How many years have you been going to the same coffee shop or barber or mechanic? What makes you want to stick with that person or business over many years? It probably has something to do with the quality of their work, the ease with which you can interact with them and the value you feel you are receiving.
This is the heart of customer retention. As an insurance agent, if you’re not already focused on keeping clients over the long term, you’re missing out. Here are three reasons you should make customer retention a priority:
1) You’ll build your book faster.
Add one to zero, and you only have one. But if you add one to one, you end up with two; add one to two and now you’ve got three. You get it. The more clients you retain every year, the greater number of total clients—and total policies—you will be earning on.
2) It’s less costly to retain clients than it is to find new ones.
More math: the costs to find and sell new customers can add up—advertising, buying insurance leads, spending time wooing and setting up new clients, etc. Retained customers eat up less of your budget and time.
3) You’ll have a lighter workload.
There’s less work to do with renewals. As you retain more clients, you can put yourself in a position to do less work for the same money. Or you can use that same level of effort to grow your agency and your bank account.
Now let’s focus on how you can do it. Here are seven proactive ways to encourage customer retention, many of which require little cost or effort:
1) Follow the golden rule.
It costs nothing to treat people with kindness and respect. Do unto other as you would have them do unto you. That’s it.
2) Stay in touch.
Send a thank-you card or email to new clients. Reach out 4-6 weeks before their policy renewal to see if anything has changed or to share information about rate hikes. Send a birthday or holiday card with a brief, sincere note. Remain a presence in a positive, helpful way, especially with clients of two years or less. (These are the customers who are most likely to switch insurers.) Using automation software like Velocify can make this really easy.
3) Share information.
Help educate your customers about insurance-related topics. This could be anything from explaining possible discounts to pointing out the fact that insurance companies are sometimes more inclined to approve a claim for long-time customers.
4) Encourage automatic payments.
Automatic bank drafts make it easy-peasy for a customer; they don’t have to worry about bills or late payments. Some customers will be less inclined to switch insurance carriers if they know they have to fill out a bunch of new paperwork.
5) Be an advocate if they have a claim.
Check in regularly with a client who has a claim. You may have good advice about documentation that will increase their odds of getting paid quickly, or you may be able to help explain something that wasn’t communicated well by their adjuster.
6) Ask for feedback and act on it.
Negative experiences are bound to happen at some point, whether it’s a miscommunication or a claim that goes haywire. If that does occur, use it as a learning opportunity. Ask how you could have improved the situation and share the steps you will take to correct whatever went wrong. You build trust when you demonstrate accountability and can turn a negative into a positive.
7) Help them build their business.
If your client is a small-business owner or professional-for-hire, you can build a lot of goodwill by sending referrals their way.
Those are just a few ideas to help you retain customers and make the most of your insurance leads by turning them into lifetime customers. Need more? Contact your Hometown Quotes Regional Director or call 800-820-2981.