Stan Sauerwein
Your Business|Managing Your Practice
Forget customer service, customers want speed of delivery | Canadian Insurance

Forget customer service, customers want speed of delivery

According to tech expert, Steven Frye, the next generation of buyers have already changed the business paradigm and brokers who want them as customers will have to adapt technically.

Featured in the wrap up session of the 61st IBABC conference, held in Whistler from June 17 to 19, Frye, a partner with Cookson Walker Consulting of Toronto, told brokers the next buying audience cares less about service than speed.

“Attention spans have shrunk. The next wave of customers don’t care how big the company is or who they are interacting with. They just want results and the speed of those results and they want to make it as easy as possible,” said Frye.

“The biggest challenge for brokers in this regard is that they have been promoting service for the past 30 years. I think that’s very important, but frankly the next buying audience doesn’t care.”

He says brokers can benefit from being conversant with things like IPOD and video learning, and use of video and texting as part of the sales strategy. Technology will help bridge the generation gap, he claims.

“To people under 30, texting is more comfortable that talking.”

Frye provided some examples of how to use technology.

  • YouTube:  Submissions could be commercials, testimonials or a source of information for potential customers, he says. “Maybe an innovation would be to have a channel that helps clients maximize their claim, or get paid quickly.
  • Facebook: Accounts provide a means to include advertising in which a broker can target an audience, track responses and pay for it by the ‘click’ or by the impression. Frye knows of an Ontario broker who invested $800 this way and sold 300 homeowner policies as a direct result.
  • Twitter: Another social networking site, Frye says it could be used to educate customers. As an experiment, staff at Cookson Walker created an account called Insurancegeek and without ever ‘tweeting’  they attracted 20 followers within hours. “If you have something you’d like to create a little buzz around, a Twitter account might be a way, but one thing I’d note is security.  From a liability perspective, an E&O insurer would be concerned about the info you post,” he says.

Other possibilities are the use of white space (bandwidth that is coming available cheaply as television networks switch to HD).

“Access to the Internet is going to become even easier than it is now,” he said confidently.

Skype, a free computer software product used for telephone and video communications, is a good example of how that extra white space will be used, he claims.

“Skype with video could be used for client or underwriting meetings.”

To illustrate how easily it can be done, Frye had Karen Rutherford, his associate in Calgary, contact the session via computer and explain the software’s use.

Frye also suggested training, online HR sessions for staff, and video monitoring of branch offices were other ways the increased bandwidth could be used by brokers in a cheap and easy fashion.