10 ways to retain your best insurance clients

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How to retain your best insurance clients, even during COVID-19

  1. Because it costs 5x as much to score a new customer than to keep an existing one, retention is crucial, even during this pandemic.
  2. Learn 10 steps to retaining your clients during COVID, including how to communicate and the various channels to use
  3. How to respond on the phone and on social media
  4. Include new, fun methods such as a contest or asking customers to post pictures
  5. Learn how to evaluate your customer retention

You’ve heard it said that acquiring a new customer costs five times more than retaining an existing customer. Customer retention is particularly important for your agency to master, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, when both personal and business spending is low, and many expenditures have been put on hold. How can you retain your best insurance clients plus calculate customer retention? Read on.

First, take a look at these stats from Business.com:

  • Customer acquisition is significantly more difficult and expensive than customer retention.
  • Returning customers typically spend 33% more than new customers.
  • To retain customers during COVID-19, you can pivot your products or services to fit consumer needs, and use technology and social media to share personalized, helpful resources.

No doubt you’ve found ways around not being able to visit your clients, taking them treats or out to lunch. Perhaps you’ve sent them lunch or a box of donuts. Learn more ways you can retain your best insurance clients during the pandemic with these 10 ideas for you to consider and enact.

1. Communicate often and well

Remain in touch with your customers. Let them know how much you appreciate them and care about them—even if they are buying fewer services from you. Some will need regular communications; others may tell you they’re fine and please cut back on your communication. Because many of your customers have customers too, what you communicate may reach a larger audience. Staying in touch more closely with your customers during these difficult times will help you forge even stronger relationships that are likely to endure for years.

 

2. Answer the phone

When people buy a policy from you, they want accessibility. They want to be able to reach you during business hours with any question they have, and learn from your expertise. They want full transparency, and for you to put their minds at ease. Issues with retention often result from simple miscommunication issues. If your customers can’t get a hold of you, they’ll become frustrated and distrustful, taking their business elsewhere. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to prevent if you’re careful to be available, helping you to retain your best insurance clients.

 

3. Revamp your website for better communication

  • Make your contact information easy for people to find on your website. Be sure to add it in your e-signature line and on all your social media sites.
  • Consider offering a live chat option on your website. No doubt there are questions that you and your team answer over and over again. A chatbot can handle those for you. Chat options make it easy for customers – both current and potential – to get the answers they need. Whether you choose live chat or chatbots, there are several affordable companies that can provide a quick way to install widgets on a website. The live chat widget sends you notifications in real-time when someone is trying to contact you online.
  • Consider Google Messaging as part of your Google My Business (GMB) listing. GMB’s messaging feature allows your customers to get in touch with you via a button on your listing. Follow these instructions to set up the process. setting up the process. This tool not only provides customer service but can also attract more clients to your business. If you enact these feature, it’s important to reply to any messages received within 24 hours to promote trust between you and the sender.
  • To help you retain your best insurance clients, add helpful content to your website that’s valuable right now, during the pandemic. Whether it’s how-to blogposts, webinars or podcasts, teach your customers something that solves their current needs. Using a provider such as Zoom (free or inexpensive upgrade) to host online events such as how to prepare for tornado or fire season or protect your home while you’re away (for personal lines) or how you can reduce COVID-related work comp claims or protect your property while everyone’s working from home, will keep them engaged. Check out other loss prevention articles in our blog to use as the basis for your webinar.   

 

4. Ramp up your social media

  • Ensure your social media profile, picture, office hours and phone numbers are up-to-date.
  • Should you add another platform? Start with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google My Business.
  • Watch to see what your competition posts. How can you enlarge or improve on the information they publish?
  • Follow your clients and comment on their posts to show that you’re engaged in their success.

Social media plays an integral part with today’s consumers, so use it to your advantage. No doubt your customers are already scrolling through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so create engaging posts across your various social channels to bring your agency to the top of their news feeds.

5. Use contests to increase customer feedback and engagement

You can enhance customer relationships with contests and fun events on your social profiles. Using one or both will greatly enhance your engagement on that profile, with a result of your posts being shown to more of your followers. Ask your personal lines customers to post their best DIY project during the stay-at-home orders, or commercial lines clients for their best advice about helping employees thrive during this time. Want to hold a webinar or other event? Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer “Events” where you can publicize and hold your online event. Involving your customers and possibly your local community through these types of interactions can drive interest in your business. If your contest elicits customer feedback, use it to improve your practices and customer service.

