How to Design Value Around Your Customer
As an insurance agent, the ability to go beyond affordability is essential to creating customers for life. Yes, you should be competitively priced, but the truth is, you’re not always going to win on that alone, so you need to be able to give additional value to keep your customers where they are instead of jumping ship every two or three years. That means designing value around their lives and personalities. It’s tricky, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach, but you can get there with a few simple techniques. Let’s look at each one.
Meet them where they are.
Customers have varying tastes and interests when it comes to doing business, and communication is one of many. Instead of forcing a client to conform to your way of doing things, use your tools and technology to learn where a client is and meet them on their terms. Do they like speaking to you in person? On the phone? On Facebook? Whatever you can do to make some aspect of their experience easier on them, will pay dividends at renewal.
Make it easy for them to pay.
I don’t want to come across like I’m endorsing any one company over another here — and truthfully, most reputable companies now offer these same options — but let me just share with you my own personal payment experience. My company allows integration with a mobile/web app called Mint. Being the forgetful person I am, I use Mint to remind me that payments are coming due. My insurance company will integrate its online platform — with my permission of course — with the Mint app, so that I get email and text reminders that my due date is approaching. My company also allows me to set up automatic bank drafting so I never miss, or have to keep up, with a payment. I don’t utilize that because at one time I wasn’t as financially solvent as I am today, but it’s something I’ll likely switch to in the future. The point: having flexibility in the options creates a convenience for me as a customer, and that adds to the overall value.
Don’t keep regular office hours.
This isn’t to say you should shut down your office hours entirely. No, by all means, leave the doors open from 8am to 5pm. Just don’t limit your insurance leads and customers to that. In other words, be accessible on their terms when you can. Have procedures in place for responding to urgent questions, whether those questions come at 3:30 in the afternoon or midnight. You’ll find that if you establish the parameters at signup, your insurance customers won’t be likely to abuse your open accessibility. Just let them know that you may not be able to get to something immediately if it’s outside normal office hours, but for emergencies they can call a certain number or leave a message on your Facebook (your preference). When you do respond immediately to something after office hours — emergency or not — it can create a deeper sense of security in how customers perceive you.
Get to know them personally, as much as you can.
Knowing their family situation is good for being able to pinpoint the policies that they need to have in place. It also allows you to sell more than one product to the customer at a rate they can afford, taking advantage of discounts your company offers along the way. And statistics have shown that the more policies you sell to a single customer, the less likely they are to leave. Last but not least, knowing your clients personally and keeping notes on their interests and hobbies provides excellent customer service opportunities down the road.
Find solutions before they’re aware of the problems.
All of these things add up to the ultimate way you can design value for your customers — by knowing what they need before they need it, so they’re not blindsided by a specific life situation.
Value is what every insurance agent should be working toward, and hopefully, you can start using some of the techniques above in your own agency as you build your client list and deepen those relationships. Best of luck in getting there!