Stop Losing Customers
Customer retention will keep the lights on, and the bills paid for your insurance agency. As the lifeblood of your business, improving your customer retention rates is critical to protecting and growing your agency. But often, customer retention improvement efforts are labor-intensive. Most of us are busy people. While you probably understand the importance of customer retention, how can you do it effectively without spending hours on the process? Below are a few key ways to improve without spending a lot of time on it.
Customer Retention and Loyalty
The internet and online reviews have changed the sales process. Your grandfather’s insurance agency was a lot less vulnerable to negative feedback and reviews. Nowadays, poor customer experience can be blasted on Google and social media for all to see – forever. Back then, if someone was mad about the service, they may express their frustration with the receptionist, and badmouth the company to their friends and family. But their dissatisfaction and anger were pretty well contained. While negative feedback would have had some impact on Grandpa Insurance Agent’s bottom line, it wasn’t as devastating as it can be now.
Today, negative word-of-mouth news and assessments about an insurance agency travel at lightning speed. Anyone in the world can find out how other people feel about your business, years from today. But don’t despair, because it’s not all doom and gloom. Technology is neutral. The same technology that has the potential to hurt your business has the same potential to bolster it. You can use technology to improve your customer loyalty and retention rates and alter people’s perceptions of your agency. You just have to be proactive about it.
1. Experience and Expectations
As an agent, one of your main jobs is setting expectations and creating experiences for your customers. For example, do you talk about offering superior customer service? What value proposition are you announcing to the world? Potential customers and current customers are paying attention to what you say you’re going to do or offer. If their expectations don’t match their experiences, you will fail to retain loyal customers. Always make promises to your clients that you can keep.
2. Make it Easy to Touch-base with You
The average person doesn’t really understand how insurance works. They don’t get the industry jargon and may become easily confused with any automatic changes to their policy. As a result, they will want to get in touch with you so you can clarify things for them and put their minds at ease. In many cases, a lot of issues with customer retention come down to communication issues. Customers who can’t get a hold of their agent will become frustrated and distrustful, taking their business elsewhere. Fortunately, this is an easy thing to prevent and fix if it’s already happening.
Tips and Tricks
- Is the phone ringing? Take the time to answer it. Return messages promptly. Poor communication is one of the most common reasons why clients will go to a competitor. Also, this is one of the easiest things to change about your agency if you’ve struggled with it in the past.
- Make your contact information easy for people to find. Attach any relevant contact information to all communications you have with clients, like email addresses and phone numbers for secretaries. A client should not have to go to your website to have to find the necessary contact information.
- Offer a live chat or chatbot option on your agency website. Chat options make it easier for current and potential customers to ask questions and get clarity on your coverage options and services. It’s not as hard as you may think to implement this option on your website. Many affordable companies provide a quick way to install widgets on a website. The widget sends you notifications in real-time when someone is trying to contact you online.
- Consider getting a mobile app that lets clients talk directly to your agency. Many vendors offer apps for insurance agents that can be branded and customized for your particular agency and client needs.
3. Remember to Monitor Social Media
Facebook and Twitter are the perfect places for clients to vent their frustration about your agency. This can happen a lot if you aren’t easy to get a hold of. Sometimes, disgruntled customers will tag your business in a post. Unfortunately, this means that a significant number of people will end up seeing the negative feedback on your agency’s social media profile. True, you can’t please everyone. It’s a natural part of owning a business that you won’t be able to make every customer happy, and some clients simply won’t be a good fit for you. It’s a risk you take when you open a business that you’ll get some negative reviews. While you may not be able to prevent negative feedback on social media, you can nip it in the bud and prevent it from getting out of hand. Be careful to monitor your social media profiles regularly so you can quickly respond and resolve these problem posts.
4. Responding to Reviews
Comments left unresolved on social media will look terrible to other people. Consider how this will alter someone’s perception of your company. So, be careful to respond to negative feedback both publicly, on the post, and privately. Refrain from becoming defensive or angry in response. Be polite and patient, which will go a long way in shaping people’s perceptions of your company, despite negative feedback. Contact the angry customer privately too, and discuss a fair resolution to their problem. Doing these things shows people that your agency takes care of people when they have a problem with your business.
5. Identify and Fix Client Issues Proactively
Every agency can benefit from identifying potential issues for clients before they become harmful to your business. Be proactive about identifying customer pain-points when they’re in their earliest stages. But knowing isn’t enough. You’ll also want to design and implement systems for dealing with these issues.
In many cases, people rarely express their initial feelings of displeasure openly. On your end, you may think a customer is doing well and pleased with your service. But then suddenly, they leave. Why? Well, most clients do not make a sudden decision to stop doing business with you. It’s a gradual process. Their dissatisfaction tends to fester below the surface, and then they defect. It’s your job to identify this initial point of discontent and eliminate it so you can improve customer retention rates.
It’s not easy, especially when you consider that most clients won’t voice their frustration initially. So it’s your responsibility to figure out ways to pinpoint when customers first start the journey of deflection. Surveys are a great way to identify slight bumps in the road. When asked directly via a survey, clients are much more likely to express their frustration. If you recognize a pain point in your client that could cause future deflection, contact them directly. Ask them how you can improve your service and try to resolve their problem.
Is an increase in premiums a customer retention killer?
On the surface, it might seem that an auto-renewal with an increase in premiums would be the most likely culprit behind customer dissatisfaction. After all, if a client can get a cheaper policy elsewhere, why should they stay with your agency? But that’s not the case. An increase in premiums is not the main reason why someone would leave your agency. People will pay for what they perceive as valuable and necessary. The real reason behind someone leaving may be the lack of communication that premiums will be rising. When premiums go up, people want a fair warning. They also want to know why. Try putting an automated system in place to communicate with customers whose premiums are scheduled for an increase. Notify them beforehand so they can better absorb the sticker shock.
At Lift Local, we take the guesswork out of knowing where your customer’s pain points are, and how to mitigate them. With the right processes in place, you can improve customer retention rates and grow your insurance agency. Contact us today and request a demo.