Customer messaging platforms are a great way to keep in touch with your existing customers and for engaging new prospects. Messaging platforms have been around for a while varying from simple chat solutions to more sophisticated platforms that combine marketing activities, customer support and client self-service via chatbots.

While the technology isn’t necessarily new and has seen some adoption by the insurance community already, there is a large variety of potential use cases brokers should be aware of.

This article explores the various uses brokers can make of customer messaging platforms as well as other ways brokers might interact with such platforms.

Responding to your customer queries effectively

The first and perhaps most obvious use for messaging platforms is customer support as evidenced by an increasing number of websites that tote some form of online chat window. Adding such an element to your website can create a frictionless channel for customers to post their questions and get quick feedback in their preferred manner (there is evidence that chat is becoming the main channel with calls reserved for escalated queries). According to recent consumer trends, having an efficient chat/self service solution can reduce a website visitor from abandoning their journey.

Marketing

Some customer messaging platforms also have outbound marketing capabilities with contextual insight allowing you to capture the contacts of people visiting your website as well as their activity/conversation history, which can later be used to send tailored messages about cover they might potentially be interested in. Intercom, for example, has integrated emailing capabilities which allow you to do bulk emailing to a number of website leads with dynamic content based on the person’s interaction with your website or app. E.g if the person had browsed the Motor Insurance section on your site it can trigger a relevant message to pop up in the website chat or trigger the appropriate change of content in outbound email.

Manned vs Automated chat solutions?

There has been a lot of talk of chatbots in insurance media thanks to companies like Spixii making large strides in automating the customer experience. This does not necessarily mean that fully automated solutions are necessarily the way to go for all brokers. Brokers offering more complex lines of insurance such as Commercial Combined might find automating the entire customer journey on a chatbot challenging, but sometimes it can make sense to automate at least part of the journey. For instance, a chatbot is able to very successfully capture a website visitors name, email and general insurance interest after which a real person could take over. This transition can be made quite seamless, but the technology is not perfect so brokers should consider notifying customers when they are talking to a bot vs an actual human being.

Other ways brokers can benefit from customer messaging platforms

Brokers can also benefit using customer messaging platforms that aren’t necessarily their own. Insurers and MGAs should consider integrating messaging tools to their existing broker portals to service their brokers faster. The upside of this is that brokers can have direct access to their underwriters while they are working on the platform so if they need help with a quote they are able to post their question and get feedback from the same channel. This saves the trouble of switching to email or call and can also make the problem easier to identify for the underwriter as brokers can conveniently post screenshots through the chat window. Some platforms (e.g Intercom) can also track user activity helping underwriters to quickly get to the bottom of the issue.

Where to start?

Not every broker has an online sales platform so the simplest way to start is by integrating a messaging system to your website.

There are numerous platforms to choose from: Intercom, LiveAgent, Zoho SalesIQ, Freshchat, Kayako, Drift, LivePerson to mention a few.

Thankfully, many of these platforms are also easy to integrate without much technical skill needed. Pricing models vary from the user based to volume-based models, meaning decent customer messaging platforms are affordable also to smaller brokers.

The article was first published on Insurance Age blog.

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