 

6. Reply respectfully in your social media

Yelp, Facebook, Google My Business and Twitter are the perfect places for your customers to vent their frustration about your business. This means that a significant number of people will see the negative feedback and ratings on your social media profiles. While you can’t prevent negative feedback on social media, you can prevent it from getting out of hand.

  • Monitor your social media profiles regularly, responding quickly to resolve these problem posts.
  • Be polite and patient rather than escalating the issue by becoming defensive or angry in your response.
  • Ask them to PM (private message) you which will take the conversation out of the public eye.
  • The fact that you respond quickly and respectfully shows people that your business takes care of customers.

 

7. Add a personal touch to retain your best insurance clients

Remember: the pandemic has personally impacted your customers on multiple levels. As you speak to your customers, make your message and tone both personal and compassionate. Consider using handwritten cards, customized emails and phone calls to see how their customers are doing. 

It’s also important to remind your existing customers of your value to them. Rather than sending generic emails about how “we’re all in this together,” provide valuable insights that can help them during this time of need. Offering valuable resources is a great way to remind your customers that you stand ready to help them.

  • Send an eBook. Choose a book that’s been influential to you and your business. This will give your customers a great insight into your company culture.
  • Send a Treat: You can support your local bakeries while giving your customers something sweet.

 

8. Pivot your services

Brainstorm how your business can uniquely pivot to address a greater concern or need. It’s a great way to stand out amongst competitors during (hopefully) the remaining months of this pandemic. Many consumers, both business and individuals, are reluctant to make major purchases right now. What can you do differently to meet them where they are and address their immediate concerns? 

 

9. Promote your brand

You know this: People are more likely to buy from brands that they believe in and feel personally invested in. Determine how you can promote the “why” behind your agency and connect your customers with your company mission. You don’t exist just to sell policies. You exist to help customers build more security in their lives to protect themselves, their families and their businesses. Tell the story of how and why your agency was founded. Share how you’ve contributed to your community. Show how (with specific examples) you’re committed to your employees and clients. All of these will build brand loyalty and customer support.

How’s your customer service? Potential customers and current customers pay attention to what you say you’re going to do or offer. If their expectations don’t match their experience, you won’t retain loyal customers. Always make promises to your clients that you can keep.

 

10. Be Proactive to retain your best insurance clients

Every agency can benefit from identifying potential client issues or friction points before they become harmful to your business. When you proactively identify customer pain points while they’re still in the early stages, you have more time to thoughtfully plan and execute your plan. You’re better positioned to design and implement systems for dealing with these issues.

Often customers won’t express their initial feelings of displeasure openly. Instead, their displeasure smolders. Meanwhile, you’re convinced that customer is doing well and pleased with your service. And then at renewal time, they suddenly announce they’re moving to a new broker. Why? It’s typically not a sudden decision, but a gradual process. Their dissatisfaction worsens, they make plans to defect. Your job is to identify this initial friction point and resolve it, thus retaining a valuable customer.

When you consider that most clients won’t voice their frustration initially, it’s a complicated task. That’s why it’s important to figure out how you can pinpoint when customers first start the journey of deflection. Surveys are a great tool to clue you into these slight bumps in the road. Your clients are much more likely to express their frustration in a survey than to your face. When you recognize a pain point that may cause future deflection, contact that client directly. Ask them how you can improve your service and try to resolve their problem.

 

How can you calculate your customer retention?

Business.com provides a general retention rate formula that you can use as your scoring system, to see how well you’re able to retain your best insurance clients:

Customer retention rate = ((CE-CN)/CS) x 100

      • CE = Number of customers at the end of period
      • CN = Number of new customers acquired during period
      • CS = Number of customers at the start of period

It’s up to you as to whether you want to calculate on a quarterly, half-year or annual basis. Business.com said some companies choose to evaluate monthly, using that figure to set expectations for the following month.

Remember: we have faced crises like this in past and most likely will face them again in future. Your commercial clients want to return to growth and provide excellent value to their own customers.

Deloitte asks, “What moments in people’s lives can you improve via your offerings? What new, improved and innovative offerings can you launch in the market now that will give you momentum as we come out of COVID-19?” Factor these into your future offerings, they added. Listen to your customers; then let them know how important they are to you by keeping their interests first and foremost. You will be rewarded by customer loyalty and trust.

Resources:

Improve Customer Retention During Covid-19
Feel like you have been ‘benched’ in this quarantine?
How to Retain Customers During COVID-19
COVID-19: Maintaining customer loyalty and trust during times of uncertainty