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What is Your REAL Customer Experience?

How does your agency customer experience rate?  Oftentimes, I find that leaders are simply guessing based on their staff expectations, general perceptions, or even by reflecting on their own personal approach.  Unless you have a broad cross section of actual client feedback or a plan to evaluate interactions internally, it’s impossible to truly know. Celebrating occasional positive customer testimonials gathered on video and shared on social media is valuable, but it’s even more significant to know the typical experience that’s occurring on your day-to-day calls.  Wouldn’t it be great to capture and effectively measure your REAL customer experience so you could improve your sales process, better maximize opportunities, deepen client relationships, and know your client and prospect opinions of their interactions with your agency? Take some time to pre-evaluate your agency with these questions.

Does your agency greet clients appropriately?

A disturbing greeting I received recently when calling an agency was this: “Insurance.”  I’m serious. It was a one word statement — that was it. This still exists in our industry, and it’s not the first time I’ve heard such a ridiculous greeting.  At the very least I was expecting, “Hello, thank you for calling ABC Agency, this is Scott speaking, how can I help you today?” I’ve also had the frustration of connecting with Agency Automated Client Avoidance Systems, designed to force callers through endless recorded voice prompts that make it next to impossible to speak to a real human quickly and conveniently.  Please make sure you are answering your phones and make sure your greeting is warm and memorable. Don’t be afraid to make it unique so clients and prospects will remember you and your agency as a special and different call that made their day more positive and uplifting.  It’s also important to ensure that all transferred calls are warm transferred so the agent receiving the call can repeat the caller’s name, reason for calling, and let them know they can help them with their needs today.  “Hello Mr. Roberts, I understand you are calling with a question about your Homeowners policy? I can definitely help you with that today!”

Does your agency build rapport with clients?

When you speak to a large number of people every day, it’s easy to slide into the trap of transactional phone calls devoid of any relationship.  In our recent caller surveys, most callers reported there was a missed opportunity to establish rapport, while 37% said there was none and it was purely transactional.  Remember that people don’t just buy policies; they buy people. Connecting with your clients and prospects by showing interest and empathy while looking for opportunities to connect personally will build trust and appreciation while also improving sales.  Ask prospects how they heard about your agency. Share the value of being an independent agency, the value of your agency in particular, and your personal value as an agent. If you haven’t made it a practice to share your value, take some time this week to write your 30 second personal commercial.  On 90% of our call reviews, agents did not share the value of what it means to be an Independent Agency and agent. What makes you special and why should your callers choose you?

Does your agency gather information with a focus on client convenience?

Often the insurance specific details needed on each call can be extensive.  Have you asked how you might minimize the need for your clients to provide all of the information verbally on your call?  How might you make it more convenient by utilizing online available property detail information or by asking for an email or texted photo of a declaration page while on the call together to save a client time?  Some agents work to improve client convenience by quoting and binding coverage on one call. Ultimately, the time saved on agent and client follow-up is appreciated and makes the process more convenient for the caller who gets to experience having their needs met right away.

Does your agency set clear expectations of next steps?

How long will your quote take?  Will you call the client back and when?  Should they expect a call, email, or both?  If you need additional information, do you set a timeline?  On many calls I find the next steps are left in the hands of the caller.  This is not what callers are expecting or hoping for, as they appreciate guidance and a clear plan from confident insurance professionals.  In addition, when you set clear expectations, make sure you follow through! In the case of unforeseen delays, communicate and reset client expectations!  

Does your agency deliver quotes quickly?

In our reviews of agency calls, 31% of callers NEVER received a quote or any follow-up after a two week period of waiting.  27% of agents never set a time frame of when their quote would be sent, while only 39% who did set an expectation delivered on time.  In our highly competitive marketplace, quotes need to be prepared and delivered efficiently and quickly. They also need to be delivered effectively.  49% of quotes are simply emailed, leaving the review, next steps, and decision making solely in the hands of the prospect or client. Where is the guidance from an insurance professional during the most important part of the insurance sales process?  Emailing your quotes will always make your quotes about one thing and nothing else — PRICE.

Does your agency ask for the business?

Contrary to many calls I hear, your goal is not quoting business, it is selling.  Quoting is a necessary part of the process, but I hear too many agents stop short of the finish line by not asking clearly for the business.  It usually reads something like this when a quote is delivered by email, “Mr. Roberts, once you’ve had a chance to review the attached quote, please let me know if you have any questions and if you would like to proceed.”  On a call, it might sound like this, “Do you have any other questions, Mr. Roberts? No? OK, then let me know what you decide and I’m happy to take care of this for you.” If you believe that you have access to great opportunities for your clients that are designed to protect them from very real risks that exist in their lives, clearly and unapologetically ask them for their business!  “Mr. Roberts, if I’ve answered all of your questions about this policy, why don’t we get your coverage taken care of today. Would you prefer paying with a credit card or can I set you up with EFT?” In our recent call reviews, 39% told the caller to think about it and let them know while 59% received an email quote so there was no actual call to action to bind coverage.

Does your agency follow up?

On our recent call reviews, 30% of agents did one follow-up and 7% did two follow-ups.  If your prospect or client presents a concern or delay that you can’t immediately overcome when first trying to close the business, make sure you follow up quickly and multiple times.  If they are difficult to reach or even dodging your calls, leave pleasant and brief voicemails sharing your value proposition and your desire to help them and their family or business get protected.  Consider these statistics: 48% of agents stop following up after the first contact while 80% of purchases are made after the fifth. 90% of agents give up somewhere between call one and four, leaving only 10% of agents still asking for the sale from the 80% that are still buying.  Follow up SIX times, and if unsuccessful, deliver a polite break-up email as a final call-to-action, notification of your final follow-up regarding the valuable coverage quoted, and invitation to reach back out to you.

My agency needs help!  What should I do?

Good news!  You do not need to address these questions regarding your customer experience on your own, and significant improvements can be just around the corner!  All of these vital areas are reviewed in detail through our Secret Shopper Call program. Our trained team of insurance secret shoppers can help hold your agents accountable while giving you valuable feedback on areas of opportunity and development.  Each call is reviewed with our thirty question survey with plenty of comments and a personalized video experience of each call with constructive feedback. Upon completion, a performance consultant schedules a call with you to review your results in detail and offer additional suggestions for your team’s constant improvement.  Call Agency Performance Partners today or even visit our online store to purchase your Secret Shopper Calls and have valuable, actionable feedback in just three weeks!

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Kelly Donahue Piro

Kelly Donahue-Piro is a game changer in the insurance industry. As the Founder and President of Agency Performance Partners and Co-Founder of the sister marketing company, Agency Appeal, she’s an in-demand speaker at regional and national insurance conferences and a social media and digital marketing trailblazer. READ MORE

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