Building loyal customers and agency growth

May 2, 2024

In the fiercely competitive world of insurance—where every customer represents a hard-won victory—the cost of acquiring new clients looms significantly higher than retaining existing ones. Shockingly, research reveals that in any industry it can be up to five times more expensive to secure a new customer than to nurture the loyalty of an established one.

Insurance agents grapple with some of the most daunting customer acquisition rates of all. It can take a staggering 7-10 times more in investment to land a new customer than to retain an existing one. That’s why making customer retention a top priority is critical for sustainable growth. Loyal customers will spend more over time and become easier to maintain and nurture.

What are the strategies?

No. 1: Personalize interactions. When a potential client comes to you for an insurance policy, he or she is looking for an affordable option and to buy from someone he or she trusts. But trust doesn’t happen automatically; it is built over time through personalized interactions with you and your staff, and seeing you deliver what you promise.

The key to getting it right is to understand your client’s unique needs and to tailor your offerings and communications accordingly. Everyone at your agency who interacts with your insureds should have information available to help identify insurance needs and make product recommendations.

Personalization extends beyond product recommendations, though. It needs to encompass every interaction point, including marketing communications, policy servicing, and claims handling. Simple acts like sending personalized birthday greetings, get-well cards after an accident, or timely reminders for policy renewals demonstrate a genuine interest in the customers’ well-being and strengthen your bond with them.

No. 2: Streamline processes. Signing on with an insurance agency can feel daunting to clients. By reducing friction and response times, insurers can foster a positive brand perception. Technology solutions such as digital platforms, mobile apps and automation tools can simplify processes.

For example, implementing a self-service portal where customers can manage their policies easily, file claims and access relevant documents empowers them with greater control and convenience. Similarly, integrating chatbots or virtual assistants into customer service channels enables real-time assistance and resolves queries promptly, thereby enhancing the overall experience.

One of the most critical points in a client’s journey with your agency is right after he or she receives the first bill. In the spirit of personalization and streamlining, send your new insured a welcome packet with a handwritten thank-you card for signing on with your agency. Make the start of your client’s journey with you easy by providing checklists to verify his or her information is fully accurate, and you have records to ensure prompt and valuable service when the client needs it.

No. 3: Proactive communication. Adopt proactive communication strategies to keep clients informed and engaged. This includes timely updates on policy renewals, claims status and relevant industry insights. This also could include letting them know of new discounts that have surfaced related to their driving habits, location, associations or trade.

Proactive communication also involves anticipating customer needs and addressing potential concerns before they escalate. For instance, provide educational resources on risk management, insurance coverage options and claim settlement processes. This not only empowers customers, but it also enhances their trust in your expertise and guidance.

No. 4: Continuous improvement. Insurance agents should embrace a culture of continuous improvement, soliciting feedback from customers and employees alike. Regularly analyzing customer feedback, market trends and competitive benchmarks can provide valuable insights for refining how you present your solutions and manage your insured’s experience.

Fostering a culture of innovation and experimentation encourages employees to propose new ideas for enhancing the customer experience. In smaller agencies, this can be as straightforward as:

  • Encouraging open communication: Create an environment in which team members feel comfortable sharing ideas and feedback to improve customer service.
  • Embracing technology: Explore user-friendly software or apps to streamline processes, making it easier for clients to access information and services.
  • Providing educational resources: Offer workshops or online resources to help your clients understand their insurance options and make informed decisions.
  • Seeking feedback: Regularly solicit input from clients to identify areas for improvement and ensure their needs are met effectively.

No. 5: Put your people first. Your customers choose your agency because of you, the owner, or your producers—they want to rely on familiar faces when seeking assistance. However, as the business continues to grow, it’s essential to strike a balance between selling and providing exceptional service. This is where skilled customer service representatives come into play. These individuals not only handle inquiries and concerns promptly, but they also possess the ability to cross-sell or upsell when appropriate, enhancing revenue streams without compromising client relationships.

Personality fit is crucial when selecting candidates for customer service roles. Adaptability, strong communication skills, and likeability are essential traits that ensure positive interactions with clients. The ability to navigate delicate situations, such as politely declining a customer request, is equally crucial. A well-rounded customer service team can effectively manage client expectations while fostering trust and loyalty.

When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to go the extra mile to deliver exceptional service, driving long-term success for the agency. Ensuring that everyone within the team gets along and operates cohesively fosters synergy and a sense of belonging. So put your people first, make sure they’re happy, and they’ll do their part in keeping your clients happy. With unwavering dedication to delivering excellence at every touchpoint, insurance agents can forge lasting relationships, inspire loyalty and thrive in an increasingly customer-centric ecosystem. By prioritizing personalized interactions, streamlining processes, fostering proactive communication, embracing continuous improvement and putting your people first, insurance agents can cultivate loyalty, drive growth, and differentiate themselves in a competitive landscape.

Keather Snyder
President & COO at The Omnia Group | + posts

Keather Snyder is the president, and COO of The Omnia Group, a leader in helping organizations optimize their talent selection, and continuously grow and inspire their workforce.

Related stories…

Share This