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Generating leads and closing deals are no easy tasks for most businesses, especially in relationship-oriented sectors like insurance. That’s why customer retention strategies are so important.
After putting in all the hard work to earn customers, you don’t want to end back up at square one. Focusing on customer retention strategies can help you form a solid base for your business. With a stable roster of customers, you can have a reliable source of revenue. In contrast, if you constantly churn customers, you might go through feast or famine periods.
With strong client retention, even if growth slows for a period, you can still leverage renewals to keep you moving forward. You might even find that customer retention strategies like forming genuine relationships with clients can lead to new opportunities, either by existing clients expanding their coverage with you or recommending you to other business owners.
“Keeping your current customers happy is generally more cost-effective than acquiring new, first-time customers. Retained customers can be easier to convert than first-time buyers because they already have a foundation of trust with the company if they’ve purchased from them previously,” explains Zendesk.
In this guide, we’ll explore five of the most important customer retention strategies for insurance agents. These client retention tips can take a while to perfect, but they tend to be easy enough for anyone to at least get started.
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Customer Retention Strategy #1: Focus on Relationships
If you find yourself losing clients to competitors, one of the best customer retention solutions may be to focus more on building relationships. Being too transactional — where you just lay out what you offer, get the client to purchase from you, and forget about them until it’s time to renew — can cause customers to just focus on areas like price. For example, if another insurance agent offers a similar policy at a lower rate, and if a customer has no relationship with you, they may just take the lowest offer.
While price matters, it shouldn’t be the only factor. Other issues like the ease of doing business together, the way you may understand a client’s business needs and the network you may have that you can offer to clients (such as making recommendations to business owners on where to obtain financing) can also make a difference on client retention.
So, if you focus on building relationships with clients, they can learn more about you and grow to trust that you have more to offer than just a standard policy they can get from anyone. Plus, forming relationships with clients can lead to customers making referrals to help you grow your business.
Some of the ways to approach this customer retention strategy include:
- Spending time asking clients questions about their business beyond what pertains to insurance
- Inviting clients to networking events you think may help their business
- Interacting with customers on social media
These are just of the many ways to build relationships with clients as part of your customer retention strategies. Ultimately, it depends on what you’re comfortable with in terms of your approach to building professional relationships.
Customer Retention Strategy #2: Become a Valuable Resource
Building relationships with customers also ties into another customer retention strategy, which is to become a valuable resource for clients. Not only do you want clients to like and trust you so they’re more inclined to stick around, but also you want to prove your value to them.
For example, if you work with many first-time business owners, you may find that they encounter growing pains that you’ve seen other clients overcome. So, you may be able to make recommendations or direct them to certain resources online that can help. In doing so, you’ve made yourself a valuable resource, and customers may then be more likely to stick around in case they need help in the future.
Other ways to make yourself a valuable resource as part of your customer retention strategies include:
- Providing blog content that helps clients with business challenges, rather than just promoting yourself
- Hosting events like webinars to educate customers on important issues they may face
- Joining networking groups to grow your contacts and knowledge base to be able to make more recommendations to current customers
- Providing referrals for clients’ businesses, such as to other business owners you meet through networking
Customer Retention Strategy #3: Be Available to Your Customers
Generally being available to customers to quickly answer questions and provide them with the information they’re looking for can also be a great customer retention strategy. For example, a customer may be deciding whether to add another type of insurance policy for their business but are unsure exactly what that entails. If you’re hard to reach, customers might then gravitate toward a competitor who can help.
But, since you can’t be everywhere at once, some of the ways to make yourself more available include:
- Setting up one-on-one meetings to dive more in depth on clients’ needs. These meetings should show clients you’re available to truly listen to their concerns and address their challenges, and it ties into other customer retention strategies like building relationships.
- Providing resources such as blog content that answers frequently asked questions
- Hiring an assistant to address simple queries on more of an on-demand basis, while flagging you for questions that require more expertise
- Partnering with another insurance agent to provide support for each other, such as if you’re on vacation and not reachable for a few days
- Being available online for straightforward requests, such as through a chatbot or through an InsurTech platform like Wheelhouse. If clients want to get quotes for renewals, they can easily do so online, 24/7, with Wheelhouse.
Customer Retention Strategy #4: Be Transparent
An important part of client retention is being transparent. You want to be able to earn clients’ trust and let them know what they can rely on you for. Yet if you over promise or try to hide some details that clients might be upset about, that can eventually sour relationships.
If you’re transparent about your offerings and how you can help clients, that can also tie into other customer retention strategies. For example, if you’re clear about pricing options, rather than trying to steer clients into the highest-cost policies, that makes you more of a valuable resource for clients. They can trust that your recommendations have their budgets in mind. So, they may be more likely to turn to you if they have other finance concerns that insurance may be able to help protect.
While you want to be available to customers, you don’t have to be instantly within reach for your customers by phone or email around the clock. Part of being transparent means setting expectations. For example, if you only reply to email during certain business hours, you can include that information in your email signature.
Also, be consistent. If you don’t want clients to expect responses from you on the weekends, do your best to stay offline then. Or, you could schedule emails to be sent out on Monday. Otherwise, if you reply some weekends and not on others, clients might become frustrated by not understanding when you’re available and when you’re not.
Customer Retention Strategy #5: Make Renewals Easy
To tie together customer retention strategies, insurance agents should aim to make renewals as easy as possible. All the goodwill you built up from being transparent, forming relationships, etc., can come crashing down if clients have to jump through hoops to renew policies.
That’s where technology like Wheelhouse comes in. The platform allows insurance agents to proactively provide renewal quotes, and customers can easily access this information online.
Insurance agents can also make renewals easier on clients by offering services such as free consultations to review policies. Generally, the less resistance clients face in trying to understand their renewals and figure out what works for them, the better.
After clients renew, make sure you follow through with these customer retention strategies.
“Customer retention isn’t a ‘one and done’ activity — it’s an always-on program that needs careful monitoring to ensure it continues to deliver back to the business,” explains Qualtrics.