Why do clients still want to pay in cash, walk in, or call in to pay their insurance? Is it just old habits die hard?
Has the insurance payment process changed? Most reasons are excuses. The money isn’t in the bank at that time every month to have EFT, or I don’t have a checking account.
Has the pandemic changed this any? It certainly has.
When everyone was stuck at home, they still had to pay bills, and some were forced to pay them over the phone or online. This helped us to get people on EFT or to pay in full. The world has gone electronic.
The insurance payment process isn’t any different, and if you don’t catch up, you will get left behind. Nowadays, everyone has a cell phone, in turn, which means they have an email, which means they can be paperless.
Almost everyone has to have a bank account because paychecks are now automatically deposited into their accounts. Even social security checks are electronically deposited these days. We have to use new ways to convince people that EFT and Pay in full ARE the way to go, if not for convenience, but for discounts and saving money.
Below you will find six ways to help with the insurance payment process and six ways to deter people from calling in or walking in to pay their insurance. But one thing to keep in mind, you must sell yourself before you can sell others.
While you read this article, remember that if you don’t believe in something, it will be very hard to convince others to believe in it. To sell a car, you have to like the car, don’t you? To give a referral, you have to like something. Or at least pretend you like it. I challenge you to take something, a product you hate, and try to sell it to a co-worker and then do the same with something you love. How does it work?
Summary of Solutions
Solution 1 – What if you charge an extra fee for calling in or walking in to the office to pay? Are you able to sell it?
Solution 2 – How about making them wait 5 minutes before taking a payment?
Solution 3 – Remind them about gas prices and accidents in bad weather.
Solution 4 – Help them set a calendar reminder with a link to the payment portal in their cell phone.
Solution 5 – Calculate how much they would save on fees and add in the discount, give them the total and how much they would save a month.
Solution 6 – Try to sell customers other lines of business repeatedly every time they come in, they won’t want to come in anymore, be insistent.
Solution – 7 If they are paying with a card don’t save the card and ask for information every time, this will make them rethink calling to make that payment.
Extra Credit – Solution – 8 If they say they don’t have a bank account what about asking if their significant other has one?
Without vision you don’t see, and without practicality, the bills don’t get paid. – Paul Engle
Explanation of Solutions
Solution 1: What if you charge an extra fee for calling in or walking into the office to pay? We know that the insurance department regulates prices, but if you are allowed to charge a fee, remember that some banks charge fees to do transactions, so it is not uncommon that you may be getting set to process some of your customer’s payments.
Suppose they ask why you can tell them to pay bank fees. Most carriers charge a fee too.
A good answer is: “I can save you $___ from the carrier $___ for our fee and add $___ savings for the discount. In total, you would be saving $ ___ amount a year/month. If it is a high number, use that number because the monthly number may not be convincing enough.”
Solution 2: How about making them wait 5 minutes before taking a payment? When some walks in or calls in, place them on hold or ask them to stay as you need to finish up the notes or task you are completing for the last customer.
Don’t be rude. Just let them know that they are not your priority right now just because they walked in. I know that is against all the grain of the customer always being correct, but most professional offices require appointments to step in.
You are licensed agents, and your time is valuable. We as agents need to use our time wisely and realize our time is money and time blocking.
Making appointments and not hopping from task to task can benefit your agency. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up. Making a client wait is okay. Make sure you are polite and explain how much time they will need to wait and why.
Solution 3: Remind them about gas prices and accidents in bad weather. Many of our repeat offenders and those who don’t want to change are older/elderly members of our community.
We don’t necessarily want them to be driving in bad weather or wasting money on gas they wouldn’t need to waste if they had their insurance bills set up to automatically draft.
It is a complex concept when you have always done something the same way, but usually, there is a light at the end of the tunnel with this insurance payment process, and that light is HOW MUCH THEY CAN SAVE.
Ensure they understand how much money they would save on fees and other costs of paying in the office or calling in.
