There are many customer retention strategies that can be applied when implementing a renewal call process to retain more business on the books. A system that is successful with one agency may not have the same results with another. Perhaps, the strategy may not be the concern, but the PROCESS to the strategy.
At APP, we believe EVERY agency needs to engage in renewal review calls to maintain customers and increase retention. The customers pay the bills, and so, deserve to be checked upon now and again.
What are most agencies doing wrong?
- Not following up with our clients after the sales.
- Pretending everything is OK and the clients will stay with the agency without us doing anything.
- Not managing metrics, including not realizing the amount of Direct Written Premium
- Not realizing there’s a leakage problem, aka, a retention problem.
The solution is renewal review calls and developing a customer retention strategy for your Insurance agency. In this blog, we’ll share with you how we do it.
“It takes months to find a customer and seconds to lose one.” Vince Lombardi
Renewal Reviews: Customer Retention Strategy
Proactive renewal reviews make up a customer retention strategy in the insurance industry that cannot be ignored. It is the #1 solution to a customer retention problem. Renewal review calls are a vital strategy that may help make all the difference in your retention.
You’ve likely spent a lot of time building your business. Don’t allow it to bleed out. You need to have a plan not only for leads and growth but also for retention. We need to be proactive instead of reactive. To be proactive, we must follow a process or customer retention strategy.
Let’s Review some statistics corresponding to customer retention strategies in the insurance industry.
- 65% of the customers who leave an agency never talked to an agent before they left.
- 80% who did talk to an agent that year stayed.
- Only 13% of your book of business is truly loyal.
- 52% of insurance customers describe themselves as relationship buyers.
- 1 in 3 people will shop for a new auto insurance policy this year
- Only half of these people will look at one quote before purchasing.
- Customers who shopped for coverage once are 350% more likely to shop the following year again.
- The average retention rate within the insurance industry is 84%.
- Top agencies are beating that average by 10%.
- 13% of consumers started shopping because of a rate increase BUT 28% started shopping after receiving what they believe is lousy service.
- Retention for bundled policies is 91% and only 67% for monoline policies.
- At 85% retention, the average agency loses as many customers as it sells.
Last but not least, stats from one of the agencies. Agency Performance Partners worked our AppX Retention program with Cross Insurance in Washington State. 👍
- The team achieved a 508 coverage increase
- The team completed 2,269 account reviews in the six months of the program.
- 78% of attempts to review a client’s account with them were successful.
- 48% of the account rounds the team quoted resulted in a sale.
- Their remarket quote-to-remarket success rate was 85%.
How to Set Up Renewal Review Calls
We cannot write/bind policies and then forget them. We have to do something to maintain them. That something involves renewal reviews. So what do they look like? Once the agency determines the below processes, they will then need to start making calls. The STEPS in making renewal calls are as follows.
- Run renewal lists
- Determine a plan of attack as an agency
- How to distribute lists to staff
- How many days out will you call? This could be 30-60 or could be a “check-up” call instead of a renewal review.
Many agencies don’t want to “poke the sleeping bear,” but REALLY, is that fair to your customer that pays you? If you just call customers and verify the information and review discounts, that works too.
- How many calls need to be made daily/weekly
- Review checklists
- Determine % increases that allow for remarkets/rewrites
- Discuss limitation
- Be aware of the DANGERS of rewrites:
- Losing features of current policies
- Losing longevity
- E & O for missing coverages
- Create Scripts*
“To give real service, you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” – Douglas Adams
When the lists are created, you will need to determine who calls. It is best for the operations team or management to determine how to distribute the lists because the agents will pick and choose customers, and there are just too many hands in the cookie jar.
This is a strategy, and it needs to be directed by the agency operations team. Once you know how many calls they make, then you can determine how many they need to do a week. It seems overwhelming when you first start, but it gets easier as the process becomes a habit.
If you have a large book of business, you should have the associated amount of team to handle it so once distributed it evens out.
Before calling the client, do a pre-call checklist. Review the policies and information so you know what you are walking into. You are an educated insurance agent, and we need to ensure we show that to the customer in our ability to be professional and know their policies.
Review Checklists can be very helpful. As the agent speaks to the client, they can ask questions with the checklist and take notes as well.
They need to start out by letting the customer know how long it will take and that they will be typing notes so the customer has expectations of the interaction.
You will be verifying information throughout the entire process and using that information to look for discounts and cross-sales that can be made to reduce premiums and increase policies for the agency.
