As most of us who have an interest in the Protection industry, I have been following some of the observations and comments that are currently getting an airing in respect of Protection sales. Particularly attractive are the calls for government intervention, such as the creation of an auto enrolment style participation, or tax incentives for purchase of life and health cover. Or calls for greater education of the public. However, these all resonate with the sense of desperation that comes from a realisation that we have lost our ability to connect with or influence the customer (or would-be customer). The Protection Gap seems to be the only thing that makes the National Debt feel manageable.
However I recently read a thought provoking blog on the excellent Protection Review blog section by Neil Sharp. He was referring to the insight offered by Forrester Research, that 2010 marked the beginning of ‘the Age of the Customer’, citing the Amazons and other e-commerce driven businesses that have mushroomed in value. Traits of these customer-obsessed companies include the ability to focus intensively on the ‘customer experience’. This involves the collection of reams of data and feedback, and the ability and willingness to react quickly and concentrate on the retention of a client.
It struck me that the generally accepted model for Protection sales represented the antithesis of this new world, and greater effort is required to address this. Currently the Protection world does not live in the Age of the Consumer. What they former prefer is uniformity, quick conversion and standard terms. The proof of the pudding is the low conversion rates that exist from quotes that are requested across the industry against the business put on risk. The current approach is a numbers game, haemorrhaging applicants who cannot recognise their own requirements in a monolithic process obsessed with price.
Which brings me to the point of the article. Webline have created a new dimension to Protection sales in the form of Features Driven Quotes, which has the supreme virtue of being able to engineer quote requests and process responses based on the cover requirements of the individual. The market leading Synaptic Product database has been aligned with the Webline quote request process, allowing advisers (or consumers) to rank their quote responses according to suitability based on features. This is the first of a series of innovations planned, including Amazon style ‘social reassurance’ promoting the relevance of the cover over price alone.
From the dark depths of the world of anonymous, numbers driven quote generation, we are shining the light of ‘client centricity’. The solution is now being offered to existing Webline customers, and to any organisations who wish to test these new capabilities.
What is not clear to us at this stage, is the extent to which advice based businesses will use the new Feature Driven Quote capabilities to tailor their Protection sales. Our hope is of course that they will.
The live service is now available for your consideration. The service is entirely automated, and delivered via the Webline web services. This means that you can specify, build, evolve your advice or guidance process; and owning the ‘customer experience’ as you wish it to be.
The following screens show an example of the service.
The screens below show the results of a quote request, and the subsequent application of the new Features Driven process. We believe that this will provide a better outcome in terms of client satisfaction, better persistency, higher margins.. success all round. The tyranny of price has been broken.
There are literally hundreds of ‘features’ that can be flowed into the advice process – maintained in the system by the market leading Synaptic research team’s efforts.
The provider and product information below is from our ‘demonstration environment’, and is for illustration purposes only.
The first screen shows the basic customer information capture and how the user can define the levels of importance to features that are important to them.
Clicking the stars on the standard results below will allow you to explore and compare the product features using the new functionality.
This screen shows how the relative importance of different features can be assigned.
The final result shows the most appropriate product for the client – which is not necessarily the cheapest.