What do you think the primary function of your insurance agency website should be? To help people better understand who you are and what you have to offer? To build relationships? To sell products? The first two functions really just support the third, selling products. When I worked at Marsh & McLennan many years ago, there was a plaque on every sales manager’s desk that said, “Nothing happens until someone makes a sale.” Truer words were never inscribed on a sales manager’s plaque.
There is some controversy over whether it’s more effective to have an online quote engine that gives insurance customers instant feedback with real numbers or whether you get better results using a quote request form. Many agents find that with quote engines, consumers often end up navigating away from the quote form because it asks too many questions. It’s too much bother or may be perceived as too personal, or both. The advantage of a quote request form is that the information required is minimal. All consumers need to provide is what kind of insurance product they want quoted and some contact information. A follow-up phone call from someone in your agency will add the personal touch to collect the necessary information much more successfully.
The main problem with the quote request approach is that it requires timeliness. When someone submits a quote request, someone needs to respond as quickly as possible, not only to collect the information but to provide the quotes requested. Otherwise your competitor, the online quote engine, will more likely score the business, since, as it lacks a human dimension, it has no problem with timeliness.
The bottom line is that people prefer doing business with people, especially people they know and trust, not Internet bots. A recent survey by comScore exquisitely makes the point. comScore’s 2011 Online Auto Insurance Shopping and Servicing Reports surveyed more than 4,000 online consumers in April 2011 and found that 80% of consumers who shopped online for auto insurance went offline to purchase. Sixty-two percent of those who purchased off-line after getting quotes online ended up purchasing through a local agent.
Does that mean that your website should just focus on getting prospects to fill out quote request forms? Hardly, you’ve got to build trust and develop relationships in order for people to feel comfortable enough to request a quote from you. Your website should offer the gateway to great content, excellent customer service, great products and of course … sales.