In many ways, technology is a double-edged sword. It's true in the consumer world as well as the professional one.
Take life insurance as an example. According to a recent survey done by LIMRA, nearly 30 percent of policy buyers in 2016 purchased coverage straight from their insurer. That's up from 23 percent in 2010 and 18 percent in 2004.
Any type of buying activity is good news for life insurers - as well as agents - but you can't help but be somewhat troubled by this finding, because it suggests consumers are more commonly turning to technology to buy coverage rather than agents.
The best way to retain - better yet, win over - clientele derives from making them happy, understanding that they're in good hands with you. After all, according to Forest Research, it costs sellers five times more to find new clientele than to keep those they have presently, Entrepreneur Magazine reported, making retention fundamental to strong returns.
The following are a few ways to keep your clients as happy as can be that you're their insurance advocate:
Over deliver, but under promise
Of course, everyone wants to believe they're getting the most bang for their buck, as high expectations can be a sign that you have the potential for a happy customer. At the same time, their presumptions can backfire if you make a promise that you can't deliver on. As a general rule, keep expectations realistic, but go above and beyond the call of duty so that they're blown away by the results of your hard work. Clientele are more likely to be satisfied when you over deliver.
Confidence is critical when you're an insurance agent or financial advisor. Much like a positive attitude, customers respond to it and want to be around those who exude self-assurance and poise. Thus, when you make a decision, be decisive about it and very matter of fact. As noted by Entrepreneur, clients turn to you because you're the expert and want to know that you have their best interest in mind.
"Make high-quality service your go-to strategy."
As an insurance agent, you wield a tremendous amount of influence on your clients' purchase decisions, but at the end of the day, you serve at their pleasure. As such, always go the extra mile on their behalf. For example, if they are thinking about term life insurance but aren't sure if it's better than permanent, explain the differences between the two as well as the pros and cons of each. Additionally, if they send you an email about a question or concern, respond as soon as possible so they know you're attentive to their wishes, ready and willing to do whatever it takes to keep them satisfied.
Know the difference between satisfaction and engagement
Customer satisfaction surveys serve as effective means for gauging client sentiment. But if they're satisfied, it doesn't necessarily mean they're also engaged, even though the terms are often used interchangeably. Furthermore, satisfaction doesn't mean engagement will automatically follow suit. Gallup offers a few examples of how the two differ, but the main difference is engagement is where the producer and seller are both involved in the process, whereas satisfaction is a one-way street. In short, engagement takes more effort to achieve but also has more lasting results.
Never let relationship end on sour note
Sometimes, agent-client relationships come to an end because of a poor decision or suggestion that ended badly. If your client wants to take his or her business elsewhere, don't let them go away without doing what you can to rectify it so there aren't any hard feelings.
Marcela De Vivo, CEO of a digital marketing agency, told Inc. Magazine that poor customer reviews can be bad news for future prospects down the road.
"The problem with walking away and leaving them angry is that those angry customers can then use online review systems to disparage your company," De Vivo explained. "At some point everyone can be appeased, you just have to keep trying and offer them something to make the problem go away."
Offering a refund, De Vivo added, may serve as an effective solution to right wrongs, real or perceived. At the very least, the relationship will have ended on an encouraging note.