This post originally ran on InsuranceBusinessMag.com.
Communication. That’s the key ingredient for maintaining happy clients. Master that and you’ll be golden.
Carl Maerz from Rocket Referrals, a software company which aims to “improve your company’s referrals, retention, reviews and relationships,” describes below ways you can analyze your client base, make improvements, and keep your customers happy.
Rocket Referrals analyzed data from over 20,000 insurance consumers and found that 81% of all negative feedback was due to a lack of regular and meaningful communication from their agent.
The most successful insurance agencies have two things in common: referrals and high client retention. Both of which rely, above all else, on keeping the client happy. When there are holes in communication, clients feel like the agent doesn’t care about them, and the slightest trigger can prompt them to shop around.
Identify your unhappy clients
Begin by uncovering your clients that are at high-risk of leaving your agency. We’ve had success implementing our simple loyalty survey for agencies, which provides cumulative scores ranging from negative 100 to positive 100. Happy clients provide testimonials, online reviews, and referrals; while unhappy clients vent their frustrations. Due to the survey’s simplicity, agents average responses from 45% of their client base. By implementing the right survey into your business model, you can improve your client retention because you can identify individual unhappy clients, and you can resolve their issues before they shop elsewhere.
Put out the fires
After you’ve identified your disgruntled clients you should call them and smooth things over. This is by far the most effective way of closing the loop on detractors and increasing the chances they are retained. Ultimately, the goal is to convert these detractors into promoters to improve client retention and promote positive word-of-mouth.
You should: address the issues that caused them to rate you poorly in the survey; thank them for being a client; acknowledge their problem and tell them you work to resolve it; ask if they’d like to discuss their coverage in more detail; and indicate that you are always only a phone call or email away, that you’ll be sure to reach out more frequently.
“We don’t ever hear from you. Have you done a review with us to see if our coverage is still appropriate? Are we getting the best value for our money with the current coverage?”
The two things clients expect most from their agent are help with claims, and the right coverage for the best price. Those agents that onboard clients and cease all contact will suffer from higher turnover and miss valuable opportunities for cross sales. Moreover, the cost of acquiring and onboarding a client is much higher than retaining one. Handling renewals correctly will go a long way to increasing an agency’s profitability.
Proactively reach out to clients a month or two before it’s time to renew. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that, by bringing renewal to their attention you’ll encourage clients to shop around. This will backfire.
Rather, you should: collect information by asking about past of future changes in a client’s household or business; analyze the information to determine if there are or will be any changes to their policy, and consider discounts and new products they may need; and communicate any changes in policies or premiums and gauge interest in other products.
Regardless of agency size, having systems in place to automate aspects of these steps is important. Being organized, consistent, and thorough will help you get the most out of renewal time and keep your clients happy.
Letting your clients know you’re thinking of them is one way of reinforcing that personal relationship you’ve worked hard to forge. But not just any birthday message will do. A handwritten personal note that arrives within a couple days of your client’s birthday is meaningful. An automated email or text isn’t. Your clients will know the difference.
So do birthday cards really work? At Rocket Referrals we tested their effectiveness by studying clients that implemented our handwritten birthday cards into their communication flow. We saw a higher increase in client loyalty survey scores, a number of positive testimonials, and retention.
The bottom line is to implement systems that will communicate regularly with clients in meaningful ways. At Rocket Referrals we have built software designed to do just that. It’s all about remaining on top of your client base and ensuring you’re organized enough not to miss an opportunity to keep a client and gain a new one. Automation can help your cause.