Why Insurance Companies Need Omnichannel Customer Engagement

Customer engagement has become something of a buzz term in recent years, gradually and subtly replacing customer experience as a priority. In some cases the two terms can be used somewhat interchangeably. But the importance of customer engagement is that it entails “frequent contact” with customers over time. Customer experience can refer to a one-off interaction; customer engagement means building a relationship over time to cater to the consumer’s needs, not just for the sake of one sale or conversion, but in order to establish a long-term relationship with its customer.
Omnichannel customer engagement is become particularly valuable in modern business. The concept of omnichannnel engagement essentially means that a business strives to reach their consumers across multiple channels. Establishing a presence across different devices and networks and at different stages of a customer interaction, from initial curiosity, to product or service education, to purchase follow-up. A well-executed omnichannel engagement effort can work wonders in establishing loyal customers, and it’s something insurance companies should be looking into. Before we dive into how such insurance companies are transforming customer experience with omnichannel customer engagement, let’s look at a few examples of effective omnichannel engagement.

In food and beverages
The last few years have seen several prominent food and beverage companies employing omnichannel engagement to keep their products in front of consumers’ eyes, incentivize purchases, and make it easier for people to pay for goods, earn rewards, and develop loyalty. This is sometimes done via specific, creative marketing campaigns, such as when Starbucks launched a series of “funventures”  advertised in stores and tracked online. These amounted to contests rewarding customers for trying new drinks. But more commonly, we see companies like Starbucks, Chipotle, and others using mobile apps, social media and web content to give their customers as many ways as possible of engaging with products. At any time for example, any given customer can create a Starbucks account on his or her tablet, add money to it later on a computer, and pay from the same account in a store via a phone. This is effective, multi-function omnichannel engagement.

In electrical engineering
Engaging a customer in the electrical engineering space typically means providing the materials needed to build circuit boards and craft electronic devices. What we have begun to see in this space, however, is an omnichannel marketing approach that can serve to attract new customers and give them ways of interacting with products they may once have had less use for. Marketing printed circuit board (PCB) design, for example, can now consist of mobile app product engagement, social media explanations of what PCBs are capable of, and more. Additionally, customers who become curious as a result of these outreach efforts can engage in live chats and go through  PCB designing tutorials before making purchasing decisions. This is an example of omnichannel marketing making a whole field of products more widely accessible — and thus bringing in new types of customers.

In fashion and beauty
Fashion and beauty brands have found all sorts of ways to engage in effective omnichannel engagement. In most cases, the effort revolves around ways to connect product advertisements and catalogues, consumer preferences, social media and technology. For instance, a customer might browse through clothing online only to see a curated in-store shopping cart as a result; another customer might engage with a beauty product hashtag or Twitter campaign and receive coupons or special offers as a result. There are countless examples, but the idea perfectly encapsulates omnichannel marketing, engaging customers via a range of methods and mediums.
These examples and concepts show how omnichannel can help to expand a customer base and drive more regular and enthusiastic customer engagement. But they also revolve around industries that are more product-oriented in general. So how can companies in the insurance industry take advantage of similar strategies?
To answer that question, it’s helpful to think not of how to drive product engagement specifically, but rather of the benefits of omnichannel customer experiences in general. These benefits include things like convenience of access (insurance companies can provide by making themselves visible on more platforms); streamlined customer service (insurance company can bring about by using chatbots and syncing customer engagement across channels); and improved business performance (insurance company can do so by collecting, analyzing and acting on data via omnichannel execution).
As opposed to thinking how to sell products, insurance companies can focus on omnichannel marketing as a means of expanding visibility, increasing customer interactions, and building data collection operations. And by enacting these practices, these insurance companies can form more reliable bonds with potential customers, serve those customers more effectively, and ultimately generate more conversions and a stronger reputation.
In this way, omnichannel customer engagement can be incredibly helpful even in a business like insurance, which we wouldn’t ordinarily think of alongside more product-oriented industries better known for these types of marketing and engagement efforts.