Being in business for over 30 years makes a guy confident in knowing his customers and yet I was surprised at the difference between my perception and my clients’ points of view.
What prompted this desire to better understand my clients is because my agency has been growing with absolutely no marketing of any kind. I figured if I could harness what I have in order to better understand my future clients buying behavior then I could really grow the business with intention.
Up to this point I have heard some of my CSRs talk on the phone about helping their client to decrease their premium. When they get off the phone I ask them one simple question-“What was the impetus behind the discussion on decreasing the premium”. And every response I got from a CSR indicated that they started that line of conversation and not the client. They told me that since the economy is bad that they would pro-actively look to decrease the premium in order to keep the client. I identified this as an area for improvement.
Also, I have been seeing an uptick in the amount of emails my CSRs send but a decrease in phone calls. I felt this was an area I needed to further understand because it makes sense to me to have the phone calls higher because email should be the follow up and not the initial touch.—So I thought.
As part of measuring customer loyalty we started with a simple survey asking, ‘How are we doing’ and the responses amazed us. We sent out 1200 survey requests and received 520 opens and 160 click-thrus and 150 responses.
Some of the feedback we received was a bit surprising to me:
- Hearing from us more often—A large percentage of our clients wanted to go through their policies at least once a year and in many cases twice a year and said they would make the time.
- Price is not always the issue—another point brought up was that decreasing the premium was not as important as the level of coverage they would like to receive. (This response just confirmed what I was trying to tell my CSRs.)
- Email is the preferred method of communication!—this surprised me. In every insurance group I belong to and every marketing company that focuses on insurance the battle cry has always been; Postal MAIL. The only people who really want mail these days are those that did not grow up with the Internet and my small business owners that are not in one place for any length of time. The percentage of responses that requested email as their preferred method of communication is 71%. That is amazing.
In this day and age I have realized that by offering my clients and prospects many touch points of communication with my agency that they would then interact with me when and how they wanted to which has added a highly personalized facet to my business that I did not have before.
I wanted to share my story for two reasons. The first is to remind yourself that no matter how long you have been in business or how large your agency is you NEVER will know it all so be willing to learn. Secondly, it is hugely important to make sure you understand your client’s every need before quoting him/her or them because it isn’t always about the size of the premium, it is really the effectiveness of the coverage.