Have you ever sat and paid attention to how many TV commercials are from insurance companies? If so, then you all so noticed how many of them are encouraging you to switch coverage from your current carrier to their company, right?
The reason is simple- insurance companies are like any other business, they need continued growth in the market share. However, the customers that they are able to retain ultimately have a much larger impact on the bottom line, because – as a rule, it takes four time more effort/money to attract new customers than to retain existing ones.
Back before everyone had the ability to go to their desktop or mobile device (you know, before the digital age) for a quick insurance quote, Insurance agents and their teams were the “gatekeepers.” They had the ability to earn trust and maintain personal relationships with their clients.
Today, busy Americans with too much to do and too little time, and those under 30 differ with insurance as we knew it in some key aspects. While they still are looking for advice and guidance, they also want searching for insurance to be as seamless as going to the grocery store. This group will search for and communicate whenever, wherever, and however they want.
So, how can insurance companies keep and hopefully expand their diverse sets of customers, old and young alike? What factors drive retention and loyalty? I recommend these tips:
- Know your clients better: Insurers need to know and better understand their customers’ values and behavior patterns, not only as target groups, but as individuals. They need to use social media analyticsand conversations via social networks to increase touch points with their customers. They can use the knowledge gained to sustain intermittent conversations about things that are helpful and relevant to customers.
- Experience matches expectation: Simply put – what you put out in the world, what you say you’re going to do, you actually do it.
If you talk about a focus on customer service, if you talk about a focus on your people, on meeting people’s needs, VIP treatment, or whatever value proposition you’re putting out into the world and marketing your business around – that is what your customers get when they actually want to do business with you. You must match your words and your promises or your customers aren’t going to be loyal.
- Pick up the phone: If you want loyal customers, have human beings pick up the phone. How many times have you, yourself, been frustrated when trying to get help with something only to have to go through a series of phone prompts or be pushed to a voicemail?
The poorest customer experience and reviews comes from the agencies who don’t pick up the phone, who send it to a phone tree, or who send it to voicemail. Think of a “real person” answering the phone as an added value to your marketing plan. This is going to quickly draw attention to anyone who has been frustrated by the other.
- Shared values: Try to connect with your customers on shared values. Attempt to connect with them on your belief structure, on who you are as a person, on the morality, on your humanity. This could mean the charities that you support.
If people don’t know who you are, if they don’t know the values that make you who you are, especially if you’re a producer, and particularly, if you’re an agency owner, what your agency’s value structure is, if your customers have a misaligned value structure, they’re not going to be loyal to you.
The truth is –
People do Business with People that they like.
- Ask your customers what they want and then do it: Maybe this one seems intuitive, but it bears mentioning and honestly, it is usually overlooked.
Ask your customers how they want to be served and then do that. How would they prefer to be contacted? Text, phone, email? You might be surprised to know that most people would prefer to be contacted through a text. Also surprising, from personal experience, when attempting to collect on overdue accounts- texting is also very beneficial.
Ask your customers how they want you to work with them, ask how they want to be communicated with, ask what they like and desire out of the experience, and then do those things. By doing this, you are empowering them for the best possible customer service and business relationship.
By doing the things that they ask for, they’ll see that you actually do care about them and they’ll want to stay with you because so few people are willing to put themselves out for their customers.
While traditional insurance distribution channels still work, they are not enough to secure trust and lasting relationships. To keep customers, insurers need to involve them emotionally and rationally. They need to capture hearts and minds to keep and expand market share. Acting on these three courses of action can make this happen for insurance companies.
When you go that extra mile and you put yourself out at the expense of your customer, that’s where true loyalty is built.