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“Mystery Shopper” Rates Insurers’ Online Presence

Insurance companies need more than a little help in their online web portals. A mystery shopper, Ellen Carney, who is actually a principal analyst for Forrester Research, found out that trying to buy life insurance online can be more than a little challenging

In a story on, Carney — going under the pseudonym “Alice” — went through the phone call and website process of buying term coverage with several different insurance companies. She found the process to be less than helpful. Or successful.

Carney rated seven insurance companies across 11 categories, and what she found was not too surprising nor unexpected.

A paper life insurance form. Insurance companies can hire a mystery shopper to make sure their sales and marketing channels are functioning properly.According to the story, Carney rated MassMutual with 66 points, while New York Life scored the lowest with 30. John Hancock barely broke 30, while Lincoln, Ladder, Northwestern Mutual, and Prudential all scored 50 – 56.

Part of the problem is that while “Alice” got several some sort of followup from brokers and agents, whether it was an email or many, many phone calls, others never bothered to followup with the woman who had actually initiated an online purchase.

Basically, here was someone signing up to give them money, and they couldn’t be bothered to call the person back to take it.

Part of the problem, said the article, was that life insurers have not paid close attention to their online sales channels or tried to develop them and make them easier to use. They blamed falling sales commissions as a reason that agents won’t chase customers who abandoned an online shopping cart.

Bottom line, if someone expressed enough of an interest to start the sales process, there’s probably some small, easy-to-fix reason for their quitting. Salespeople call these objections, and they have entire books of scripts to help overcome them. So just follow up and see if you can snag that sale!

Another issue is that many times there’s a disconnect between the sales and marketing departments. It’s like that scene from Glengarry Glen Ross where Sales says the leads are shit, while Marketing says the leads are good.

This is where a mystery shopper program can make a big difference. While Alice was just one mystery shopper doing research for an industry report, a mystery shopping agency can help an insurance company find out any holes in their lead generation and sales process.

With the right kind of program, insurance companies can have mystery shoppers set up a program where people pretend to buy insurance, going online to make a purchase, and then assessing and measuring the performance of the salespeople who follow up. Or they can even find people who are already going to buy life insurance and ask them to rate the entire process.

Regardless, a mystery shopping agency can help you set up a mystery shopper program for your entire company, whether you want to measure your marketing efforts, your sales team, or even your customer service department. To learn more, please contact Measure CP and ask to speak to one of our mystery shopping experts.

Photo credit: Investment Zen (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)