Do Your Insurance Agency Customers Love You?

12thDec. × ’11

As a follow on to the post on The Future of Independent Insurance Agent in Personal Lines, though this post is applicable to all lines of insurance and insurance agency customers..

I recently was contacted by one of Confluency’s client agencies who was concerned that their satisfaction ratings were lower than average.  A prospect/client survey report card is included as part of our website admin so some data is provided to all agents after a website service or quote request.  In this case, the ratings were low across the board:  timeliness of response, satisfaction with explanations and information, etc.  But the real vote of confidence is in this question:  Would you be comfortable referring a friend or family member to us for their insurance needs?  Clients who provide referrals, as well as those that don’t, are voting with their feet, so to speak.  Most of the rest of the questions have to do with why clients are happy or unhappy  – learning about that gives you an opportunity to influence future survey results (and ultimately, retention, account sales and referrals).

So if you ask your clients if they are satisfied that you have explained insurance coverage and options adequately and a disproportionate number answer ‘no’, then you obviously need to spend a little more time with each client.  Spending time with clients is a real key to happiness.  Let me digress a little and share information from the medical world.  A few years ago, a medical malpractice insurer correlated malpractice lawsuits with the amount of time doctors spent with each patient.  Some doctors that spent, on average, just a couple more minutes with each patient.  And those doctors were sued a lot less often than doctors who hurried on to the next patient.  It’s harder to sue someone you like and you are more prone to ‘like’ a doctor who actually spends a minute or two talking and listening to you.  In the same way, clients who feel ‘loved’ by your insurance agency are far more disposed to ‘like’ you and are less inclined to shop their insurance elsewhere every time they experience a minor bump in the road.

In this context, love is synonymous with communication.  You can’t do a better job explaining insurance coverage and options to clients unless you spend just a little more time with them.  You can do that by being more efficient and taking advantage of every low-cost communication medium you possible can (i.e., your website, email and Facebook).  But even if you do that, insurance agency management will need to spend a little more time by taking a moment or two each month to communicate with all clients (newsletter, social media) and your CSRs and producers are going to have to spend just a bit more time with each client and prospect on the back end of every transaction.  Time is money, so at the end of the day, that means that the pot of gold used to pay salaries and bonuses will be a little smaller, at least at first.

Most insurance agencies are working at capacity – maybe your staff isn’t necessarily spending time as efficiently as you would like or maybe they aren’t choosing the tasks they spend time on wisely – but there is no doubt everyone is busy.  Something has to give.

What Kind of Communication Makes Insurance Consumers Happy?

Writer’s block is the bane of all authors, and that includes insurance agents who want to pen newsletters or post to Facebook or start a blog.  The first hurdle, coming up with a topic to write about, is often insurmountable.  Here’s a clue for insurance agencies, courtesy of a recent survey conducted by Siegle+Gale:  consumers find every single touch point in the insurance relationship to be complex.  And they are willing to pay more if the insurance experience can be simplified – the study suggests 5% – 6.5% more.

Insurance Complexity Survey Chart

Survey Data from Siegle+Gale Global Brand Simplicity Index 2011

So take advantage of all the inexpensive and easy-to-use communication channels that are available to your agency and start to develop strategies to simplify insurance for your customers.  They will love you for it.  Just as important, they will be willing to pay a bit more for their insurance.

 

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