Both proactive and reactive retention methods are vital for a business to thrive.
Brad Birnbaum defines both approaches in this excellent Forbes article,
“The key differentiator between proactive and reactive service boils down to your customers’ wants and needs.
Reactive service solves for a want—a customer wants a refund, for example—and your team delivers a solution.
On the other hand, proactive service solves for a need. That means it may be something they haven’t even asked for…
Sometimes proactive service will nudge your customers towards the next part of your journey, but not necessarily. Sometimes it’s just about preventing an issue or simply making their day.”
Reactive retention efforts are inevitable for a business to have, but not all businesses put time and resources into proactive retention.
In this article, we’ll explore 6 different benefits that come from implementing a proactive customer retention strategy in your insurance agency.
Differentiate Yourself from The Competition
We’re all familiar with companies who seem only to invest time into reactive retention strategy - waiting for people to call in with their frustrations, ready to cancel.
While most businesses focus their efforts on reactive retention, you can set yourself apart from the competition by implementing a proactive strategy.
Now, obviously, reactive methods and skills must be a part of the overall retention strategy. You need to know how to resolve issues and keep customers even when they’re ready to cancel.
However, with a proactive strategy, you’ll spend less time and resources trying to change people’s minds about your service and more time reinforcing that your customer experience is superior to your competitors.
When one of our long time customers, Cecil Burt, opened his agency 50 years ago, he utilized a proactive strategy to set himself apart from the competition,
“...Most insurance agents - particularly property and casualty agents - don’t tend to proactively visit with their customers to stay in touch with them and review their risks and their insurance programs and stay on top of it.
I felt like I could provide that service - that adds value, and that makes me better than my competition, even if I happen to be a little more expensive.”
Watch or read our conversation with Cecil here.
Build Confidence and Trust
Being present in your customers’ lives before a major loss or accident occurs is vital for building confidence and trust.
The proactive engagement tells your customer that:
They’re not just a number.
You have their best interest at heart.
They can rest easy knowing their agent is looking after them.
Only making contact when a claim has been filed or when the customer has an issue sends the message that what you really care about is keeping their business - not making sure their families and assets are covered in case of a loss.
Increase Lifetime Value of Your Customers
A proactive retention strategy doesn’t only help you keep customers in your book; it also paves the way for you to increase the lifetime value of your existing customers.
The consistent outreach gives your customers more reason to trust that you care about them and their coverage. That trust combined with improved service quality fosters loyalty. (Encompass Insurance)
Where is the first place your loyal customers will look when they need more coverage?
And if that logic isn’t enough, 87% of today’s consumers expect businesses to communicate proactively. (Nice)
Catch Concerns/Potential Issues Before They Escalate
As mentioned before, being proactive prevents escalation.
Reaching out consistently to your customers gives them ample opportunity to bring up questions, concerns, and frustrations as they arise.
Without that consistent outreach, questions, concerns, and frustrations can build on each other and ultimately drive your customer away.
The longer frustration festers, the more difficult it will be to convince your customer to stay with you, so make sure frustrations and concerns you uncover by proactive outreach are handled promptly.
Accurate, Real-Time Understanding of Customer Needs, Expectations, and Sentiments
This goes hand in hand with catching potential issues early on.
Periodically reaching out to your customers creates opportunities for improvement.
Proactively asking them what they appreciate about your agency and what they would improve enables you to make changes that your customers actually want to see!
You can take the guesswork out of your agency and do exactly what will make your customers happy.
Increase Your Perceived Value
The value of insurance is hard to fully understand unless you’ve experienced an accident or a loss.
This is one of the main reasons you need to proactively reach out to enhance the customer experience by adding value.
The customer experience is the product - not just the coverage.
Price won’t matter as much to your customers when they witness you doing all you can to keep them happy and protected.
Many captive agents I’ve spoken with express this sentiment - when you can’t do much about prices, you can show your customers more value by reaching out proactively.
By only focusing on reactive retention, your agency could be missing out on these benefits and more!
Next week, make sure to check back for our blog post covering different ways you can implement a proactive retention strategy at your agency!