How to retain insurance clients and boost your annual profits
You’ve heard the statistic: It costs anywhere from five to 25 times as much to acquire new customers as it does to actively retain insurance clients. For small-to-mid-sized agencies, that’s a lot of dough. So today we’re bringing you some of the latest tactics in retention marketing that we’ve uncovered.
Here’s another statistic: Increasing your client retention rates by just five percent increases your profits by 25-95 percent, according to research by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company. As billionaire investor Warren Buffet says, “Any business that has delighted customers has a sales force out there that you don’t have to pay. You don’t see them, but they are talking to people all the time.” And they are your satisfied clients.
You already know their value: They trust you, therefore they listen to you first. They’re less likely to move their business due to a price increase because you’ve proven your worth as an insurance consultant and answerer-of-all-their-questions. They’re more resistant to the sales efforts of your competitors. And they’re open to cross-sell opportunities because you’ve earned the right to speak into their personal lives or their business.
So how can you retain insurance clients and maximize every relationship? Here are a few key points to ponder:
Do we deliver what we promise?
Sure, your agents know not to over-promise, but in the face of potentially losing the sale, sometimes they do. The fact is, if you’re failing to measure up to your clients’ expectations, chances are you’ll lose their loyalty. Maybe not right away, but rest assured, they’ve silently put you on notice.
1. Take clients’ temperature. Two to four times a year, send an email with a link to an easy and short questionnaire (SurveyMonkey has a free version you can use). One of the most effective surveys you can use is just the one-question Net Promoter Score: “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend this agency to a friend or colleague?” 0-6 are termed “Detractors,” not likely to recommend; 7 or 8 are “Passives,” somewhat satisfied but could easily switch if they find a better offer, and probably won’t recommend you to their friends; and 9-10 are “Promoters” who often act as your evangelist to other potential clients.
2. Ask the harder questions. As a team, what is your agency doing to cause turnover? What are your clients doing that’s contributing to their defection? How can you better manage client relationships to ensure those issues don’t crop up again? The point of this exercise is not to point fingers at agents who over-promise or CSRs who may under-deliver. Instead, pinpoint the issues with an eye towards bridging the gap between expectations and deliverables to help you retain insurance clients.
3. Engage in social monitoring. What feedback are clients providing on your social networks and other sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Google and more? Once you’ve engaged with them, how have you been able to solve their issues? Have you rescued a nearly lost client and turned the situation around? What lessons did you take from this episode that can help in the future?
4. Set up a client advisory board. Looking at your client roster, determine a group of 4-10 clients who will provide honest and thoughtful feedback. Meet with them 2-3 times a year to get their take on changes you’re considering, how new changes have been received, their recommendations for improvement and so forth.
What’s your competition doing?
How are they performing in your marketplace, versus your agency? What can you learn from their successes and failures?
5. Talk with your sales team. How difficult do they find it to differentiate your agency from their competition? What are the competition’s strengths? Weaknesses?
6. Use the intel you’ve gathered. How can you use your competition’s weaknesses to your advantage? How can you utilize your strengths and success stories more fully?
How can we utilize our most satisfied customers?
7. Commercial lines: If your client is a small business owner and a member of a local chamber of commerce or industry group, inquire about the opportunity to address the group on similar risks that your client was facing, and have your client introduce you with a short testimonial.
8. Personal lines: If your personal auto client is a member of a vintage car club or motorcycle breakfast club, tag along to the next meeting and ask your client to introduce you around.
Of course, your team of agents will always be pursuing new leads and new clients. That’s a major portion of their job. But shifting their focus somewhat to help them manage new client expectations and actively retain insurance clients will positively impact your bottom line as well.
Your turn: What tactics have proven most successful for you in being able to retain insurance clients?