Economically speaking, times are tough for a lot of people right now.
And even when they’re not struggling financially, people tend to try to find the best deal - the biggest bang for their buck.
Insurance has become a commodity; when people feel they can get the same coverage from multiple places, they usually choose the cheapest option.
As you know, agency growth comes from more than acquiring new business - retaining your existing clients is essential.
But in times of economic uncertainty, when people can price shop for insurance with the click of a mouse, how are you supposed to keep their business?
The way to keep your clients from price shopping (and eventually canceling their policies with you) is to differentiate your agency from others by adding value to the customer experience.
Customer experience is an umbrella term that a lot of things fall under.
We’ve compiled a list of 9 ways you can provide additional value to the customer experience, which will, in turn, help you to retain your existing customers.
We hope you don’t get too overwhelmed with this list - there’s a lot here, but you’ll see that most of them work hand in hand.
9 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Clients from Price Shopping
1 - Proactive Communication
There are a couple of schools of thought about handling renewals - primarily because of the price increase that can accompany it.
Some agents resort to “not poke the sleeping bear” to hopefully reduce the confrontation that comes with having to justify a price increase.
While this approach might help you avoid conflict in the short term, it can cause your clients to lose trust in you, and they might feel that you don’t have their best interest at heart.
By confidently approaching renewals or other account changes, your clients will recognize that you’re doing all you can to put them first and work with them.
This is true for most changes that affect your client’s policies, not just renewals.
Be proactive and transparent with your customers regarding their policies, price increases, etc., and it will pay off.
2 - Be a Good Listener
Listening to your clients should be a given, but this is a friendly reminder.
People want to be heard and validated.
Great listening skills put you in a better position to meet client needs because you’ll have a better idea of what those needs are.
When a client wants to cancel a policy, ask questions and really listen.
How have their needs changed? Maybe they don’t need to cancel the policy after all; it might just need to be adjusted.
They may need a new type of coverage instead of what they already have. (Blitz)
3 - Upsell & Cross-Sell
There are plenty of opportunities to sell more policies right under your nose - within your current book of business!
The more policies a client has with a single agency, the lower the likelihood they will deflect to another insurance carrier or agency.
According to Insurance Journal, customers who bundle their home and auto policies have the highest retention rate of 95%.
Those who bundle auto and rental policies are close behind at 92%.
Mono-line customers, on the other hand, have a retention rate of 83%. (Insurance Journal)
Identify your mono-line customers and see what you can do to provide them with the additional coverage they need.
4 - Regularly Check for Discount Eligibility
Being proactive about discount opportunities for your clients will go a long way.
This is one of the reasons it’s recommended for insurance agents to meet with their current customers every year or so - you’ve got to discover their life changes somehow!
Peggy Corbett, an insurance agent of 30+ years and founder of Agency Transformation, puts things into perspective:
“Your client may have just put on a new roof or installed an alarm system which would qualify for a possible discount. They might have graduated college or landed their dream job which qualifies them for a new professional discount. The next agent that they talk to will surely discover the additional discounts for which they qualify. This will not only make the new agent’s premium more attractive but it will emphasize that you did not expertly do your job.” (LinkedIn)
5 - Implement a 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.
Consider partnering with local auto-repair shops for quick, more affordable service for those loyal customers.
*Make sure you’re familiar with local laws and regulations surrounding insurance customer loyalty incentives before implementing anything.
6 - Educate Your Clients
When your clients understand their coverage and what they’re paying for, they’ll have more peace of mind surrounding their risks.
By educating your clients, you also establish yourself as a trusted advisor they can turn to with any questions.
You can educate your clients in a number of ways - emailing relevant resources, posting on social media, explaining in person at a customer insurance review appointment, etc.
If you need a little help creating educational content, check out this article:
7 - Consistently Ask for (and act on) Feedback
While some customers will come to you right when they have an issue, many won’t be as straightforward.
Clients who stay quiet about issues they have with you or your agency will likely let the experience fester.
When they finally decide to cancel, it’s often too late for you to win them back because they’ve already made their decision.
If you can catch the first signs of deflection, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money, and frustration. (Arrowhead)
Consider using a free online survey platform like SurveyMonkey to automatically send your surveys to your clients after specific interactions with your agency.
People are typically much more honest about how they feel in a survey than if you ask them face to face.
Another helpful tool for agents who use our appointment-setting service is the “Retention Alert” message. When one of our callers speaks to a client who mentions they’re shopping around for other options, the caller marks this as a “Retention Alert” that gets sent to you in an email immediately so that you can act quickly.
8 - Stay Top of Mind
Staying top of mind isn’t just a strategy for acquiring new business - it also helps you to retain your existing client base.
You can stay top of mind by sharing relevant, helpful information via social media, email newsletters, direct mail, etc.
This keeps communication lines open.
When you’re top of mind, you’ll be the first person they go to when they have an insurance-related question or, better yet, a referral!
9 - Hold Annual Customer Insurance Reviews
Just about everything on this list can be handled by prioritizing a customer insurance review program.
Giving each of your clients a chance to meet with you annually creates opportunities to educate your clients, check for discounts, life changes, cross-sells or upsells, and build a solid relationship.
You’ll be able to identify pain points and issues as they arise, and by getting to know you, your clients will develop trust in you and your expertise.
Even for those clients who decline the invitation to review their coverage, you show them that you proactively do your job and have their best interest at heart.
While you can’t keep everyone happy all the time, prioritizing the customer experience by doing the things on this list will help you keep more of your customers happy, which will lower the chances that they’ll price shop and leave you for a cheaper option.
What did we miss that has worked for you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!