Everywhere we look, consumers are bombarded with insurance offers—on TV, in their mailboxes, online, through social media, etc. Large carriers with seemingly unlimited budgets are taking a ton of business from agencies, and you might be feeling the pinch yourself (or the risk of it).
If you’re nervous about losing clients, don’t freak out. Even as a small-town agent there are things you can do to reverse the situation. (Tweet this!) At the top of the list is to focus on improving the insurance customer experience by building relationships with your customers and staying in front of them. Customers who are friends won’t be thinking about jumping ship, even with all of the ads promising savings.
But how do you create those relationships and ensure your customers are actually happy? Keep reading to find out.
Insurance Customer Experience Fails: 3 Reasons People Leave
I’ve identified three overarching reasons why consumers leave their insurance agents:
1. Their life circumstances have changed.
New jobs, lost jobs, marriages, babies, new cars, new motorcycles, sickness—there are many variables that come into play every day for your customers.
- Those experiencing a job loss, for example, may review their finances and feel compelled to look for a lower-priced insurance product.
- Customers who move may prefer to find a new, local agent instead of sticking with you.
- Customers who are purchasing vehicles or homes that require insurance coverage are also more likely to be browsing insurance carriers, wondering “Am I with the best carrier?”
2. They’ve found a more competitive rate elsewhere.
When your customers hear ads with siren songs of “Call to save 15%!” there’s a good chance at least some of them will do just that—inquire elsewhere to see if they’re getting the best rate with you or if they can do better somewhere else.
Insurance rates change for carriers all the time, so it’s highly likely that if they do this on a regular basis, customers will find rates better than what they’re currently paying.
3. They’re not getting the value or service they want from your agency.
A feeling that your agency is not responding to their needs is enough to have a customer pick up the phone (or, more likely, do a quick Google search) to investigate options.
When there’s no relationship with an agency—customers don’t hear from you or they feel as if they don’t see the advantage of working with you—they’re driven away. When a customer chooses to work with an individual agent, they tend to look for something in addition to the insurance product itself, like personalized advice, a friendly relationship (the agent knows their name), or the ability to walk into a brick and mortar insurance office, for instance.
The Solution? Insurance Customer Experience Management
All three of these things roll up into one major problem: A weak or non-strategic insurance customer experience. If you’re running into these problems, there is a good chance it’s because you’re not fully engaged and in touch with your customers. In other words, there’s most likely a lack of communication with them.
When you’re interested and invested in someone’s life, wouldn’t you reach out to them to find out how they’re doing? Of course you would! Unfortunately, this isn’t how many agents think about customer experiences in the insurance industry. They don’t look to build that additional, critical level of a more personal customer relationship–and their agency loses clients because of it.
What Agents Should Do
To start turning things around, consider these two tips:
- Think about your customers on a more personal basis. Successful agents have a personal touch. They take every opportunity to understand their customers’ interests, and things like relationship statuses, birthdays, children, anniversaries, work information, etc., and then act on them. Successful insurance agents often use these major moments in life as opportunities to reach out to customers, check in on them, and spread goodwill.
- Schedule “touches” for your customers. Outside of milestones, improving the customer experience in insurance should include scheduled “touches,” or interactions the agent initiates with the customer. Here are a few “must-do” examples:
- A year-end review with every one of your customers. Stay in front of your customers with a year-end review. Big discount insurance carriers aren’t doing this for their customers, and you can stand out by providing additional services like this. An added bonus: Through these meetings, you’ll know if there’s a change in their life circumstances.
- Policy renewal reminders. Every six months you should be in front of your existing customers reminding them of your renewal!
- Annual or twice-yearly surveys for customers. Wondering if your customer is getting what they need from you? Then ask! Surveys allow your customers to provide feedback that can alert you to any potential issues before they cost you clients. They can also help you identify things that are going well!
When you add up all these opportunities for outreach, you’ll find you are talking to your customers every 30-60 days. This gives you the best shot to stay in front of your customers’ needs, and helps you know whether or not you’re providing the best service along with the most competitive rates.
Asking your producers to do all of these things may sound like a lot (because it is!). But...
Technology makes all this 100 times easier. Leverage technology for automation—for emails, texting and calling—as much as you can. Here’s a standard birthday email as an example:
Dear [Client First Name],
We are wishing you all the best for the coming year! Sending you nothing but the sincerest hopes for your well-being and happiness. Happy birthday from all of us at team [AGENCY NAME].
If you use an email automation tool (for example) that requires a one-time setup, then the most time-consuming work is done automatically, so it’s often a fairly easy thing to manage.
Technology like this can really help improve customer retention; without it, customer touches every 30-60 days are difficult, if not impossible, to handle. (And you better believe your competition, especially big discount carriers, are doing automated touches!)
Technology also makes it easy for your agency to find and reach out to the best insurance prospects available. One of the best ways to do this is to partner with EverQuote. We’ll help you fill up your pipeline, which, when paired with the customer experience, can help your agency grow. Contact us today to find out more.