I took an extensive survey this week on a variety of issues of importance to independent insurance agents and carriers.  The survey was done at the request of Travelers Insurance Company and while I have taken dozens of insurance company surveys in my career, this one was different.

This survey was about cutting edge issues of technology and change drivers in our industry.  Travelers wanted to know how many of these things we are aware of, using or plan to use in the next five years.

In terms of just communicating with customers, they asked how many of the following ways we communicated:

  • Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR)
  • Dual Tone Multi Frequency Signaling (DTMF)
  • Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • Phone (Live Person)
  • In Person
  • Email
  • Video Chat/Skype/Facetime
  • Mobile App
  • Web Chat
  • Text/SMS

Now, I’ll bet all of you could answer yes to many of these.  Some, like texting and social media, are only being used currently by early adopters. Most agencies don’t have a clue yet about how to use these things to communicate with customers and prospects.

A few, like Immersive Virtual Reality, Video Chat and Web Chat, were surprising.  How many agents use Immersive Virtual Reality?  Frankly, I’m surprised Travelers knows what it is!  But I also predict many of you will be using it for client meetings in the next five years.  Travelers thinks you will too and that’s why they’re asking about it.

The world has already changed. Today every agent should be communicating with customers and prospects using the telephone and email but also text, social media, video chat and through their mobile app. Very soon (within 3-5 years) you will also need to add IVR to your communications capabilities.

Oh, and DTMF?  That’s also known as “touch tone”.  You’ve got that, right?

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