In a competitive marketplace, one of the most important things you can do to ensure you continue to attract and retain customers is to build strong client loyalty. We have some tips.
Your loyal customers are valuable to you and your agency for several reasons:
1- Loyal customers can help you by promoting your business to others – through word-of-mouth and formal referral programs. (You do have one, right? If not, read on.)
2- It costs more to acquire a new customer than to keep a current customer. (Multiple sources say the cost of a new customer is five times the cost of keeping an existing customer.)
3- It’s far easier to sell new products to your active customers. (Conversion rates for loyal customers average 60-70% – as compared to 5-20% for new customers.)
What you can do to build customer loyalty:
1- Get to know your customers – and show them how well you know them. As you work to get to know your clients, focus on their needs (and the needs of their employees). What do you have in your portfolio that will help you best address those needs? Getting to know your clients – and letting them get to know you – will help you build and maintain a long-term relationship. Send them a birthday or anniversary card – in addition to the annual Christmas or Hannukah card. Follow your local media and reach out if you read something positive about a client’s business – such as a noteworthy anniversary of serving the community, a pending acquisition, opening a new facility, promoting a manager or officer, etc.
2- Make maximum use of your CRM system. A good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is important to every business, but it’s essential for an insurance sales professional. It can help you get and stay organized. It can give you greater insight into your business – with information about your successes and shortcomings. One thing you can do through your CRM is survey your customers about what’s working – and what is not. How often do your customers want to hear from you? Do they want to know about their renewal 90 days in advance – or would they prefer starting their renewal discussion 60 days in advance? What about new products? Do they care? Your CRM can help you gain more insight into their preferences. It can also streamline other outreaches, so the message is customized for them. A good CRM can improve your time management, help you warm up a cold lead, and greatly enhance your customer service.
3- Reach out to your customers through multiple channels. Email and “regular” mail are effective ways to stay in contact, but social media can enhance your customer relations. It can also help you reach prospects with the goal of turning them into customers. If you’re not online already, you’re missing a big opportunity. Pick the social media channels that fit your target audience. For example, if your focus is small business, LinkedIn is an excellent platform to reach business owners and leaders. Twitter, historically, has been far-reaching social media channel. Its recent change in ownership could change things. That’s a situation you may want to monitor.
4- Create a referral program. A referral program offers your current customers a reward when they share contact information for others with you – or when they refer someone to you who later becomes a customer. You can adopt a program that rewards points (X points for a referral, Y points for a referral leading to a sale), and your customers can redeem their points for logo merchandise, gift cards, etc.
Wait, There’s More!
In addition to adopting these tips, having the right products and services in your portfolio can help you build and nurture a positive relationship – with clients and prospects. Word & Brown has partnerships with top carriers and administrators serving both the California and Nevada Small Group and Large Group markets. We also have in-house experts to help you expand your California Individual & Family Plan (IFP) sales of health, ancillary, and Medicare-related benefits.
For additional ideas on building client loyalty, read 5 Tips for Creating a Client Loyalty Program, which we published in October.
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