(This blog is the second in a series of guest posts by Jacqueline Mundkur, a CX practitioner with deep experience across retail, telecom, logistics and CPG verticals. She is Founder & CEO The Nxt Levels CX consultancy. Here you can read the first post on how Co-browsing Seamlessly Traverses the Physical and Digital Worlds.)
Exposure to certain kinds of negative news or, a disruptive incident perceived to be potentially threatening typically precedes a heightened interest in Insurance products. But not all triggers are negative. In fact, interest in Insurance products coincide with personal milestones that include say the purchase of a new vehicle or a house, an impending trip, a new addition to the family or, as in countries like India even as a tax planning measure. Customers then either directly reach out to a reputable service provider, follow the referral of a colleague or relative or, as is common nowadays initiate a keyword based search and go on to do a thorough study of features and benefits associated with each coverage option.
Prior to committing to a long tenure product or one that is of a fairly large ticket size, especially in emerging markets like India, a face-to-face meeting with the company’s representative is preferred. This could be due to the perception that insurance products are difficult to understand. Or, it could be that for financial advice covering matters of risk and tax exemptions, customers may be more comfortable with personal discussions as it perhaps assuages their need for discretion or, privacy and security. This insight has compelled serious players in the Insurance sector to maintain sizeable feet-on-street teams who utilise this customer face-time as an opportunity to convert leads that may come in through multiple channels.
The physical restrictions associated with the pandemic have put a spanner in the works of this well-oiled acquisition engine. Ironically, industry players observe that while the customer’s interest and appetite for risk coverage have remained high, conversions from this channel have fallen. The opportunity to bring expeditious closure, address the customers’ multiple clarifications, share and understand the customer’s compulsions, which were easily addressed in one-on-one interactions, has seen severe restriction. It is said that there is a solution to every challenge and, insurance companies too have been ‘inspired’ by multiple instances where smart integration of technology has helped to successfully solve market challenges.
Enterprises today understand the value of being on hand to assist a customer at the exact moment they are showing intent and interest in an insurance product. Capitalising on this window of opportunity can make all the difference in the battle for the customer’s attention or when attempting to convert a prospect. It is no surprise that the popularity of co-browsing technology has grown exponentially in recent times due to this ‘in-the-moment’ advantage that it offers insurance companies.
So, how does co-browsing really help? As customers we have experienced first-hand the frustration of navigating through some sites and not making headway. Insurance companies who wish to communicate simply and coherently are often hampered as they have to display mandatory content required by the Regulator and that, can be quite off-putting for customers. Enough customer anecdotes on social media speak of customer confusion while navigating content heavy insurance websites.
Co-browsing can be a boon especially in scenarios where the customer who has been browsing online is stuck or confused with the overload of information. Alternatively, if a customer has started a chat on the site or is on call with an Insurance Advisor but the conversation is not making headway, the Advisor can direct them to the help button and ask the prospect for the 4-digit code that appears. Voila! And they are now both in a co-browsing session where they can continue chatting with an option of adding voice or video.
An Advisor can also set up an appointment with the prospect by sending a link to the co-browsing session. Which means that this session can be conducted either over voice or video where both prospect and Advisor can together move in tandem through the entire process. This includes choosing the right policy, understanding the fit to customer’s need, signing of documents, right up to making the 1st payment… thus closing the sales conversion loop. And all this happens in the confines of the customer’s home/ office and using the same browser tab of the co-browsing session.
Since co-browsing enables both the Customer and Insurance Advisor to see the same screens, it cuts through frustrating communication gaps. A full audit log of the session of each interaction is also available. Every action that each party takes can be recorded fulfilling the necessity from a regulatory and fraud perspective.
Based on a customer’s request, controls can be also effortlessly switched between the customer and the Advisor. Just suppose the customer requests for the opinion of another person say a family member or even the Advisor’s senior colleague to take part in the conversation midway, well that too can be easily enabled by the Advisor in real time. There are those customers who request additional time for consideration before signing up, which means that the Advisor can follow up by sending them a transcript or even an image on email.
With such compelling advantages in plain sight, most Customer Experience Managers/Distribution Managers within the Insurance industry would be tempted to immediately sign on the dotted line. However, pre-execution protocols are in place in most organisations especially before executing any technology solution.
Apart from justifying the business case and obtaining cross-functional buy-in, it’s the queuing up even after a positive Tech assessment that can delay the deployment and cause them angst and heartburn. The good news here is that co-browsing technology, like that employed by Surfly opens up ‘insta- start’ possibilities. Firstly, it needs no integration since it is a browser-based technology. Another plus is that it doesn’t need any preinstallation, configuration or installation of software. Surfly is also device and browser agnostic and, works easily with existing tools or digital channels.
For CX and Business Managers the compelling advantage that such simplicity and ease brings is that it furthers the customer’s perception of a caring company who progressively works to make their customers happy. Co-browsing essentially recreates the in-person meeting experience where the Advisor personalises the pitch to demystify and break down the complex insurance product while simultaneously building trust and committing action.
This act of virtual one-on-one collaboration has two additional powerful features: the customer can be completely sure that absolutely nothing outside of that single browser tab is visible to anyone else (rest of the browser, desktop etc) and, the company can also store sessions to fulfil any regulatory requirements.
To sum up, while an organisation’s compulsions may propel them to adapt and adopt newer technologies to achieve customer delight and top line goals, with co-browsing, they need not break their backs trying.