This helps the agency and makes things more convenient for the client. Having all your insurance in one place is good, and it allows for various discounts.
You can find both of these checklists in our Appx Retention program which is a Customer Retention Strategies In the Insurance Industry. The agency school is like your source for ridiculously amazing education and tools for selling and retaining insurance policies! Look us up!
As an agency, you must determine the percentage of increase you will consider a remarket. When the policy is increasing due to accidents and violations or claims, there isn’t much you can do but look for other discounts, but when the increase is just due to the rate, there may be other things you can find to reduce it.
Ask yourself if a discount dropped, and review the old and new policies to figure it out. It is best to do this BEFORE the call during your pre-check. In the end, the agency as a whole needs to determine when it is OK to remarket a policy.
We recommend some strict guidelines and procedures. When you reduce premiums, you reduce agency income and your paycheck.
When a client is adamant that they need a cheaper policy, first, SELL value. How? By being an educated insurance agent, you know what they need and what they don’t! You want to ensure they have the coverage they need, not just the cheaper ones. Then move into what will happen if you rewrite it.
What are the negative effects of rewriting a policy?
- They lose longevity with the carrier.
- They may lose features currently included in the current policy.
- They may need a home or auto inspection to determine damage and necessary repairs.
In some states, insurance companies align with HOA guidelines. They frown upon broken-down cars on the property and unfenced yards with pools or trampolines.
Making the calls
First, let’s discuss voice. Call using a customer service voice, and not that of a “mom/dad” voice. The intention is to make the call sound serious, not optional. You want to connect with 40-50% of your customers and can only do that by being professional and intentionally serious.
We are representing the agency and ourselves as well as our insurance license. While being professional, we ought to be serious and friendly too. Now is the time to build relationships with your clients, build rapport, and show value.
When You Must Leave a Voicemail
Hello, this is “YOUR NAME” from “AGENCY NAME.” I wanted to let you know I was reviewing your insurance policy with COMPANY NAME, and I wanted to connect with you on a few items this week.
Please call me back at NUMBER between TIME and TIME. Again, this is NAME, and you can reach me at NUMBER. I look forward to connecting this week. (You can add your rate is increasing, and I would like to discuss options).
When You Connect with the Customer
It is important to consider these six things while making the renewal calls:
- Introduction– be human; introduce yourself and your agency.
- Rapport- Find things you may have in common.
- Review – their policy, what they have, may have changed or updated.
- Recommendations – Make educated recommendations. You are, in all reality, a professional licensed insurance agent, right?
- Confirmation of Next Steps-setting expectations with the client.
- Gratitude – Thank them for their time and their business with your agency.
“Hello, CUSTOMER NAME” this is “ YOUR NAME” from “ AGENCY NAME”. I am calling you today to review your insurance policy (ies) for discounts and savings. Is this still the best number to reach you. Once you have them on the phone for the review, you need to use the checklist of the reviews.
Believe that the client is 100% best served by having you and the agency as their agent. When you believe, you CAN convince people. Look for discounts that save the agency time: things like EFT, pay in full, and cross sales.
Don’t forget that TIME MANAGEMENT also plays a huge role in these calls. You must block a time or have your staff block time to do the calls.
There are other Customer Retention Strategies In the Insurance Industry, like late payment calls. These calls can make a huge difference when you have a large non-standard book or many clients who pay late. However, these calls can make you liable for making the calls, but in some cases, for retention, they are 100% worth it.
- Give your clients options
- Offer discounts when you call them.
- Be excited about what you can do for them, whether saving time and money or offering them better coverage.
- Be ready for their questions.
- Make sure you do both a pre-checklist and a checklist during the call so you stay on track with the goal of the call.
Change is hard, and if you weren’t doing these calls at your agency before, this could be scary for you and your staff. Just know that APP has done these with many agencies, and they work.
- Be open-minded to change. If you call a certain time every day of the week and aren’t getting answers, change the time you call and the scripts if they are not working.
- You have to find what works for your agency.
- Sometimes where you are located can also dictate how these work. More rural areas or small towns will already have a lot of rapport and relationships, and the calls will be more like get-togethers, but again, stay focused on your intent for the call.
- If you don’t ask for that cross-sell, they will never be able to say no. At least give them a chance.
The renewal review calls help the agency retain, but they also help build up the book with upsells and cross-sells. They are just in disguise!