A week into this new year many of our readers are enthusiastically gearing up for growth in 2016. We’ve made the plans and ran the numbers and we’re all ready to charge forward! That energy is great and it can sometimes help lead to self-fulfilling prophecies as we accomplish more under the influence of our own motivation. However, It’s important that in our enthusiasm we don’t forget to pay attention to the details. As you work to grow your agencies, here are 5 mistakes to avoid that could drive away new and existing customers:
Downplaying their Expertise
Selling without Educating
Failure to Follow-up
Poor Claims Management
Selling too Hard
The insurance market can be tricky to navigate, and for the layperson is likely quite intimidating. They will look to their agents for guidance, but some people will enter the sales conversation with an idea of what they want. If a prospect comes in with misinformation, it is up to agents to correct them and guide them into the policy they need. This establishes you as a trusted expert, and sets a tone that bolsters loyalty.
As we mentioned above, an insurance agent has a responsibility to educate his/her customers. Not only does this build trust and customer loyalty, but it also has the added benefit of allowing for discussion of other potential products which the customer may want. After all, it’s Sales 101 that if you want the sale you have to ask for the sale.
Reaching our goals and quotas (whether self-imposed or external) for new business can and often does take priority over tending to existing customers, and while this is not immediately detrimental it can have the long term effect of driving away what would otherwise be loyal customers. Insurance is as much about access to and attention from a responsive agent as it is about the policy itself, and failure to maintain that relationship can cost an agent big time.
A customer’s filing of a claim is a great moment of vulnerability for agents because it’s a moment where you can easily lose business. Often times if a customer has a bad claims experience, even if every other interaction to date with the company has been positive, that customer will jump ship without a second thought. Additionally, many will also post online about their experience, which can influence the shopping decisions of countless other potential customers as well. So for the sake of maintaining both current customers and their reputation, agents should take a very hands-on approach to the claims process.
It’s a trap even experienced insurance agents can fall into. Sometimes with the pressure of growing your agency it might be tempting to pressure a client into a sale they aren’t ready for or don’t really want, but aggressive sales tactics will almost always end up costing you in the end. Allow the customer to do the talking, while you lead the conversation rather than pushing it.
What do you think? Are there any mistakes you or others have made in the past that hurt customer retention? Let us know in the comments below!