This post originally ran on Formstack.
Ah, customer service. It’s one of the biggest challenges for the insurance industry. After all, it takes just one bad experience to lose a customer forever: Six in 10 people will stop doing business with a company if the service they receive is unfriendly.
On the other hand…
If you provide exceptional experiences for your insurance customers, they’ll reward your agency with lasting loyalty:
With so much at stake, it’s clear that customer service—not rock-bottom premiums—is the secret to reducing customer churn and unlocking loyalty. Here are four ways you can take your agency’s customer service game from OK to outstanding.
1. Keep friction to a minimum.
Have you heard of the customer service recovery paradox? According to this theory, customers often have more respect for a company after an issue has been resolved—and will hold the business in higher regard than they would if problems never occurred in the first place. Rather than merely maintaining customer satisfaction, you can elevate it to higher levels.
Best way to do that? Focus on reducing your agency’s customer effort score, or CES. This customer service metric tells you how much work a customer has to put in to have a problem addressed or get an answer to a question. The higher the score, the more work it takes…and the more likely customers are to become disloyal. High wait times, slow responses, and having to repeat information multiple times to different agents can all cause agitation.
By identifying opportunities to reduce friction—automating claims processing, streamlining policy management and more—you can make a noticeable difference in your customers’ experiences.
2. Provide easy self-service options.
When given the choice, today’s customers prefer self-service options over contacting customer service agents. Nine in 10 say they would rather use a knowledge base that meets their customer service needs.
That means an overwhelming percentage of customers are making frequent visits to websites and mobile apps when they need assistance. If you want to be sure you’re providing the most positive customer experiences possible at all times, these channels should be a top priority.
Regularly revisit your website and apps to make sure they’re not only easy to navigate, but also provide essential information about your agency and product offerings. The most successful insurance agencies provide plenty of self-service options, ranging from the ability to request quotes online to automated insurance proposals. Equally important is giving visitors multiple options for contacting customer service or getting answers to common questions: chatbots, live chat, and email options are considered standard by many customers.
3. Respond quickly to requests.
You can’t avoid every customer problem, but you can work to resolve them in a timely fashion. While instant responses aren’t always possible, the goal should be to resolve each issue on first contact with a customer. If a particular problem requires getting another person involved, brief that individual on the situation first, rather than making the customer repeat information.
It’s equally important to be upfront. By its very nature, insurance has a great deal of fine print. Explain policy and coverage details as thoroughly as possible to ensure your customers understand exactly what they’re getting. Customers don’t like feeling tricked, especially when it comes to protecting the things that matter most, and will value straightforward expertise from customer service experts.
4. Focus on every step of the customer’s journey.
For 96% of people, customer service will be the determining factor when someone’s deciding whether or not to stay with your insurance agency. And for customers who report the highest levels of customer service satisfaction, the benefits are even bigger: People in this segment are willing to spend 140% more than those who report the low satisfaction levels.
In order for it to be great, customer service has to happen at more than just the beginning of a relationship. Think about what you can do to delight customers after they’ve signed an insurance contract and purchased a policy. It could be some helpful information related to lifestyles, recognition of special days like birthdays, or even a simple thank you on anniversary dates.