Solution 4: Help them set a calendar reminder with a link to the payment portal on their cell phone. While this may take you 10 minutes, it may save you hours of them coming in EVERY month.
Many of you may enjoy seeing all of these older special clients, but you have to think of their well-being and the cost associated with this process to the agency and the client. It is not cost-effective for anyone, and it can be a HUGE time waster.
You MUST convince yourself of this BEFORE you will be able to convince the client! Read that again! If you are not on board with this idea, you will not be able to convince the clients.
Bad habits die hard, even your own and your staff’s. You must convince those who are taking the payments that there is a better use of their time, and it is not on taking payments everyday.
I used to work at an agency that had 11 offices. The biggest office had two receptionists that just took payments and answered phones all day. Imagine what else they could do for the agency?
Instead of paying for leads, they could be your outbound lead generation callers for your own book, cross-sell calls for example.
Solution 5: Calculate how much they would save on fees and add in the discount, give them the total, and how much they would save a month.
Once again, do the calculations for them and make it convincing. A good answer is I can save you $___ from the carrier $___ for our fee and add $___ savings for the discount. In total, you would be saving $ ___ amount a year/month. If it is a high number, use that number because the monthly number may not be convincing enough.
Solution 6: Try to sell customers other lines of business repeatedly every time they come in. They won’t want to come in anymore, be insistent.
If you have a client that only has one line of business and insists on paying every month then you HAVE to have another line of business to help pay the costs of your time spent every month on this client.
If you don’t sell, you can still ask EVERY.SINGLE.TIME! Ask. All they can do is say no. Maybe one day you will get a yes.
You can ask them, remember last month when I asked about renter’s insurance, did you think about it? You really need it, and it will save you $__ on your auto policy.
Think about it this way, if you were getting paid $10 per client policy and reduced $10 an hour for wasting time (time where you are not serving or selling something, how much money would you be making on this client? You’d probably be in the negative.
If it were your paycheck it was affecting and not the agency’s, how would your mindset change about this situation? Get another line or force them on EFT.
Solution 7: If they are paying with a card, don’t save the card and ask for information every time. This will make them rethink calling to make that payment.
Have them read the card number to you instead of handing you the card. You could use covid/germ transfer on this one. Make them read it to you. This actually makes it easier for you to put it in but harder for them.
Solution 8: If they say they don’t have a bank account, what about asking if their significant other has one? And they could use that and save money or get a discount? It affects both of them, not just the person who is paying the bill.
“I never lose. I either win or learn.” – Nelson Mandela
Benefits of having EFT or paying in full:
- No worrying about when payment is due
- Peace of mind
- Less late pay calls
- No chance of canceled policy (for agents to lose policies or clients to have issues with DMV/state)
- Automatic renewals
- Discounts, saving money
- No wasting time driving to office or calling on the phone
- No wasting gas that is super expensive right now
- No waiting
- No change of getting into an accident on the way to office
- Can spend more time with family and friends or pets 🙂
- Can afford another cup of coffee or save up for a vacation with money being saved
Asking them to be on EFT is not the only way to get customers to change their minds. Deterring them by making it harder to pay over the phone or walking in could be the key to getting what we want and what they NEED.
They need to save time and money, and the EFT/Pay in Full insurance payment process does that for them.
Don’t assume you know what their life looks like or what is best for them. You have no idea what their life looks like, do you? Our customers let us see only what they want us to see.
Something that may be hard or expensive for you may not be for another. So before you assume, choose, and decide that for the betterment of your agency, your agent, and co-workers, you will do the right thing for everyone and get as many clients on EFT or Pay in full.
If you are a producer and don’t do service work, you don’t take payments, so you probably don’t even know how time-consuming taking payments can be. Be sure to look around and do what is best for everyone, including the client.
They may not know it right now, but it is better for everyone to be set up on EFT to avoid cancellations, late payments, and extra fees that no one wants or needs.
So ask EVERY.SINGLE.TIME!