Consider these best practices to help keep client satisfaction levels high.
When you think of companies like Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, you can’t help but wonder what their “secret recipes” for success are. These businesses are often considered some of the most prominent and successful in modern history, so what can we learn from them?
Well, what if the “secret recipes” weren’t actually secret at all? When you take a closer look at the best practices they focus on, you’ll realize that much of the driving force behind their success circles back to the experience that they provide for customers. How could this single element hold so much weight? Maybe it’s because 96% of consumers say that customer service is an important factor in brand loyalty.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, once said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”
As an insurance agent, providing the greatest experience possible for your clients can include many moving parts, but we’re going to hone in on two key customer satisfaction tips (from two of the greatest modern-day business leaders) that you can keep top-of-mind when working with your clients.
Inform & Educate
Are you responding to your client’s needs, or are you redefining them? When it comes to understanding customer needs, Steve Jobs, founder and former CEO of Apple, once said, “Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”
Rather than having an insured tell you what coverages they need, use your expertise to help provide insight, identify the hidden risk exposures they may not be aware of, evaluate what coverages they may need and provide resources to help them be as proactive, educated and safe as possible. This is a technique called “commercial teaching,” and it could easily be worked into your client meetings!
Forbes shares these 6 steps on how to host more effective meetings using commercial teaching:
- Ditch the self-promotional introductions.
Keep your focus on the client rather than on yourself. From the start, you want to grab your client’s attention by showing that you understand them. Establish relevancy by discussing a few pain points that they may be experiencing and demonstrate how your background has prepared you to better understand and address these issues. Keep content in your meetings interactive and minimal to help encourage discussion and pinpoint risks the client wants to talk about.
- Reframe and redefine client needs.
After you have a better understanding of the risks that your client finds most relevant, address their concerns, but include your own point-of-view. What are the issues and pain points in the industry that they may be overlooking? This is a great opportunity to showcase your expertise.
- Back up your reframe with hard data.
You may be tempted to start talking product, but waiting to jump into sales talk will help keep the focus on establishing a relationship first. You need to first ensure that they understand their newly-redefined needs. Back them up with statistics, include visuals (that serve a purpose) to make your points more memorable and help your client fully understand what they’re seeing before moving on. Avoid using complex tables and charts. Insurance can be complex and overwhelming for those who are not in the industry — the more you can simplify the better.
- Create an emotional impact.
As a subject matter expert, use your knowledge and past experiences to create future scenarios that your client could find themselves in if they ignore what was just discussed. Remember: many are visual learners and tend to be more impacted by images rather than lengthy paragraphs, so continue using graphics to help tell your story and connect to your client’s pain points.
- Empower your client.
Revise the story and visuals you used to create an emotional impact and show what a brighter future would look like if they decide to take action, and empower the client to create that future. This sounds like the perfect time to talk product, right? Not quite. This step is about educating the client and making sure they’re fully comfortable with your suggestions before you present coverages.
- Present the perfect product.
Now that you’ve gone through your presentation and have opened your client’s eyes to their hidden risks and potential solutions, discuss available coverages that could help to keep them fully protected. Because trust in you is more likely to have been established at this point, the sales conversation will be easier to have.
Clients want to work with an expert who can provide real value; someone they can trust — not someone who’s just there to sell a product. When you show up prepared, speak their language and show that you really understand the market and their pain points, you’re significantly enhancing their experience.
Become the Student
Sometimes, the teacher has to become the student to truly grow. Sharing his thoughts on customer service and learning from clients, Bill Gates, founder and former CEO of Microsoft, stated, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Unfortunately, no matter how hard you try, you can’t please everyone all the time. Dissatisfied clients are inevitable, but what really matters in these situations is how you react. When called out, we can tend to go on the defense — it’s only natural, but fight that urge! Instead, have a transparent, one-on-one conversation to address your client’s concerns and ask how you can best increase their satisfaction.
When having this discussion, try doing so through a face-to-face meeting, phone call or video chat (considering today’s increased remote-work environment, you may want to lean toward a phone call or video chat). You’ll find this to be more effective as any sort of empathy or emotion can get lost behind words if you’re using email to communicate. A misinterpretation of words is the last thing you want when dealing with unhappy clients.
Ask questions, actively listen and try to see the issue from the client’s perspective. Do you really understand the problem? Repeat what you believe to be the client’s concern to ensure you’re both on the same page and work toward finding a solution together.
We're only human, and we all make mistakes, but if you're able to acknowledge, apologize and correct the situation, you're showing clients that you truly care about them and their experience.
Providing a quality customer experience should take priority no matter what line of work you’re in, but relationships are especially important in the insurance industry. By putting your clients first, you’re earning trust, loyalty and increasing your value. All of which, in turn, will help you boost retention, grow your book of business and help you reach new milestones in your career.
Richie Almeida, Integrated Marketing Specialist
Richie is an avid movie goer with an addiction to Sour Patch Kids. If he isn’t at the movies, he is at the gym or on a hike trying to make up for his bad eating habits.