“Hey Google – let me talk to Progressive.” With those words Progressive Insurance announced earlier this week that it became the first insurer to launch a Google Action for the Google Home device. Voicebot reported in September that Liberty Mutual’s Safeco brand was the first to launch an Alexa skill for Amazon Echo. Earlier this month Allstate became the sixth insurer with an Alexa skill, but before this week none had made the leap to Google’s newer voice assistant platform. In case you are unfamiliar with the terminology, voice assistant applications for the Amazon Echo are called Alexa skills and for Google Home are called Google Actions.
The Progressive Google Action
Surprisingly, the Progressive Google Action is strictly about consumer engagement and not yet about matching consumers to insurance agents or generating price quotes like some of the early insurer Alexa skills (more about that below). There are two main parts to the current action: tips for the car and the home. Tips range from car buying and car care to smart home technology, curb appeal and moving to a new home. The voice user interface is well designed to enable natural conversation. The Action also uses a professional voice over that creates a brand impression that is distinctive from other actions that use the standard Google voices.
Voicebot caught up with Sung Cha, Digital Placements Director at Progressive, for a quick interview to get some more background.
Is there anything you learned during the process that surprised you?
It was a delicate balance between offering simple helpful content and how detailed and specific it needed to be. We understand the conversational element of the assistant is crucial to success so we wanted to get it right from the start.
I noticed that you have a lot of tips for home owners and car buyers, but no option to get an insurance quote or hear more about Progressive Insurance products. Should we expect those options in a future release?
As Dan Witalec mentioned, “Progressive wants to make it as easy as possible for people to get help by being available where, when and how they want to interact with us.” We are going to see how it goes and if successful, we will look at expanding offerings.
Also, some Alexa skills by insurance providers include contact information for local agents. Did you consider putting that in the Google Action?
Our focus was to bring helpful content to people in a different way.
Do you plan to launch an Alexa skill at some point? If yes, what time frame?
We’ll always continue to explore new avenues for people to interact with us.
What made Google Home a better fit for Progressive to start with instead of Amazon Echo?
Our partner, XAPPMedia, presented us with the Google Home opportunity and it made sense to give it a go.