Imagine you don’t work in the insurance business. Picture yourself as a dentist or an electrician, and now it’s time for you to shop for and purchase insurance. What would your experience be like? Do you know?
Try calling your agency’s phone number or have a friend do it and listen in. Who picks up? How long did it take? What’s the voice like on the other end of the phone—friendly or insincere? Patient or rushed? Or is it just a voicemail recording?
Would you buy insurance from your agency?
Even in our technology era, insurance at its core is a business of relationships and trust. That’s why from time to time, it’s a good idea to audit your agency from a consumer’s point of view. Doing this regularly can help to ensure you are doing everything possible to enhance your clients’ experience.
This isn’t about creating gotcha moments where you ding a particular employee for doing a bad job in one instance. It’s about trying to walk through all of the processes at your agency – quoting, filing a claim, making a policy change, etc.—and analyzing how you can make them smoother, clearer, friendlier and/or more convenient.
You can nip disgruntlement in the bud by telling your staff that you’ll be doing this periodically and letting different employees play a part in the behind-the-scenes evaluations. Be transparent about why (so our customers always have a good experience and consistently choose to do business with us), when (sometime in the next month/quarter/year) and what you’ll do with the results (we’ll plan trainings, we’ll offer bonuses to star performers, etc.).
Keep in mind that you can help to create an environment of growth and learning if you include yourself in the audit, too. Discuss with your staff ahead of time how any constructive criticism should look, then model how to take it by being open and willing to learn when it’s your turn, which should be near the beginning of your audit.
If you are a solo agent, your audit process will be a bit different. In addition to looking at your business through a consumer lens, you could also find an honest friend to give you feedback, or you might reach out to another independent small agent and offer an audit swap so you can both improve. There are also secret-shopper businesses that you can hire to do this for you, although you’ll have to pay for that service.
In addition to evaluating your agency’s people skills and processes, you should also do a communications audit. Look at the various ways you use words – emails, voicemail greetings, brochures, web content, etc.— and ask whether they reflect the brand you want to convey.
If you find your communications need a bit of tweaking, edit them to make them easier to read and comprehend. If they’re all over the place, think about hiring a branding specialist to bring things into alignment. The goal should be to standardize your tone and messaging across your insurance agency.
That may mean creating customizable templates for everyone at your agency to use—things like a new-policy email, a standardized voicemail script that includes information about how to file a claim after hours or a clean one-pager that succinctly defines insurance terms.
Some of the things you can focus on as you evaluate your agency:
- How is our tone? Do we come across as welcoming and helpful?
- How is our knowledge? Do we know what we’re talking about and can we explain it easily?
- How is our clarity? Do our processes make sense and have they been developed to make our customers’ lives easier or our own?
- How is our grammar? Do we have typos in our written communications?
- How is our follow-up? Do we make it a point to stay in touch with our customers?
When you adopt a sincere mindset of continual improvement, it creates a forward-motion energy that makes it easier for your agency to continue to grow. Your staff will feel it, and chances are your clients will, too.
Need to get started with more customers? Call Hometown Quotes at 800.820.2981, or visit us online.