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Gabriel Swift

10 ways insurers can delight their customers and increase online conversions

Insurers are seeing a big shift to digital platforms due to the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing smartphone and broadband usage. As with the retail sector, where bricks-and-mortar shops are losing out to digital ones, insurers have moved much of their contact centre experience online. This has presented several challenges for traditional insurers: new customer expectations, a change to the way insurance purchases are managed, and a need to address the end-to-end customer journey.

More than two thirds (68%) of respondents in a recent Capita Octal survey(1), say they use digital platforms such as shopping websites and apps at least once a week. Customers are increasingly seeking insurance information online and buying insurance digitally, too.

Consumers now have less disposable income, and they are buying more cautiously(2), This has made them do more research and shopping-around to find the best deals, using a combination of online and offline channels. This is creating new challenges for suppliers.

Take abandoned shopping carts as an example. Insurers must now consider things like payment flow and user experience, all of which can affect the number of shopping carts that are abandoned due to lack of trust. Trust is an issue when you are asking for a lot of personal information and the user may not have heard of you before.

Often, customers have several screens to complete before they get a quote and it can become frustrating when they have to complete forms manually — and they may not even be ready to purchase yet. Slow internet and site speed can often cause frustration. The result of all of this: they simply abandon their shopping cart and leave.

Here are 10 key areas where insurers can improve customer experience, which increases sales conversions

1. Recovering abandoned online quotes

Insurance customers shop around for a good price and comparing cover is an everyday part of buying insurance online. For direct insurers and brokers alike, it means that vast numbers of quotes are left unconverted.

It has become ever more critical to track online visitors completing quotes and renewals on your website and identify when they leave before finishing the quotation or purchase. Insurers can track the progress of each of these journeys in real time. If prospective customers fail to complete a quotation request or buy a policy, agents can immediately be put in touch with them to discuss specialised requirements, cover options and potential discounts, and be given the opportunity to take the initiative and sell the policy while the customer is in a buying frame of mind.

2. Speed is key

Statistics from our insurance clients3 show that speed is the single biggest factor in converting prospects into customers. The quicker you engage with an online visitor over the phone or via a messaging app, the higher the conversion rate. Best practice has shown that, at any stage of the quotation process, you need to reach out to prospects within 60 seconds.

Our data clearly shows that, if you contact a customer within five minutes, you’re twice as likely to convert a sale than if you leave it longer. Unfortunately, a lack of real-time web engagement is costing firms millions of pounds each year. From our internal data from insurance partners, we found that one of them could recover up to £3.1m for every 100,000 abandoned customers. For this partner, the difference between calling within five minutes and 30 minutes could be as much as £1.6m for every 100,000 abandoned customers.

3. Data gathering and enrichment

To help you to maximise conversion and engagement opportunities, it’s useful to gather customer data and dynamically tag it with relevant contextual information. Having the facility to carry out real-time data transfer is important, in addition to having a system for validating the data.

Taking this approach allows for more personalised dynamic outbound communication and provides agents with key data for tailored pitches based on customers’ profiles.

4. Targeting your most valuable leads

Insurers are finding that the best way to secure successful revenue streams is to identify which leads are most likely to convert, and to focus on the campaigns that will generate the most revenue. The right partner can help you to identify the best campaigns and provide real-time management of third-party leads.

Successful insurers are finding that an integrated intelligent contact strategy that matches the contact channel to the likely value of the customer generates faster conversation rates and better revenue streams. For example, lower priced enquiries should be targeted with automated instant messaging engagement, email or SMS, significantly transforming the contribution to revenue.

Customer conversions can be classified by the following key criteria: abandonment stage, value of application, enquiry type, credit status, homeowner, existing prospect or customer.

5. Integrated communications platform

Having a way to integrate your communication programmes and channels allows you to target the right customer at the right time.

An integrated platform makes it easier to segment data for streamlined re-targeting programmes, to customise delivery services to support internal service operations, and to select and target profiles during key periods to maximise conversion.

6. The importance of SMS

Unfortunately, text messages often get overlooked, especially since emails started offering colourful, interactive features to attract buyers. But the read and click-through rates for emails have dwindled, unlike figures for SMS, which have only improved since mobile ownership has increased. Around 59% of adults 4 in the UK now have a mobile phone, which equates to around 59.6 million people5, so the opportunity to reach people by text is huge.

Roughly 61% of mobile users now own a smart phone5. The added benefit of this is that people are more connected. Now you can send your audience straight to your website, or even to specific pages, through a web link. This is great for directing people to pages that they have previously abandoned, so they can complete an order.

Interestingly, around 91% of mobile users keep their phone within arm’s reach 24 hours a day. So, it’s not surprising that 97% of texts are opened within just a couple of minutes of being sent6.

