How to Exceed Client Expectations
Did you know…
54% of clients have higher expectations for service than they did a year ago.
“Gartner predicts that 89% of businesses are expected to compete mainly on customer experience.” (CustomerThermometer)
Now more than ever, the experience your clients have with you affects not only your client retention, but your new client growth as well.
To deliver an exceptional client experience, you have to have 4 basic things in place:
- Extremely organized client records
- Detailed client notes
- Reminders and/or Automated Emails to Clients
- Reporting on Client Satisfaction
I’m going to touch on how you can do each of these things within an industry-specific agency management system (AMS), like AgencyBloc.
Organizing Client Records
Maintaining a positive relationship with your clients begins with being extremely organized. You can service them best only when you have all of the necessary information in one place.
What’s “necessary” information? We go in-depth on this subject on our blog, Client & Prospect Information Insurance Agents Should Track.
More importantly, where do you keep this necessary information? You need client records organized in a fashion that is:
- Searchable - how quickly can you pull up their records to answer their questions or forsee actions you should discuss with them? On how many criteria can you search to find them?
- Clean - are their records always up-to-date and thorough? Are they presented in a way that’s easy for anyone in your agency to pick up and understand?
- Reportable - are their records tied with a reporting system where you can draw insight or pull lists for necessary communication?
However you’re managing your client records, whether it’s in spreadsheets, a CRM, or an industry-specific agency management system (AMS), make sure all three of these are doable.
AgencyBloc Individual Record
You might find that, especially in spreadsheets, your organization is quite limited. If this is you, check out our eBook: The Agency's Guide to Ditching Spreadsheets.
Taking Detailed Client Notes
To include or not to include? When it comes to client notes, the general rule of thumb is to include as much detail as possible at every interaction you have with them—not only for E&O purposes, but for the betterment of your relationship, as well.
“Take an active interest in their life, work, hopes and dreams and understand how they think about things and make decisions. When they tell you something, write it down and make a note to follow up about it.
The more you understand and get to know your clients the more you can see the world from their point of view, which in turn helps you do your best work for them.”
—Jodie Cook, “8 Ways To Have Better Relationships With Your Clients”, Forbes
So, if your client is talking about the summer trip they’re planning at your meeting, write it down! Make a note to ask them how it went the next time you meet.
If your client is expecting a baby, maybe you set a reminder for yourself to reach out around the due date or plan to send a card.
There are plenty of opportunities for you to go above and beyond in your client notes.
Setting Up Automated Client Communication
In your day-to-day, you’re likely not going to remember or keep up with reaching out to your clients on a regular basis. It just doesn’t happen with your busy schedule. It has to be a conscious decision to put a process in place to ensure the touchpoints are made.
“Feeling unappreciated is the #1 reason customers switch away from products and services.” —”75 Customer Service Facts, Quotes & Statistics”, HelpScout
Here are a few example scenarios where you could reach out to clients:
- Happy Birthday
- Policy Renewal Approaching
- Open Enrollment (if applicable)
- Client Anniversary Date (when they became a client with you)
Depending on your process, you can either set up automated emails for these, or you can have reminders pop up on your to-do list to make sure you give them a call.
AgencyBloc Policy Renewal Automated Workflow
The example above is a simulation of setting up an Automated Workflow for policy renewals. This ensures every client of yours starts getting emails from you as their policy renewal date approaches, starting the communication proactively.
Reporting on Client Satisfaction
Once you have client records organized, detailed notes taken, and some communication automated, you’re ready to put some client satisfaction checks in place.
Every business differs on what metrics are most important for them to measure client satisfaction, but the NPS is a common metric businesses in all industries use.
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
As explained in our blog, How to Keep a Steady Flow of Referrals Coming Into Your Insurance Agency, the NPS is a score that is found by asking your clients one question:
“How likely is it that you would recommend [business name] to a friend or colleague?”
The NPS is a way to split your client base up into three categories:
- Promoters (Score of 9-10)
- Passives (Score of 7-8)
- Detractors (Score of 0-6)
Then, you’ll calculate your actual NPS score. CheckMarket describes how to do this:
“The Net Promoter Score is calculated as the difference between the percentage of Promoters and Detractors. The NPS is not expressed as a percentage but as an absolute number lying between -100 and +100.
For instance, if you have 25% Promoters, 55% Passives and 20% Detractors, the NPS will be +5. A positive NPS (>0) is generally considered as good.”
However, there’s a caveat with tracking the NPS: it can be difficult to find a true “benchmark” to aim for. You can Google “good NPS score for insurance agencies”, but you’ll probably get a mix of scores for carriers, brokers, IMO/FMOs, and insurance agencies. And all of those business types function differently and interact with clients differently, so it might not be a truly accurate benchmark.
QuestionPro lays out the “Global NPS Standards”:
“Given the NPS range of -100 to +100, a “positive” score or NPS above 0 is considered “good”, +50 is “Excellent,” and above 70 is considered “world class.” Based on global NPS standards, any score above 0 would be considered “good.” This simply means that the majority of your customer base is more loyal.”
With all of this said, the best advice I can give on finding the NPS score you want to strive for is to do some online research, look at best scores for different industries, and discuss with your team what you think you can achieve.
Then, continue to measure the score and use it as a metric to increase client retention for years to come.
To Sum Up...
Today, clients expect more from businesses than ever. Not only is this notable for customer service teams, but it’s also the reason marketers are starting to focus on building their brand upon positive client experiences (for more on the marketing side, check out Marty Neumeier’s book, The Brand Flip).
To exceed your clients’ expectations, you need to do a few things very well. You have to house client records information in an organized, secure fashion so that you can truly use the data. You must also take detailed notes every time you speak with your clients. You need to automate communication with them or at least reminders for yourself to ensure regular touchpoints are made. And, finally, you need to continually report on the satisfaction of your overall client base and make adjustments as necessary.
If you do these 4 things well, you’ll be on your way to increasing client retention and building your agency’s brand on a positive customer experience.
[Guide] Providing Value to Clients: Onboarding, cross-selling, & reporting
In this guide, we discuss the importance of having effective processes around client onboarding, cross-selling, and client reporting. With the right technology, your agency can deliver a positive and truly valuable customer experience.