Many agencies make a mistake in their business planning. They focus solely on how to get new insurance clients. But, client retention is a core aspect of maintaining agency profitability and is essential for agency growth. As noted by Harvard Business Review, improving retention by even a tiny margin can dramatically impact your business.
7 Tips to Improve Insurance Client Retention
The reason many shy away from client retention is they don’t know where to start. Marketing to new clients is fairly intuitive, but how do you get insurance clients to stay? These seven practices will help your agency ensure clients stick around.
- Be focused upfront
Not every client is a good fit. The more focused your sales strategy, the higher payoff in the long-run. Author of the powerful Start with Why, Simon Sinek says the goal is not to “do business with anyone who wants what you have… [but] with those who believe what you believe.”
If you commit to this focus, you’ll have clients you can serve more easily, build a stronger relationship with, and who are less likely to jump ship.
Using a CRM, tracking prospect information, and monitoring your agency’s pipeline will help you discern the best prospects. Combine this with strong account management and you’ve got a killer one-two punch.
What’s your independent agency insurance strategy? Find out how to create one here
- Create a positive client experience
No surprise here: you must serve clients well.
Every action, every promise needs to be consistent with what you communicate and needs to be client-oriented. There are few opportunities to build trust early in the relationship, so you must be proactive about it.
Don’t write the business, then disappear. Put together a cadence to follow up via phone, email, text, direct mail, or another appropriate means. The rule here is clients need more touches early in the relationship (first 24 months). But, even after the relationship has been established, clients should continue to interact with your agency beyond filing a claim or when you’re trying to upsell.
- Serve the client’s goals
This is essential to be able to accomplish the above. Your clients will have a good experience when they’re getting what they want.
To accomplish this, be proactive and meet needs before they’re said. Sometimes this meaning shopping rates or helping clients get discounts they may be unaware of. It could mean helping them fill gaps in coverage they may not know exist (win-win!). Either way, it takes knowing them deeply enough to be able to provide meaningful advice – that comes only from communicating directly with them as mentioned above.
Learn more about listening to your clients and meeting their needs from our parent company, NuGrowth Solutions
- Communicate with clients the way they want
Many independent agencies see personal relationships with their clients as their key differentiator. Our Partner XE agencies say, “We’re not [insert massive direct carrier here].” People come to independent agencies because they want a human connection and don’t want to be a number. Some clients may want more modern channels of communication available to them: text messaging, client portals, etc. but at heart, your clients want a personal touch. Utilize technology to improve the human element, and reduce time spent on the mundane.
Find out how a Client Portal can help you serve your clients with a personal touch
- Hold annual coverage reviews
In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg talks about the importance of keystone habits: habits with a cascading effect impacting multiple areas.
Holding regular account reviews is one such habit. They allow you to plan regular and open personal interaction, plus they offer the opportunity to upsell or cross-sell coverages.
Provided the recommendations you make are based on personal knowledge of the clients’ situation, most people appreciate coverage recommendations even if they end up not purchasing additional coverage. It’s an intentional way to leverage your expertise on the client’s behalf, and people appreciate that.
- Have a goal in mind
As George Harrison sang, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there.”
Similarly, if you don’t measure retention, you’re unlikely to optimize it for your agency. But you need to do more than measure only the end-result. What are the factors that impact your retention?
Unfortunately, many agencies don’t know what impacts their retention. You often hear “price,” but this can be a false objection. Is someone specifically responsible for client retention? Do you have a process in place to gather feedback?
Think through the factors you face and set some goals. These could be “no client waits overnight for a call back” or “hold an annual review with every strategic (top 25, top 50) client.” Whatever the goals, make sure they are practical and actionable for your agency.
Read more on setting attainable agency goals in our goal-setting eGuide
- Prioritize referrals
You’ve heard it before. Have a process where you proactively ask for referrals. Don’t expect them to just happen. Clients who have had a positive experience are much more likely to refer without being asked but don’t bank on it. Use your close connection and intimate knowledge of your clients to know what they need to motivate them to refer you.
As said in Bain & Co.’s The Economics of Loyalty, “new customers referred by promoters are significantly more likely to become promoters themselves” – so keep ‘em coming!
Getting the Right Tools for the Right Results
These strategies are not earth-shattering. But, the discipline of practicing them in the face of obstacles can be rarer than we’d like to admit. Remove those barriers by choosing the right tools to bring you closer to the results you want.
Our web-based Partner XE management system is specifically designed to remove agency barriers to client growth and retention. With tools like our Client Portal, e-mail integration, and mobile access, we’re working to bring agencies and their clients closer together. Find out more about Partner XE and our team at SIS – contact us at 800.747.7005, Option 6 or [email protected].