By: Raymond Wynne
It seems that Covid-19 has changed the world as we once knew it. The Insurance broker’s job has not been immune to these shifts in behavior and the industry will probably never be the same again. Face-to-face appointments are impossible at this moment, so remote interactions with the client are fast becoming the new normal.
So what options does a broker have? The key focus should be on how to manage the client expectations during this season and to try mimic the personal touch. Those brokers, who focus their efforts on the customer journey and adapt, will gain an advantage over those who are resistant to change, or who are slow to adopt to the latest technologies.
Here are some remote tools, which might assist you.
A conference call is a great starting point. This is a step-up from the normal telephone call, because the client can see you, in the virtual equivalent of a physical meeting. Our brains are exceptionally adept to reading non-verbal facial expressions, which help us to make rapid judgment calls, so even if you need to switch the video off, to continue the discussions on voice only, this experience will assist you to close the deal, or to improve the customers’ claim experience. Zoom video calls are a good example, and these have become popular because their interface is smooth, the “screen share” feature works nicely and because they are currently giving away a free 45-minute session. Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, Facebook Advanced and Webex, are also offering some free services during the Coronavirus pandemic. Whereby, formerly called Appear-in is not as popular in SA yet, but this conference tool is probably the easiest technology to use and to share with a client, because no one needs to upload any software for the video conference to function.
Suitebox is also a good option for brokers, because they offer a video conferencing tool, as well as a virtual meeting room, where documents can be uploaded prior to the meeting, with a view to sign. The one major concern with all of these video conferencing tools is the general lack of reliable broadband within SA. Even those people who are privileged enough to have 100 MBS fiber-optic lines, are complaining about slow speeds, and the regular breaks to these connections. Most of us have experienced the frustration caused by a lagging line and some video calls might come to an abrupt end.
Formintel.com is a great solution for the Insurance broker who is looking for a competitive advantage during this lockdown period. They specialize in the automation of multiple PDF forms and in digital signatures, which makes the customer experience really pleasant. Their system saves a lot of time and effort for both parties, because it removes the need to repeat certain required fields, like name, address, telephone number, and your children’s names etc. and works off a dashboard for the broker and an email, with a web form for the customer. The Formintel experience is definitely enhanced with a video call, but this is not required to complete any of the transactions. The bandwidth required for a video conference call is about 1,2 megabytes per second, which some households do not possess, but Formintel works with a single email, which requires 0.075 megabytes, once-off. Their software solution works on a cloud service similar to Dropbox, so you can retrieve the signed PDF’s via this file-sharing service, even if the client does not have any signal.
Most brokers have traditionally uploaded their completed documents onto a tablet and then driven to the client for discussions and for signing. This exercise can be legitimately replaced with an Electronic or Digital Signature, with the exception of a property transaction. Docusign or Easysign allows you to upload a PDF, and send these forms to your client for signatures. KeepSolid Sign and SignNow are two other viable “remote signature” solutions.
WhatsApp is our favorite messaging app in SA, which also has a video call feature and most of us have been utilizing Skype for many years, so there is no excuse for you to be loosing any business during these unusual times.