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Because great retention rates come from happy customers

Remember the Happy Cows ad campaign from the early aughts? The glacially paced Holstein determined to make it out of the snowdrifts of Vermont and on to the sunnier climes of California? The Scottish sheep army mocking the placid cows in the meadow below and making an epic, Braveheart-style break for it? 

Thanks in large part to the California Milk Advisory Board’s clever campaign, milk production increased by double digits and California ultimately became the second-largest manufacturer and distributor of cheese in the United States.

The key takeaway in each new ad hung on the idea that “great cheese comes from happy cows” and happy cows stay put. If you want your insurance customers to do the same, make sure they’re happy campers.

Here are some tips and techniques to help you get started: 

Reevaluate Your Customer Experience

A recent study by IBM, Elevating the Customer Experience, found that  60% of insurance executives interviewed agreed their organization was lacking in the area of customer experience.  

The comprehensive study defines customer experience as “the holistic perception a customer has of their relationship with an organization’s business or brand,” based on “the result of every interaction a customer has with the organization.” For an insurance business, interactions can occur on a website, in an email, on social media, over a phone or video call, or in person. 

Broken down by touchpoint, how does your business rate overall? Does your customer experience delight or is it flatlining in key areas? Ask yourself:

  • Can my customers rely on me?

  • Am I available to them when they need me?

  • Do I anticipate my clients’ needs or merely meet them?

  • Am I accountable to my customers when I or a member of my team screws up?

  • Do I offer flexible solutions that adapt to my customers’ changing needs? 

If you can't answer yes to any of those questions, re-think your strategy overall, and hone in on areas where you could use improvement.

Create Personalized Experiences

Consumers place value on insurance solutions that help them mitigate the risks they face, whether it’s their health, or home and auto, or property concerns. And they value agents and brokers who understand not only what they need in terms of coverage, but also what they want as customers: Consistent customer service and individualized, relevant experiences.

To achieve that, try:

  • Responding to triggering events such as reaching Medicare age, introducing a newborn to the family, or acquiring a new home with an email that outlines beneficial coverage opportunities as well as customized packages that might address their specific needs

  • Leveraging automation technology to share advice on reducing risks to the assets they value most, whether it’s their wellbeing or their new home

  • Listening to what your customers are trying to tell you, whether it’s by keeping an eye on which pages of your website they visit, how often they open emails, whether they engage with you on social media 

  • Developing feedback loops when customers interact with your business to help ensure a timely and appropriate response that makes your customers feel valued while collecting learnings that help you improve your customer service levels and customer experience overall

Optimize Your Onboarding Experience

You know the old acorn about having only one chance to make a first impression — it’s an oldie but a goodie for a reason. If a prospect has a positive experience becoming a customer, they’re not only less likely to look for greener pastures, but also, over time, to turn to your business to help cover them in other areas. 

A seamless customer onboarding process can set the tone for years to come and help foster trust that, ideally, will deepen over time. A smooth onboarding experience should be personalized and friction-free. During this “honeymoon period” with clients, focus on:

  • Welcoming new clients with a resources kit relevant to their policies and an expectation-setting email or letter that defines and outlines what they can expect from you as their new agent or broker

  • Collecting all the necessary customer data you are going to need to optimize their customer journey at each each stage

  • Sharing troubleshooting resources to help them easily find answers should problems pop up during account set-up, from password resets to a phone number that will help them reach a human being if needed

From a smooth onboarding experience as new clients to the level of support you provide during the claims process, you have an opportunity to increase customer loyalty and satisfaction with every interaction.

Proactive customer engagement, personalized communications, loyalty incentives — all contribute to the overall customer experience. And the better the experience, the more likely your clients are to stick around.