Customer Retention Strategies To Create Lifelong Customers

According to Harvard Business School, boosting customer retention by 5 percent will lift your profits by anywhere from 25 to 95 percent.

That’s why getting a customer to purchase an insurance policy — for any successful agent — is merely the beginning. For those who think the work is done and they no longer have to try, customers are generally out the door in two to three years.

But for those of you who understand this principle of longevity, you’re probably focused more on what you can do to KEEP your customers rather than simply what you can do to get them in the door. If you’re looking for customer retention strategies that work, start with the following practices.


The Customer Giveaway

Giving back to your customers in some way might cost you upfront, but it can pay huge dividends in their ongoing business, and in the likelihood that they will become a brand evangelist for you, so that you’re not constantly having to seek out new business cold. Think about running a simple social media contest to give away prizes that might be of some relevant value — like a car seat for customers with new additions or a gift card to a home improvement store for home insurance customers. Whatever you come up with, make sure that all your customers know about it. Consider making an announcement on social networking channels a week or two in advance.


The Surprise

Every insurance agent has customers they like dealing with more than others. If you have built a relationship with your customers and you can make room for it in your budget, consider surprising them with a gift or appreciation of some kind — a heartfelt card or maybe two tickets to the college football/basketball/baseball game you can’t make this weekend. According to Gregory Ciotti of HelpScout, surprise reciprocity is even more powerful than reciprocity on its own.

“For a simple example, recall a time that someone did something nice for you unexpectedly; the gesture probably wasn’t all that unusual, but the fact that it came out of nowhere left a strong impression on you,” Ciotti writes.


Specialize Your Communication Platforms To The Customer

Not every retention strategy that you use has to come with a price tag affixed to it. For example, most insurance customers who stick around do so because they feel connected to their agent and their insurance company. They feel like they can get answers and communicate on their own terms and through their preferred means. While your insurer may have a system in place for expediting this communication, you might keep a spreadsheet of all your customers and include in it a section for their preferred method of contact. By personalizing any communications through that channel, you send the message that you know the customer — another big preference of longevity clients — and that you’re not a soulless machine that churns out form letters.


Get To Know Your Customers Better

As previously mentioned, customers enjoy doing business with agents and insurers, who know them. And that knowledge goes well beyond basic demographics — white male, 32 years old, wife and child, etc. It goes to the heart of personalization. When you interact with your customers, try to single out one unique trait about them that you can keep up with and use later in your marketing efforts.


In Summary

Customer retention will continue to be a big issue as the industry changes over the next few years. The good news is that agents can lead the way and continue to prove that, while there are a lot of great technology tools out there, it’s the human touch that keeps customers around for the long haul.

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