages sent between the consumer and insurer. Insurance providers must also adhere to strict rules surrounding the management and storage of customer data. By partnering with an official WhatsApp provider such as tyntec that have data protection systems already in place, insurers can remain fully compliant with complex regulations including GDPR (see below).
Automating with bots
With 80% of insurance queries generated by 20% of questions, many queries can be more efficiently served by an automated solution rather than a live agent. WhatsApp-based chatbots can be designed to answer basic policy questions, take customers through the information gathering process, and push out notifications about policy updates and renewals. For more complex matters — such as a potentially traumatized customer making a claim — the bot can hand over to a live agent in an instant.
Automation is already paying dividends for insurers. For example, Cigna Hong Kong, a health insurance provider, deployed a virtual assistant on WhatsApp able to service customer queries 24/7, leading to three times faster response times for customer enquiries and a 91% customer query resolution rate.
Zero risk, all reward: How WhatsApp providers protect the protectors
With the pandemic tightening the screws on an already hugely competitive market, insurers should implement any technology that offers genuine benefits to customer experiences as well as bottom lines. However, like many other sectors, the insurance industry doesn't need any further disruption at such a critical time. It's why many brands are turning to official WhatsApp providers to take the strain of designing, implementing, and maintaining their chat app-powered CX experiences.
As well as taking the insurer through WhatsApp business account creation, an official provider such as tyntec can scale the service to meet the specific needs of the insurer. From bot deployment and vital analytics functionality to APIs that connect WhatsApp with existing commerce systems, tyntec ensures that initial investment in the messaging platform will deliver a meaningful ROI as well as optimized customer experiences.
Perhaps the question here isn't if the transition should be made but when as the ongoing pandemic threatens to continue disrupting both business and consumer lives for some time to come. By rolling out channels such as WhatsApp now, it ensures that when the world finally does emerge from COVID, the insurance sector is ideally placed to serve customers in a world set to become digital-first permanently.