Depending on what source you choose to believe, the cost of acquiring a new customer is five times, six to seven times, or up to 10 times more expensive than retaining and selling more to an existing customer. So, if your goal is to maintain or boost your book of business and increase your revenue, client retention should be built into your plan.
Below are three ways to increase client retention – and gain an edge when it comes to attracting new customers, too.
1: Create a Customer Relationship
There’s no question that today’s marketplace is different than in the past. You probably have more competition going after new business – and your existing clients – than ever before. The key to keeping your clients happy is building a strong relationship with them. You want them to think of you first when it comes to insurance-related matters, and immediately discount any calls, emails, direct mail, or other communication they may receive from competing insurance professionals.
Start by listening. If you ask the right questions and give your clients the opportunity to share information about themselves, their business, and their employees, that will lead to sales – in both the short term and long term. Find out whatever you can about what your client’s organization does, how long it’s been around, its goals, annual budget, and who are its competitors. Armed with this information, you can offer client solutions that address their needs and are within their budget.
While you don’t want to inundate them with communications, you need to develop the right balance of information sharing, coverage and product updates, service messages, and general messaging (like holiday and birthday messages). Send a customer survey to get information about how often your clients want to be contacted (beyond the check-in before renewal and open enrollment). Some messages are probably best shared by email, but a text or phone call may be preferred by others.
Every client is different, even if they’re engaged in the same business as another client.
Health insurance and employee benefits are not always easy to understand. If you act as both a consultant and an educator to clients, you can enhance your relationships with them. That can lead to a long-term connection that generates repeat business and referrals for years to come.
2: Adopt and Embrace CRM
If you’re not already using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to help you in your outreach – and to gain greater insight into your book of business – it’s time to get on board. CRM can provide you with valuable information on your successes and shortcomings. It can also help you with your annual client survey – a must to get a read on how clients view you, your agency, your portfolio, and the service you provide. This survey will help you find out what’s working – and what is not.
You can also use a survey to learn how often your customers want to hear from you. Do they want to know about their renewal 90 days in advance – or would they prefer a 60-day notice? What about new products? Do they care? Your CRM can help you provide greater insight into their preferences. It can also streamline your other outreach, with messages customized to each client. You can even use it to help you warm up a cold lead. Read our 2022 blog, 5 Signs You Might Need a CRM System for more information.
3: Deliver Outstanding Customer Service
It should be obvious, but unfortunately it often needs to be said: customer service is king. Always promptly respond to any customer outreach. If you get an email, an email response may be expected . . . but a phone call may be better depending on the reason for your client’s email. Customers expect and deserve prompt, courteous customer services. Providing it shows them you value their business and appreciate their having selected you as their insurance and employee benefits expert.
Consider whether there are activities or functions you can add to your website to help you address customer requests. Are there standard forms that you can offer online that customers need? Or, if you are concerned about forms maintenance on your site, can you link customers out to your General Agent’s website or a carrier partner’s site where they can find frequently used forms? (Be sure login is not required, since your customers can’t or shouldn’t be using your ID to access restricted web pages.)
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