Hold On! How Insurance Carriers Waste Time and Money

wall clock and dollarsInsurance carriers and financial services companies are using more mobile advertising. According to my devices, I am a pregnant woman who is in need of Medicare supplement insurance and have multiple pets. Aside from the ads served to me, mobile advertising is reaching the uninsured or potential switchers in the marketplace. This is great news for the future of insurance and new customer acquisition efforts. Insurance mobile advertising is attracting Millennial and Gen X consumers, two cohorts that have not been insurance shoppers or buyers, as well as lower and middle income consumers, with a high presence of children in the household. These markets are the most underserved and have the greatest need for insurance. They are prime candidates for direct to consumer sold products. A new study from the Marchex Institute titled “Financial Services & Insurance: 2015 Mobile Advertising Performance Report” has found that 56% of callers that make a two-minute or longer call to insurance or financial services companies from mobile ads are new customers.

While mobile is attracting a high percentage of new prospects for insurance companies, and driving them to call, the customer experience for these potential new policy holders is discouraging. According to the report, the average on hold time per call at a call center is 1:39 and for a local agent it is 2:06. In today’s instant gratification world, and expectations of real time response, hold times of over 90 seconds are not acceptable to the consumer. Getting the consumer to respond to an ad and show their interest is hard to do and expensive. The younger, less affluent consumers responding to the mobile ads are typically uninterested in purchasing insurance, either because of the cost, the lack of understanding the need for insurance, or because they do not trust insurance companies. Keeping a consumer on hold is not the way to endear them to the brand or the insurance buying process overall.

It is important to make the consumer feel wanted and valued. Keeping consumers, especially new customers, on hold is not the best way to build a relationship. Creating a positive consumer from the first contact is likely to increase the lifetime value of the customer relationship. In today’s media culture, if the consumer does not have a positive reaction to the experience, they can quickly disconnect with one carrier and research and connect with another, all with the touch of the keypad. The experiences I have had, good and bad, have been with companies that I am already doing business with. If I had a bad experience with a new company, or felt my wait times were too long, I would quickly move on to the next company, selling the same product.

Time is money, as the famous saying goes. It takes money to convince a consumer to spend their time on the phone with a new company. It is important that nothing is wasted, especially the consumer’s time and the insurance carrier’s money, by putting a consumer on hold. With each tick of the clock, you can hear the future sales slipping away.