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How Insurance Customers Want to Communicate

Written by
Amrish Singh
How Insurance Customers Want to Communicate

If you think that your customers still prefer to communicate with you by phone, it may be time to check that assumption. Although the phone was once the top channel for communication, SMS text messaging has become the favorite method of communication for many. Here are some key facts to consider.

How Customers Want to Hear from You

Opinium found that email, TV ads, social media posts, and text messages are the four main ways Americans like to hear from companies. Phone calls are less popular – only 29% of Americans like to hear from companies via phone and 37% dislike receiving phone calls from companies.

This shouldn’t be surprising. Phone calls are disruptive. Plus, the onslaught of robocalls has made many consumers wary of answering the phone at all. Pew Research Center found that only 19% of Americans answer calls from unknown numbers and 14% ignore voicemails. In contrast, the four popular communication channels named above are less disruptive because they don’t require an immediate response.

In terms of receiving a response from customers, text messages are a clear winner. According to Gartner, text messages have an open rate of 98% and a response rate of 45%. Emails only have an open rate of 20% and response rate of 6%.

How Customers Want to Reach Out to You

Text messages are a great option for companies to reach out to customers, but what if customers need to contact companies with a question or request? Once again, text messaging is often the communication channel of choice. According to YouGov, 69% of consumers prefer to communicate with companies via text message rather than phone. 

The preference for text over talking is even stronger in younger generations. Fox News reports that nine out of 10 Gen Zers would rather text than talk on the phone. Some even say they have a phobia of phones. If you want to hear from younger consumers, you need to give them an option other than the phone.

Even older generations appreciate having text messaging as an option. A 2018 survey from AARP found that 70% of adults aged 50 or above used a smartphone. Among 50- to 69-year-olds, text messaging had surpassed email as the preferred tech tool to stay connected. Since that was a few years ago, it’s likely that today even more older adults use smartphones and prefer text messaging. 

Four Key Advantages of Text Messaging

It can be hard to encourage people to change something as fundamental as the way they communicate. However, text messaging has risen in popularity due to the clear advantages it offers. Text messaging is preferred for these reasons:

  • Less time waiting on hold. Although some customer support lines provide callback services to prevent people from waiting on hold, that option isn’t much better because it still requires you to be actively waiting. If you miss the call, you may have to call again and request another callback. Since text messaging is asynchronous, you never have to waste your time waiting for a customer service representative or play phone tag. 
  • Conversation recording. It’s helpful to have a record you can refer to later, especially when you’re discussing important matters.
  • Easily send links and email addresses. If you’ve ever tried to spell out a long email address over the phone, you know what a pain this can be. Sending email addresses and links is easier via text.
  • Save money. Texting is often less expensive than calling, which is a major win for companies trying to control their budgets. 

Why Insurers Need an SMS Strategy 

Text messaging is an affordable and convenient communication option. In recent years, it’s emerged as a preferred way to communicate. Although people of all ages enjoy the convenience of text messaging, young people often actively dislike or even fear talking on the phone. For insurance companies to appeal to younger generations, a texting/SMS communication strategy is essential.

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