Our Wired World

Making Millennial Contact

How mobile can help win new millennial business

by Stephanie Lynn Trunzo, CDO & COO

Ms. Trunzo is the Chief Digital Officer and Chief Operations Officer for PointSource, helping to drive vision and bring operational excellence to this growing IBM Premier Business Partner. She manages the design, delivery, and marketing organizations, creating intuitive experiences built on cutting edge technology, while crafting agile and efficient collaboration patterns. Stephanie collaborates with clients to explore the customer journey, identify transformative mobile moments, and build strategies for successful mobile launches. Visit pointsource.com

In the U.S. alone, millennials make up over a quarter of the population.

While this generation has been known to put off major milestones like marriage and parenthood (and often struggle with substantial debt), millennials are quickly growing into a more stable position. In the next few years, a significant percentage of the American populace will take on new responsibilities — making major purchases like homes and cars.

This tipping point is a great opportunity for insurance providers to earn new business, tapping into millennials newly realized purchasing power. However, despite the growing insurance needs of young consumers, providers — or any company for that matter — cannot treat millennials shoppers like generations past.

While millennials will soon make major financial investments, their research and purchasing practices are quite different from their parents and grandparents.

The Big Difference is Mobile

One key trend insurance providers must pay attention to is mobile. Since birth, millennial shoppers have been inundated by a digitally driven world. Many hardly even remember life before the Internet and have had cell phones since middle school.

In 2014, a Nielsen report found that 85 percent of millennials aged 18-24 owned a smartphone device. As such, they have an increased dependence on the Internet and mobile devices, with 93 percent of millennials using their phones even in bed.

In order to effectively reach millennial consumers during the insurance shopping process, providers must embrace a mobile strategy that understands this demographic’s evolving preferences.

One in five millennials exclusively access the Internet via mobile devices, which means insurance providers without a mobile presence will miss out on 20 percent of their audience. There’s no denying that millennial shoppers spend a great deal of time on mobile and are making major purchases on their devices. It’s safe to say they’ll do the same when researching and conducting major life decisions like insurance.

The Key Characteristics of a Strong Mobile Experience

This dependence on mobile apps and devices means that millennials will not tolerate a user experience that’s not optimized for mobile. For instance, if an app or site is confusing or slow, millennial shoppers will disengage and take their business elsewhere.

Recognizing this, insurance providers must develop a mobile app or website that integrates with the entire digital strategy in a way that provides clear value to users. To do so, companies should focus on these three key mobile features:

  • Self Service Options
    Policyholders want to determine when, where and how they manage their insurance, and mobile makes that convenience possible. When conducting simple insurance tasks, such as paying a monthly bill, self-service is a must.A policyholder should be able to log into his or her account via a mobile device and make a payment within minutes.
    Insurers can augment traditional customer service hotlines with strategic content, like tutorial videos and blog posts. While policyholders may have once had to pick up the phone to monitor their policy changes or ask about insurance quotes, providers can now answer these questions online in an informative and engaging way. Perhaps their concern can be addressed in an FAQ or thoroughly explained by a service representative via a pre-recorded video. Mobile allows providers to put these resources at customers’ fingertips. While seeking out one-on-one assistance is in some cases the better choice, insurance companies should first give millennials a self-service option, as this is the opportunity younger shoppers have come to expect.Additionally, offering self-service options that are unique to the insurance provider’s mobile offering can help prevent a situation where users download a company’s app and then delete it because they don’t find lasting value. For example, mobile offerings allow policyholders the freedom to manage their accounts at all hours of the day. If a shopper wants to purchase a car and needs to access his proof of policy coverage, he can pull up his policy on the spot on his app and complete his purchase with ease.
  • Cross-Device Capabilities
    The millennial generation may be mobile-first, but this does not mean these are the only devices used by consumers. While insurance providers need to focus on mobile when marketing to millennials, they cannot forget about other service channels like desktop and tablet.No matter the channels and devices a company includes in their digital strategy, providers must create a consistent, seamless experience for their users, while also differentiating use cases for each device. No matter what device your customer uses, they should know it is your brand, and your brand should know your customer. For example, the personal information policyholders have already entered should persist across devices, avoiding requiring users to enter the same information manually. Likewise, insurance companies should be using activity from multiple devices to establish common consumer behaviors. If, for instance, a millennial shopper pays her bill once a month online, providers can leverage this trend and alert her via text just before her payment is due.
  • Interactive Content
    Traditional ads and marketing campaigns have been successful for insurance companies in the past. This approach still works to some extent, but it’s often not enough to excite millennial shoppers and convince them to convert.Rather, millennials are most impressed by interactive content that’s accessible across all channels. Again, this is a great opportunity for companies to evolve traditional customer service information into creative content like infographics and videos. What’s more, while a shopper may be turned off when a representative pushes something like a more expensive policy, the captivating and intuitive nature of an infographic may do a better job earning the sale.
The millennial generation may be mobile-first, but this does not mean these are the only devices used by consumers

When companies deploy content that is intentional, they allow insurance to become a conversation, not a pushy buying process. This is great for both users and providers. The former gets to enjoy more interactive and personalized value, and the later can leverage customer feedback from online polls and surveys to learn more about shoppers and create a better experience in the future. Mobile gives insurance companies the chance to understand shoppers over time, especially with millennials who frequent mobile devices and are often more than willing to share personal information.
Millennial or otherwise, any policyholder will benefit from a mobile experience that incorporates these features. While insurance companies are making a profit off of new millennial business, it’s this growing generation of shoppers that will shape how providers act. ◊