Like most industries, insurance is all about communication. Your clients are trusting you to act as a resource and expert for them, so how well you communicate can have a huge effect on your sales and customer retention rates.
For agents, good communication means you’re aiming to make your customer feel something—like their life is going to be better, easier or more secure. How do you do that? Start by asking yourself what value you can add through your communications with your customers and what reasons you can give them to keep buying insurance through you. Here are a few ideas:
1) Be a Sounding Board
Your expertise can be invaluable, especially for individuals with complex or unusual insurance needs (multiple homes, classic cars, insuring through a trust, etc.) When you’re onboarding a new client, listen carefully to what their concerns are and help them sort through any unique situations. Try to determine what will make them feel secure and then meet that need however you can.
2) Be the Local Expert
You are likely more knowledgeable about insurance than the vast majority of your customers, but there are also non-insurance topics that you may be more familiar with – trends in building costs in your area, the areas of your city that have been especially prone to flooding, a good auto body shop that does great work in a timely manner, and more.
Your goal should be to let your customers know that you are a reliable resource who will have their best interests at heart. Keep a referral list updated with quality vendors that you feel comfortable recommending. Be available to make connections between your customers and the pros they might need when they are dealing with an insurance claim.
3) Be a Helper
Most of us lead busy lives and have too much to do. One way to ingratiate yourself with a client is to take something off their plate. If you’re insuring a vacation home for someone who lives out of state, you could offer to video the contents so they have a good record in case of a claim. Or if a homeowner mentions they’re planning to remodel in two months, tell them you’ll give them a call at that time to see if they need to readjust their coverage levels once the work is underway.
In addition to thinking about how you want your customers to feel, you should also give some thought to how you communicate.
Great for educational communication, one big advantage of email is that it can be sent and read any time of day, which is convenient for both parties. It’s also a great way to share information because you can attach documents and easily embed links to helpful articles about insurance-related issues.
Talking on the phone is the next best thing to being in the same room as your customers; your voice alone can communicate warmth, personality and a feeling of steadfastness. Because a fair number of people rarely answer their phones, be sure you are prepared to leave an articulate, short message like this, “Hi, this is XX from XX Agency just calling to check in and see if you’ve had any changes in your life that might affect your insurance needs. Give me a call at XXX.XXX.XXXX if you’d like to do a quick review.”
- Direct Mail
One of the advantages of snail mail is that its presence can be longer-lasting when your mail piece sits on a counter or gets put on top of the pile on someone’s desk. Periodically sending a postcard to your customers is an easy way to remind them you’re in their corner. Keep it simple and to-the-point like this: “Do you still have the right insurance coverage? It’s a good idea to do a periodic checkup to make sure you’re fully covered. Give me/us a call at XXX.XXX.XXXX.” It’s a simple call to action that could easily result in cross-selling opportunities.
- Social Media
Create a Facebook ad to keep your name front and center in front of your followers. Or try doing a giveaway—something as simple as two tickets to a baseball game or a gift certificate to a coffee shop can bolster goodwill and give your customers a reason to like your page or follow you. Tagging the winner can be a way to get your post read by their friends, too.
However you choose to communicate, know that your efforts may not always show immediate results. Don’t take that as a sign that you’ve wasted your time. Building goodwill and keeping your name in your clients’ minds is part of the way you make it known that you are accessible and interested, which is one of the keys to building long-lasting relationships.
Need more ideas about insurance-related communication? Call your Hometown Quotes Regional Director at 800-820-2981, and we’ll help you wordsmith your messaging to make a stronger impact.