Want to Buy an Insurance Policy? But what does Jill from Iowa have to say?


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Best Buy has a mobile application that allows you to scan a product code while in their stores so you can immediately read the online reviews. On the face of it, this sounds great,

Best Buy Mobile Review App

 access to independent reviews at the point of sale – but is this a disturbing trend. We are more inclined to stand around reading reviews on a tiny screen rather than approach a person in a blue shirt. Is it because Best Buy help is hard to find – and it is – or that we (or Best Buy management) do not trust their advice? Probably it’s because 84 percent of consumers value reviews over expert advice.  

This goes towards the changing role of the ‘trusted adviser’. Social media is fast challenging the role of the expert, all experts. We used to seek advice from travel agents, now we go to Tripadviser to seek the advice of fellow travelers. We used to judge a movie on whether Siskel and Ebert gave 0, 1 or 2 thumbs up – now we want a 1000 thumbs up.

Reviews are ubiquitous for consumer products but is the insurance agent about to join the travel agent? What about the mortgage or investment adviser? It seems we are moving in the same direction, take an insurance product, and assuming it is the right product – a discussion for another day – there are 2 key things consumers what to know – price and reputation. Insurers are falling themselves with offers of quote engines and cheaper prices online. As for reputation, one key question is how well does the company pays a claim. On this who do believe or trust – an agent or an existing customer that has filed a claim. So, can we expect user reviews to propagate across financial services? The quick answer is yes and it has started already.

USAA, Progressive and Nationwide are already in this space.  USAA describes user reviews as a ‘game changer’. Prior to USAA’s launch of the reviews, 28.4% of shoppers who viewed the auto loan product page started an application in the same session. The percentage grew to 30.1% after the implementation of the ratings and reviews. USAA’s auto insurance quote starts grew from 30% to 31.2%. USAA estimates that the rise in application starts resulted in 15,978 additional products and policies across its main product lines in the first year the ratings and reviews were active.

USAA were able to test the process quietly and knew before full roll out what customers would likely say. Late entries to this game might be surprised by what is said and it might be a game changer for the wrong reasons.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Terry Golesworthy
As the president of The Customer Respect Group for 7 years, I focus on the online experience of consumers. Online experience has always been bigger than the company website, from the response to email to integration to other offline channels. It has now grown to include social media.


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