Insurance companies must prepare for voice search

Voice input is the most natural form of dealing with computers and technical devices. That is why voice input will become more and more important in the future for researching information online. Insurance companies have their work cut out for them here.

The importance of voice control and therefore searches via voice input are growing. The sales numbers of “smart” speakers like Amazon’s Echo with the digital assistant Alexa prove this. One in ten Germans uses this type of system [1]. The assistants on smartphones and in cars should not be forgotten, as they support the users when searching for information, but also take on additional tasks.

From chatbots, skills and search

Three aspects play a role in connection with voice input on computers and smartphones:

  • Chatbots (which can additionally be operated using a keyboard) can be integrated into websites and messenger services and answer questions posed by users in a natural form. In order to ensure constant improvement, most chatbots use machine learning techniques.
  • Amazon and Google refer to programs that react to the spoken instructions from the user in digital assistants as skills or actions. A skill must be programmed in order for Amazon’s Alexa to trigger an action.
  • While the insurance company determines which information the customer receives after voice input with bots and skills, they are dependent on the search engine being used for voice searches. The insurance company’s own system does not decide if information is relevant for a search, but rather the algorithm from the search engine operator.


Insurance companies experiment heavily with voice assistants

Allianz, ARAG, AXA, Barmenia, ERGO or Zurich: The directory of skills for Alexa is like a “who’s who” of the insurance industry. The skills primarily answer basic questions about the company and its product assortment (”Where can I find the nearest consultant?”) or offer additional functions that should arouse the users’ interest.

Taking out a travel insurance (ERGO) directly via voice input is making headlines in the media, but it has to overcome a significant obstacle in practice. Skills must be activated and “installed”. They are similar to apps on a smartphone in this regard. Insurance companies who want to make it onto their users’ devices must generate attention for the customers to activate the offer. Such a skill is regularly used if it offers long-term benefits. Just the directions to the closest consultant alone will hardly be enough to convince the users.

Surely companies that are successful in creating an extremely personalized product offer will have good chances. If, for example, you offer assistance services for the “Smart Home” that is already controlled by voice, a voice assistant that can adjust a tariff in a “pay per use” model will have good chances.


Voice input requires a different optimization during the search

 If and when consumers go shopping through the smart speaker or take out an insurance is currently impossible to tell. The typical scenarios for usage found again and again in surveys tend to be more in the direction of controlling a “smart home”, looking up weather forecasts or setting reminders for appointments.

This would look different with an internet search via voice input. There are currently not enough reliable numbers indicating how big the share of such inquiries is compared to the total volume. The experts at symposiums for online marketing all agree that this portion is clearly growing. There are two significant differences with voice input when compared to the results of searching on a desktop.

  • A search engine provides a list of results on a desktop. The first place may be contested, but the other results remain visible. With the results from voice input, the user waits for a response. The winner is the one whose content was classified by the search engine as having the highest relevance.
  • In connection with the smartphone search, Google regularly emphasizes that inquiries with a geographic reference are increasingly growing here. Questions such as: “Where can I find...?” are in the foreground.

Insurance companies should remember this fact.


Being in the front for voice searches

It can currently be assumed that most voice searches will be executed on a mobile device. The optimization of an online presence for mobile end devices is more important than ever before.

When optimizing results for Google, the SEO strategy and keyword search should pay attention to what suggestions are delivered by “Google Suggest”. It can be assumed that matching results are preferably shown with a voice search.

It is recommended to consider the local aspect of the search. Location information in the meta data from contents is advantageous here. Consultants and locations must be able to be found completely through Google with all relevant information such as the address, contact information and business hours.

When creating content, you should also pay attention to the other form of questioning. The input “Get health insurance Hamburg” in the mask of a search engine turns into the following for a voice search: “Where can I get health insurance in Hamburg?” or “Where is the nearest representative from ...?” These excerpts of speech will ideally be directly included in the content.

Companies that dedicate technology to a stronger degree for voice input and voice assistants thereby have the chance of establishing a closer connection with the customer. They ensure an advantage in the competition with other insurance companies.



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