Marketing & Distribution | Read Time: 5 Minutes

Marketing Your Customer Portal: "If You Build It, They Will Come"

November 17, 2016

By: Applied Communications

Man and woman in casual clothes walking in a cornfield at sunset. The woman is holding a laptop.It’s no secret that today’s consumer is becoming increasingly digital. In the age of Amazon Prime and Uber, everyday shopping and the need to hail a taxi are things of the past. In fact, a recent study by UPS stated that 70% of more than 3,000 people surveyed prefer to shop their favorite retailer online rather than in the store. A little closer to home, online and mobile banking options have become table stakes for banks to remain competitive.

The insurance industry is not immune to these changes. Agencies and brokerages using self-service portals have an immense opportunity to provide the anytime, anywhere service demanded by consumers. Customer self-service software provides greater flexibility and servicing options for your business by allowing your customers to review policy information, request changes, make premium payments, and report First Notice of Loss and track claims processing via the Internet and mobile app.

If You Build It, They Will Come – But Only If You Tell Them About It

Once you invest in customer self-service software, you might then ask yourself – now what? That line from the late 80’s American fantasy-drama sports film Field of Dreams comes to mind, “If you build it, they will come.” However “building it” is not simply having self-service capability and offering it to your clients. Rather “building it” means taking steps to actively promote your self-service offering to your customers. In doing so, you – and your customers – stand to gain the most value from your customer self-service software.

9 Ways to Gain the Most Value from Your Customer Self-Service Software

  1. Incorporate your customer portal into your overall web presence and brand

    Integrating your customer portal into your larger web presence can ensure your customers know self-service is an option available to them. Consider incorporating the self-service login into the top navigation of your website so that it’s always accessible from any web page. Branding your customer portal also presents a more polished, professional look. It gives your customers more confidence when accessing their information, especially if it’s security-sensitive information.

  2. Let clients access self-service via your agency-branded mobile app

    Available at the tap of an icon, customers have quicker, more convenient access to insurance information while on the go. A customer mobile app not only gives your clients the omnichannel service options they seek, it also gives your agency more credibility and builds your reputation as a modern digital insurance agency.

  3. Send an email to announce your new 24/7 customer portal

    Use the email functionality in your agency management system or coordinate with your technology partner to announce your new portal and app to your customers on your behalf. If you work with Applied, we will provide statistics regarding who opened the email, as well as who clicked to access your portal from the email announcement. These reports can be used to track engagement and encourage future adoption of the portal.

  4. Train your VIP customers and large Commercial Lines customers

    Host a webinar to educate your customers about the portal services and its benefits. For commercial clients who require certificates after-hours, promote how individuals can obtain those items online via self-service or offer electronic delivery of DEC pages securely through your portal. You can also consider onsite training, which can increase engagement and provide continued sales opportunities.

  5. Promote your new portal via social media

    Social media is a great way to get information out to your customers. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms to announce the portal, promote its benefits and provide ongoing conversation about its availability to increase customer engagement. You can also regularly post about the portal on social media as a way to entice new customers to do business with you and remind current customers about the many benefits they receive by doing business with you.

  6. Update your automated message system to include your portal and app information

    Your automated message system is another great channel to deliver important information to your clients. Customers are already listening intently for the representative to answer, so taking advantage of this opportunity to reach them when they call is crucial.

  7. Create a branded insert for your sales proposals

    Use the customer portal and mobile app as a unique value proposition when talking to prospects. Let them know that one of the benefits is anytime, anywhere access to customer service and important insurance information. Many agencies already use their customer portal as a value-add when attracting customers.

  8. Update your email signatures to advertise your portal and app

    Your email signature provides another opportunity to advertise your self-service portal and app to your clients and prospects. Take advantage of this placement and make it stand out by using your agency’s branding and a benefit statement such as, “Online customer self-service now available. Visit [insert your portal URL here] for details on how to access anytime, anywhere.”

  9. Add notices to your brochures, invoices, renewal documents and statements

    Just like in your sales proposals, add an announcement about your online customer portal and mobile app and use it as a unique value proposition. Include a link to your portal or incorporate a Quick Response (QR) code customers can easily scan with their mobile device to get directly to your portal login page.

Marketing your customer portal is an on-going process that requires consistent use of the marketing activities listed above.

If you’re an Applied CSR24 customer, you can learn more about marketing your customer portal by visiting the product information page in the Applied Community.

If you’d like to learn more about offering customer self-service to your clients, use these resources.

Applied Communications

For more than 35 years, Applied Systems has led an industry we helped to create with a mission to continuously improve the business of insurance. Insurance agencies and brokerages have faced new challenges and demands on their businesses over time, and we have been there to guide them. Since 1983, Applied has been at the forefront of insurance technology, leading the way through innovation. As the insurance industry becomes increasingly global, we are delivering new technology and expanded multinational capabilities for this changing marketplace.