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Advertising feature: Giving the sales process the human touch is paramount post-Covid

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When purchasing insurance, customers turn to brokers for support to ensure the product is suitable and meets their needs. Rob Saunders, ActiveQuote CEO, explains why when it comes to the sales process human touch and interaction cannot be replaced by the online journey.

We already know selling insurance post-pandemic will be different. The market has changed as consumer needs, domestic set ups and, ultimately, people have changed too.

Therefore, bringing the human touch to the sales process has never been more relevant, not least when it comes to personal protection products. While the rise of the online comparison service has given consumers the power of choice they demanded in recent years, it’s time now to re-balance the scales between customer-led sales and expert advice.

With a new generation of customer flooding the market, we have more of a responsibility than ever as industry professionals to educate, support and direct those making enquiries – increasingly for the first time – towards policies best suited to their individual needs.

Not many of us would expect as a newly qualified driver to go off and buy our first car without some kind of warranty in place, so why should the insurance market be any different?

If we look at private healthcare, for example, around 90% of customers coming to market today are first-time buyers*. In a post-Covid world, the majority of these are looking to ensure that their healthcare needs will be met come what may, and bearing in mind the current waiting lists post the pandemic.  

They are less concerned with being able to choose where that treatment is delivered, or by whom, than more experienced consumers who have been active in the market for a significantly longer period of time. At the same time, the average price of a private healthcare policy has dropped by 9% over the course of the past year.

So, customers are increasingly relying on comparison providers and brokers to guide and support them through that first purchase process to help them get the best deal, but to also get the policy for their needs. And, while insurers have been working hard to adapt and develop their product offering to better suit this new demographic of customer, so too have brokers like us been busy enhancing our own sales and support processes to better support these kinds of consumers too.

Part of our approach here at ActiveQuote has been focused on improving the pathway to first-person advice through the benefits of technology, with the development of a new algorithmic model called Rubee.

The model allocates a score to every enquiry, which informs the order and frequency of the follow-up contact strategy. This enables ActiveQuote advisers to give customers with the highest intent to purchase the right information, guidance and support quicker, and those who are just browsing space to consider their options and not get put off by an unnecessary sales call.

As such, the number of customers we’re now providing first-person advice to over the telephone is a third higher than it was six months ago. Combined with a commitment from insurers to bring increasingly affordable and more relevant products to market, the number of enquiries becoming purchases has also increased by 56% in the past year.

In an increasingly digital world, the pandemic has taught us that human contact and interaction cannot be replaced by an online journey, and when it comes to reassuring a new generation of consumer that their healthcare needs will be taken care of regardless of ongoing challenges within the sector, this would certainly appear to be true. When the world shifts what people really need is a friendly voice and a guiding hand to help them back on track, something which is set to benefit us all in the post-Covid world.

*Based on sales made via ActiveQuote between March 2020 and March 2021.

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