This guest blog post was written by Logan Strain, Digital Content Specialist at NextGen Leads. It was originally published on NextGen Lead's blog and republished here with their permission. NextGen Leads takes a unique approach to lead generation for insurance agencies that allows them to deliver exceptional value to their customers in three distinct areas: Lead quality, technology and customer experience.
Rosser Reeves was a pioneering advertising genius and the inspiration for Don Draper’s character in AMC’s Mad Men. One of his key contributions to the world of marketing is a concept called the “Unique Selling Proposition.” This, Reeves explained, is why people choose one brand over another. Before a consumer offers up their cash, they must first believe that a particular brand offers something that no one else does.
This Madison Avenue theory doesn’t seem like it translates well to the world of insurance. The policy you’re selling isn’t different than the policy the agent across the street is selling. But there’s one key opportunity to present your unique selling proposition: customer service.
Even if your product is a commodity, how you treat your customers isn’t. There’s always an opportunity to do a little more than every agent in your zip code. Here’s what you should do you if you want to have a book of clients who can’t stop talking about how great you are.
1) Be An Educator And An Advisor
It’s not just your job to help them buy. It’s also your job to make them understand.
When clients feel like they understand what they’re getting into when they sign up for a policy, they feel better about it. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a lack of client questions means they’ve achieved total understanding. Walk them through it. Help them understand how their policy protects them.
This, of course, is a challenge even for seasoned agents. Arguably, it’s even moreof a challenge for seasoned agents. You don’t want to overwhelm clients with a lifetime’s worth of insurance education. They don’t have the patience, and you don’t have the time. But you also don’t want to leave them clueless. This will make them unnecessarily anxious about their policy, or worse — they might overestimate or misunderstand their coverage.
Ideally, you should give them a CliffsNotes version of their policy. This will give them a broad overview about what their policy means, providing just enough knowledge to ask thoughtful questions about areas of confusion.
2) Keep Detailed CRM Notes
The CRM is the salesperson’s frenemy. Obviously, having all the customer data at your fingertips is necessary. But, ugh, having to actually fill out those forms during and after every single contact point is obnoxious. It’s made salespeople sound like grizzled police officers: always complaining that too much time is wasted doing the required record keeping, rather than doing the meat of their job in the field.
The thought of going above and beyond the basics might sound like a drain on the already scarce number of working minutes in a day. However, a little extra information pays dividends.
Is your customer getting a health policy for their child who’s playing little league this year? Record that. Briefly asking how the little slugger is doing during your next conversation will show that you think of them as a real person. Did your client mention maybe getting more comprehensive coverage when they get a raise on their job? Record that in the CRM and schedule a follow-up. It will prove that you were really listening — plus it will earn you a bigger commission if they follow through.
3) Wish Them A Happy Birthday
I get a birthday card from my dentist every year. The card always has a dentistypun that’s too groan-worthy to repeat. It might sound corny, but I really appreciate getting that card in the mail. Frankly, it makes me think my optometrist is dropping the ball.
Sending birthday cards should cost you under two bucks per client. But the warm fuzzies they get when you make the extra effort will eventually put much more than that in your pocket.
4) Give Social Media Shout-Outs
People who are active on social media may not admit it, but they enjoy every like, retweet, and mention they get. After they sign up for a policy, give a simple thanks on Twitter (with their permission). It only takes two seconds to give someone a tiny ego boost.
5) Post-Sale Follow Up
Here’s a startling statistic: for every customer who complains, 26 unhappy customers don’t say a word about their dissatisfaction. People like to joke sometimes that we’re a nation of crybabies who look for every reason to gripe. But the polls say otherwise. Most of us are actually tough-minded enough to suffer in silence after a regrettable purchase.
That’s why a scheduled “just checking in” call a few days after the policy starts can be so powerful. Someone who is confused or unsatisfied will probably not have the initiative to contact you about it. In fact, their new policy is probably low on their priority list. By calling and genuinely asking if everything is going well and if they have any questions, you can root out problems and solve them.
6) Turn Complaints Into Learning Opportunities
If the majority of people who are unhappy with you never speak up, then you should be grateful for those who do. These people are the voice of the silent majority. If they confess that something confuses them, then there are probably dozens of people who are confused by the same thing, but didn’t have the gumption to admit it. Understanding your vocal, unhappy clients is the best way to understand your clients as a whole.
7) Fast Response Time
This is basic, but so crucial. In fact, it doesn’t fall under “customer service” as much as “basic manners.”
When someone sends out a message to you (whether it be voicemail, email, Tweet, or whatever), they’re hoping that you’ll get back to them as soon as possible. The longer they go without a response, the longer they’ll be forced to live with an unresolved problem. But if your to-do list has a seemingly unending line of blank check boxes (which is the case with most insurance agents), answering promptly is a challenge.
That’s why you should deliberately set aside time to answer customer issues. Preferably it should be a time when they have a good chance to be available, such as the mid-afternoon. This is one of these cases when you can impress customers through basic punctuality.
8) Sell The Boss On Customer Service Improvements
If you’re an independent agent, then you can raise your customer service level to the sky. If you’re an employee, there might be more company politics involved before you make change.
Before you invest your time in customer service improvements, pitch it your manager or the agency owner. Getting top brass on board has two significant advantages. One, they’ll understand why you’re investing time in activities that aren’t directly related to bringing in new business. It will make all those Twitter shouts-outs you’re giving on company time make sense.
And two, they’ll be more inclined to pitch in. They’ll invest in materials (like those birthday cards) and training to help you make your clients feel appreciated.
The Next Level
You don’t need to be in a totally different league than your competitors in order to have an effective unique selling proposition. You only have to be different enough for clients to feel like you care a little more. That difference can do more than just make your clients know they made the right decision. A slight edge will help you earn referrals and build a reputation for excellence.
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