customer experience, Customer journey, Customer journey mapping capability, Customer journeys, customer-centric, Digital customer experience, financial services, life insurance
The life insurance industry continues to face several long-standing and well-established challenges – low levels of consumer interest and engagement, a lack of knowledge/ understanding of products, and generally low levels of consumer trust in insurance brands (to name a few). Today, in the age of the customer, life insurance companies are also faced with:
- The speed of technological change – seen as both an opportunity and a threat by insurance CEOs
- Digital disruption
- Increasingly demanding consumers, who a) expect a connected customer experience and b) are less loyal to insurance brands
Recently named as ‘Best Online Life Insurance Provider’ at the 2017 Your Money Awards, Beagle Street are a company who have, since starting out in 2012, faced these challenges head on and are truly embracing the age of the customer. A recent experience of purchasing life insurance with Beagle Street has enabled us to illustrate the key success factors that contribute to them getting it right…
#1 Strong and differentiated branding
I’d personally been putting off purchasing life insurance for months, having done some initial research via specialist online aggregators and then telling myself that I would ‘do it later.’ I was only prompted to think about life insurance again when I saw Beagle Street’s recent TV ad. My initial reaction was, ‘Who?!’ Being honest, I’d never heard of the brand; however, their informal and friendly branding and tone of voice stood out against my perception that life insurance brands can be ‘stuffy’ – so it got my attention right away. The ad. went on to build positive perceptions of the brand in two ways – 1) it spoke to me in my own language – plain English, not insurance jargon and 2) it highlighted Beagle Street’s free will service (amongst other things) which, to me, said that the business has integrity. This wasn’t enough to convert me at this point…but it did put Beagle Street firmly on my shortlist.
Again, I waited a while before acting – prompted to re-engage with the sector by a text message from a (rather persistent) Independent Financial Advisor. My further research, this time via one of the big four comparison sites, put Beagle Street at the top of the list on price (they were cheaper for a higher level of cover) – reaffirming my perceptions re. integrity.
What stood out to me next was the ‘about us’ section on their website, which gave me the impression that their proposition genuinely had been developed based on a sound understanding of customer needs…and this, in turn, made me feel that I wanted to take the next step on my journey – a deeper exploration of how they might be able to meet my needs.
#2 A clear and simple explanation of products
I then decided to start the online application process, though wasn’t completely sure if I’d see it through to purchase at this stage. It’s worth pointing out that I do know a little bit about life insurance, having previously worked with various insurance brands; however, this was the first time that I had personally purchased it – so I’m by no means an expert.
The clear and concise explanation of the different product types was therefore really helpful – not too much information but just enough to confirm that what I thought was correct…and there was further information available if I needed it.
#3 A quick and easy online purchase journey
The application process itself was super quick (it took me about 10mins from start to finish) and was really easy. A couple of things that contributed to this were:
- I was able to do a ‘quick quote’ before the full application
- Throughout the ‘quick quote’ I was only shown one question at a time
- Questions were displayed in a clear and visual way, using large icons (like in the screenshot above) and boxes
- The application form was really intuitive (e.g. my personal details were pulled from the ‘quick quote’ through to the full application) and…
- …finally, it felt like minimal effort for me as I didn’t have to do a lot of typing!
As well as the above specifics, it’s also worth noting that I was able to complete the end-to-end application form online – i.e. via my channel of choice – something that, even today, we shouldn’t take for granted.
#4 A memorable welcome
At the end of the application process a pop-up appeared, offering web chat with a message along the lines of, ‘Hello, welcome to Beagle Street, would you like to chat?’ I didn’t take them up on the offer as, at that stage, I didn’t feel that I needed to; however, it did make me feel ‘welcomed’ as a new customer. You may argue that they could/ should have offered web chat earlier in the journey (when I may have still had some product-related questions to answer to inform my decision) – and there is definitely a case for this. However, the fact that it was offered when they already had my business made me feel that they genuinely value me as a customer. They also followed-up quite quickly with an invite to complete a survey, which tells me that they are interested in my feedback – and, as a result, it re-affirmed that they value their customers.
#5 Clear comms. that set my expectations
And last, but by no means least, was the way that they clearly set my expectations at key points in the journey. Upon completion of the application, I was told the three things I should expect to happen next, alongside my key policy details, who to contact if I had a problem, and three things I may want to do myself (see below).
I’ve gone ahead and done the first of those two things and, on their part, Beagle Street both sent my documents and uploaded them online. However, if I were to highlight one area for consideration, it’s the role that other channels may play in supporting this digital experience/ ensuring a connected experience across channels – e.g. I don’t recall them contacting me directly for my ‘welcome call’ (as promised above).
I was left feeling genuinely positive about a) the fact that I had purchased life insurance and b) that I am now a customer of Beagle Street. I now have high hopes about my experience moving forwards as I sense that Beagle Street values me as a customer – it will be interesting to see if or how they engage with me to remind me of how my policy meets my needs throughout life over the next few years…