When discussing the success of any type of relationship, whether it’s friendship, romantic relationships, family relationships, business relationships, etc, one of the most talked about components for a lasting, secure relationship is healthy communication.
Another important element that’s not spoken of as often is mutual benefit - is the relationship serving both parties in the way they need and expect?
The relationships you have between yourself and your clients aren’t much different from other types of relationships in these aspects.
There should be mutual benefit for both parties and clear, healthy communication.
Because insurance isn’t a tangible product, sometimes, insurance customers don’t actually recognize the value until a loss occurs.
When buying insurance, it's easy to get caught up in the cost when you haven't had to experience the benefits of having your assets covered.
This often puts consumers in the mindset of finding the cheapest coverage possible (which doesn't put you, the agent, in the best position to help them out).
Despite that, there is a product that you can surely deliver on without the client having to go through a loss: the customer experience.
By providing them with a convenient, secure customer experience and peace of mind, you're able to show them the value of your relationship.
Communication plays a few different roles in the customer experience:
Deepens/strengthens the bond
Ensures that you’re on the same page throughout the partnership
Resolves any issues as needed
Presents growth opportunities such as referrals and up-sells
Gives clients value that they can actually see and experience
Can you over-communicate with your clients?
In some types of relationships, overcommunication is better than under communication.
However, excessive communication without any perceived value can actually diminish the relationship you have with your customers.
The last thing you want is for your clients to think that you don’t respect their time.
So, how much is too much?
I don’t have a specific number of times you should or shouldn’t reach out to your customers.
But I’ve got a question you can ask yourself when it comes to the frequency, context and style of your communication to your customers -
Does this specific communication add value to your customer’s experience?
If it adds value, awesome!
If not, take a look at things and adjust as needed.
Maybe a different kind of message would add value, or maybe you need to communicate the same message at a different time or through a different channel for it to add value to the customer experience.
What are some of the things you should have open communication about with your customers?
Here’s a list of examples:
Life changes that could affect their risk and current coverage
When you get them discounts
Sure, discounts help your customers, but if they don’t know that you got it for them, their perceived value stays the same.
Renewals & premium changes
Policy specific re-writes/changes
Policy specific educational content
Safe driving practices
Taking care of their home in specific weather conditions
Season specific news that’s relevant to them/their policies
Personal well wishes (think birthdays, anniversaries, etc.)
These add a friendly touch to the experience and can help remind them that you’re there for them.
Channels of Communication
When looking at the above list of things that should be communicated with your customers, one specific method of communication might come to mind most: phone calls.
Phone calls have been and still are an effective channel of communication, however, there are many other effective ways to connect with your customers.
Here’s a list of just some of the different channels:
In-person customer insurance review meetings
In this business type of relationship, where your customers are paying you for a service, it’s important that you communicate with them in the ways they prefer.
When onboarding new customers, make sure to ask them what ways they prefer to be contacted.
Share your social media pages with them so they can choose whether or not to follow and receive general updates that way.
If you haven’t already, you’ll find that certain communications are best done through phone calls, like scheduling customer insurance review appointments (FFRs, PPRs, IFRs, Simple Conversations, etc.).
A heads up text or email a week before you call to schedule an appointment could also increase the likelihood for them to schedule, since they’ll now be expecting the call.
Other topics of communication like educational content might be better received through an email newsletter to specific types of customers or a social media post.
An in-person/virtual appointment is a great time to get updated on life changes and new potential risks.
Know Your Customers
Each agency is unique. Each book of business is unique.
And ultimately, you know your customers best.
Knowing the ways they prefer to be contacted is vital to the relationship and to your agency’s long-term success.
What success has your agency found by having these different channels of communication open with your clients? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear what you have to say!