In the insurance business, we want everyone to have the right policy for their needs. No surprise, right? You could say the same about any industry — shoe manufacturers want everyone to wear the perfect pair of shoes; restaurants want everyone to have a delicious meal. So your independent insurance agent uses his or her expertise, and support from insurance companies like Hastings Mutual, to find the right policy for you.
So far, so good. There’s protection for you and your business and the agent has a satisfied customer. Time to move on to the next person… or is it? While customer acquisition is important to make a business grow, customer retention is equally important to make sure a business doesn’t shrink. Here’s what you can do to keep the customers you have and encourage them to tell their friends and neighbors about you.
To start, always provide an answer even if it’s not as complete as the customer wants. As we discussed before, you can let a customer know you’re taking action, though it may merely be passing along a message. If you get a call, text, or email from a customer asking about something you don’t do, you can still help the customer. Just say, “Let me put you in touch with the person who can best help you.”
Follow up after the interaction. This could be a survey, a friendly phone call, or an email forwarding along an interesting, informative article (I suggest one from Hastings Mutual). You already plan to follow up every year or so, if you’ve set a time with your customer to review an existing insurance policy. But don’t just wait until then; whenever you see something interesting, ask yourself, “Who in my customer base would appreciate this?” Then send it along.
It’s a challenge — especially in these times when anyone can leave the wrong impression with a less-than-ideal word — but offering excellent service should always be the goal. A 2015 report by Forrester Research finds that 73% of customers say the most important thing a business can do is provide them with good service online, though it’s just as important in person or on the phone.
Good service is being responsive when a customer has a question or comment and getting an answer or assistance to the customer whenever possible. Have many ways for customers to reach your business, and make sure you respond to all of them. It’s helpful to offer a live chat for your audience to contact you when you’re at your desk, but it will do no good if you don’t chat then and there.
One of the best ways to keep your clients close is to show them you’re there. Sure, a text or email does its job, but there’s no better way to keep in touch than to see your customers in person, at an event like a summer festival or a job fair. Volunteer time at a local event or monetary donations to nonprofit organizations in the community keep your name in front of people — and do a good deed at the same time.
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