Having the ability to create and edit templates is important when customising campaigns. For insurers, being able to view the number of SMS messages queued and control the batch sizes and frequency of send is useful in managing the volume of demand.

From a reporting perspective, it’s important to have access to a return file to confirm SMS delivery and track non-delivery. The ability to set specific delivery times and target queued distribution to the right customer at the right time affects the success of an SMS response campaign and will deliver much more meaningful engagement.

Having access to delivery reports in real time provides timely insight into a campaign’s success and allows you to contact customers through other channels quickly if necessary.

7. Driving simplicity through email

Simplifying the communication process via email can help to maximise current investments using engagement tools across your communication programmes. Having a platform approach allows you to target the right customer at the right time, and optimise engagement.

An efficient engagement model would include the following steps:

By following the process above, you achieve greater simplicity and cost effectiveness, saving you time and resources and gaining you greater visibility and transparency.

In addition, a platform approach allows you to identify and analyse the right time to optimise engagement. It becomes easier to segment data to create streamlined retargeting programmes, customise delivery services to support internal service operations, and select and target profiles during key periods to maximise conversion.

An efficient engagement model would include the following steps

By following the process above, you achieve greater simplicity and cost effectiveness, saving you time and resources and gaining you greater visibility and transparency.

In addition, a platform approach allows you to identify and analyse the right time to optimise engagement. It becomes easier to segment data to create streamlined retargeting programmes, customise delivery services to support internal service operations, and select and target profiles during key periods to maximise conversion.

8. Optimising inbound calls

When customers interact with businesses today, they want their voices to be heard and problems to be solved quickly and effortlessly. So, it’s important to process incoming calls in real time to ensure that they seamlessly reach the correct destination.

The ability to provide intelligent interactive voice response, with network-based voice recording and smart call routing, in combination with real-time look-ups to determine the destination for the call, will improve how insurers engage with their customers, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and retention.

Many inbound enquiries happen when customers abandon websites due to lack of information or trust, so it’s important to be able track, prioritise and process customers seamlessly and pass their data in the form of a lead to partners and agents. By simplifying processes in real time, partners can reconnect with abandoned customers, creating a second opportunity to convert prospects.

9. Web call-back

We’ve tested many call-back solutions, and we’ve discovered that insurers typically don’t get a response from up to 60% of customers. Of those customers that do respond, 90% take longer than one hour to reply. At this point, prospects will have had the chance to buy from a competitor. Trials at a large Capita Octal insurance customer have demonstrated that, by implementing web call-back, the company could connect 96% of customers to agents within 60 seconds of the initial request

Branded call-back interfaces can pop up when the customer asks for a call-back, or if there’s inactivity, and the call-back request can be seamlessly presented to an agent in real time, or the customer can decide on a convenient time and date.

10. Live chat

Live chat and conversational commerce help to reduce incoming calls and enable you to deal with multiple customers simultaneously. According to Capita Octal’s research and testing, live chat can influence customer satisfaction levels by up to 73%, compared to 61% for email and 44% for phones.

It’s important that insurers can customise the live chat with their brand and offer pre-chat data and post chat surveys. Any live chat solution needs to support all devices that the customer might be using and have a reporting suite.

Winning the customer with seamless digital experiences

In summary, insurers need to make it easy for their customers to make enquiries and purchases online. Customers expect a superior online experience, and insurers will lose business to competitors who can provide that.

Insurers should seek partners that can help them to integrate their customer communications and develop data-driven, real-time and proactive campaigns that make the best use of all available channels to maximise customer satisfaction and revenue.

Contact us

To learn more about Capita’s market-leading expertise and capabilities in cart abandonment recovery, outbound marketing tools and e-commerce solutions, and the tangible benefits it can deliver for your business, contact Business Development Manager Nathan Robinson on 07730 001065 or at, or contact your account manager today.


  1. According to a 12 month survey for 2016 conducted by cart recovery specialists Optilead
  2. According to article ‘British households face disposable income fall of £515 per month, UK consumers could take £43bn hit as coronavirus crisis ravages UK economy’
  3. According to article: Why cart recovery emails aren’t always the best tool for the job referencing www.smartinsights.
  4. According to the UK: mobile phone ownership 1996-2018 | Statista report
  5. Mobile internet statistics - 2020 | Finder UK 8 out of 10 adults in the UK have a smartphone, but just how much are we using them and how much data are we consuming? We explore the stats
  6. Based on Capita Octal’s test results on Web callback / click to call request facility in a large insurance customer.

Written by

Gabriel Swift

Gabriel Swift

Account Based Marketing, Capita

Gabriel specialises in Account Based Marketing, With over 25 years’ experience working in IT organisations, Gabriel is passionate about innovation, creative thinking and enabling and supporting Senior Sales stakeholders in achieving their goals.

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