Earlier this month, we discussed some of the many benefits of implementing a proactive retention strategy in your insurance agency.
You can read it here if you missed it, but I'll give you a brief refresher.
Benefits of a Proactive Retention Strategy:
Differentiates you from your competition
Builds confidence and trust with your customers
Increases the lifetime value of your customers
Ability to catch concerns/potential issues before they arise
A more accurate understanding of your customers' needs, expectations, and sentiments
Increases perceived value
Now that we've covered some of the benefits of a proactive approach to retention, let's go over some things you can do to implement this game-changing strategy!
We'll go into the various channels and methods of connecting with your customers proactively, but what is the content or substance of the interaction?
I'm assuming it's not to ask them what they thought about the Bachelor finale (unless you're at that level with your customer, to which I say: good on you).
All jokes aside, the ultimate goal for this outreach is to increase retention - a value to you and your business.
To achieve that goal, you have to add value for the customer.
If your customer doesn't see the value or substance of the interaction, they'll likely feel that you're wasting their time, and your efforts will be wasted (or worse, they'll backfire).
There are many different ways you can add value to your customers' lives, and some of those things might be unique to your agency.
Because each agency is unique, before sharing our ideas, here are some guidelines to follow when determining if something will add value to your customer.
Make sure the interaction does at least one or two of these things:
Educates or informs
Opens up a dialogue
Fosters a relationship
And ultimately adds value to their life
This isn't a comprehensive list by any means. Just make sure what you're bringing to the table adds real value.
You'll also need to make sure the matter is relevant to…
(For example, I might be confused if my agent sent me an article about getting snow tires for the winter in July because it's not relevant to the season.)
In each section, we'll discuss the purpose or substance of interactions you could be having with your clients to increase retention proactively.
At the end of each section, we'll list some different channels you can utilize for the outreach.
Renewals & Policy Changes
You should already communicate with your clients upon renewal, so I'm guessing this won't be a huge change for most agencies.
Whatever channel you use to contact your customers about renewals or pricing and policy changes, it's important to take a consultative approach instead of only telling them about the changes. (Forbes)
Have several coverage options available for them so you can work together to choose the best course of action that meets their individual needs.
Potential Channels to Utilize:
Direct mail, phone calls, in-person appointments, email.
Annual Customer Insurance Review Meetings
IFRs, Simple Conversations, FFRs, PPRs, Policy Reviews - whatever you prefer to call them - they're vital to proactive retention.
The purpose of a review meeting is to investigate and educate:
Investigate to find new potential risks or needs of your client and then educate them on their coverage and other options you believe would benefit them.
By making review meetings a regular practice (usually once every 1-2 years for each client), you put yourself in a better position to provide the best possible coverage for your clients.
You can't know what life changes your customers are going through that might affect their policies unless they communicate with you about those changes - which they might not think to do.
When most people experience life changes, how it could affect their insurance coverage isn't always the first thing that comes to mind.
You've got to be meeting with them so that you, the expert, can arm them with information and provide them with the best coverage options that suit their current needs…and then do it again in a year or two.
The needs of your customers are ever-changing, after all.
Learn more about implementing a customer insurance review program at your agency: How Customer Insurance Reviews Elevate Your Agency
Channels to utilize to implement customer insurance reviews:
Phone calls, in-person appointments, virtual appointments.
Customer Loyalty Program
With varying rules and regulations surrounding insurance premiums, you probably won't be able to offer customer loyalty discounts, but that doesn't mean you can't implement a customer loyalty program.
There's also nothing wrong with letting your customers know the benefits of having just one insurance agent for all their coverage.
Gift cards and company merch are just a few things you can reward your loyal customers with.
You could also consider partnering with local businesses like auto-repair shops for quick, more affordable service for those loyal customers.
Advertising your loyalty program through social media, email newsletters, and direct mail to your customers can be a simple, easy way to proactively increase retention.
*Make sure you're familiar with local laws and regulations surrounding insurance customer loyalty incentives before implementing anything.
Channels to Utilize:
Social media, email, direct mail.
Asking for Feedback
You've probably got a handful of customers who won't be shy about what they think, but you can't expect all your customers to give you unsolicited feedback. (This article is about proactivity, isn't it?) You've got to ask for it directly.
During their annual review, don't be afraid to ask for feedback on their experience with you and your team.
Additionally, consider using a free online survey platform like SurveyMonkey to automatically send surveys to your clients after specific interactions with your agency or periodically throughout the year.
People are typically much more honest about how they feel in an online survey than if you ask them face to face.
It goes without saying that as you gather the feedback, you should be making adjustments to better serve your customers.
Improved processes will surely deepen trust, especially in response to their specific feedback. (Not to mention, the opportunity to give feedback and have their voices heard can feel therapeutic in and of itself.)
The "Retention Alert" message is another helpful tool for agents who use our appointment setting service.
When one of our callers speaks to a client that mentions they're shopping around for other options or maybe they're unhappy about with their agent, our caller marks this as a "Retention Alert."
Agents then receive an email with the call information so they can act quickly to resolve whatever issues have come up. While it might seem like a reactive approach, this is a good example of both proactive and reactive efforts working together. The initial call to schedule an appointment works to proactively uncover issues that the agents might not have seen otherwise.
Channels to Utilize:
Phone calls, appointments, email, text.
Let your customers in on what's happening at your agency!
Not all your customers will care about the fun, behind-the-scenes content, but sharing agency news (formal and informal) in a monthly newsletter could be a great way to help them feel like they know you better.
Social media is also an excellent tool for this kind of low-stakes interaction because it's totally up to your customer to engage with you on social media.
It's there for those who want that extra interaction; for those who don't? They don't have to worry about it.
New staff members? Newly licensed staff members? A team member had a baby? Or a birthday? These are all things you can update your social media with to give customers a peek inside the human side of your business - not just the business side of your business.
Channels to Utilize:
Social media, email, and for more formal, business-related updates, direct mail could be used as well!
Providing your clients with information and helpful tips empowers them to make the best coverage decisions.
This deepens their trust in you as their go-to insurance advisor.
Educational material can come in many forms: blog posts, articles, videos, physical handouts, etc.
You can use the material in virtually any channel - in person, through social media, email, you name it.
The important thing here is to make sure the material you provide is relevant to those you send it to.
Example: For all of your auto customers, you can send seasonal tips on safe driving, car maintenance, and anything that could help them with their auto policies.
Create an up-to-date list of all the products you sell with a brief description of when they would be helpful and provide it to all of your customers (during a review meeting would be ideal).
Even if they don't need more insurance coverage now, they'll probably need it down the road.
And their friends will too!
If you need help creating educational content, learn how in this blog post: How to Create Educational Content that Sells Policies
Channels to Utilize:
Social media posts, personalized emails, appointments, direct mail.
Creating a customer experience that brings real value into your customers' lives is the best way to increase retention.
Proactive service will do wonders for your agency.
What other ways have you been able to service your customers proactively? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for feedback!
If you'd like to learn how to implement a customer insurance review program in your agency but aren't sure where to start, sign up for our FREE AgencyThrive Program. You'll receive access to videos, downloadable worksheets, and other resources to help your agency thrive.