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3 Ways Roadside Assistance Maximizes Agent Success

For agents, roadside assistance policies offered by carriers present an opportunity to deliver a superior level of service and support to auto clients.
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3 ways roadside assistance maximizes agent success

A hard truth: customer satisfaction can make or break success in the competitive and increasingly commoditized world of auto insurance, especially in the current hard market. As an independent agent, the ability to turn challenging situations into positive experiences for policyholders can be the difference between fair-weather customers and fiercely loyal ones. Unfortunately, there's not much room for error. 

Just one bad experience can chase 32% of customers away from a brand they love, according to a 2018 report from PwC. 

What's the lesson for agents? While it may come as a surprise, vehicle breakdown events can be your time to shine. Being there in times of need by providing customers with high-quality roadside assistance builds brand reputation, customer sentiment and retention rates. For example, customers who use roadside assistance coverage from their auto insurance policy have a 35% increase in their likelihood to renew, according to the Agero “2023 Consumer Benchmark." 

For agents, these events present an opportunity to not only demonstrate the value of your relationship with your policyholder but deliver a superior level of service and support. Yet, agents can often overlook the impact of roadside assistance policies offered by carriers and instead recommend non-contracted towing or roadside companies that require out-of-pocket expenses and cumbersome reimbursement processes. 

In many cases, agents may often recommend AAA, which is a seemingly innocuous alternative but is in fact a competing auto insurance carrier ready to pounce on a new potential customer lead. 

Simply put, not only is this a lost opportunity, but it can result in the loss of a customer to a competitor. Here are three ways a roadside assistance program can help transform your relationship with clients: 

1) Creating touchpoints by supporting clients in their times of need. Beyond renewals and claims, agents have few meaningful opportunities for interaction with policyholders. Roadside assistance events fill that gap, providing a valuable and frequent touchpoint.

The average driver experiences a vehicle breakdown event once every two yearsfar more frequently than the typical policyholder will file a claim. Agents can help customers better understand the importance of having roadside assistance coverage and when and where they can use their policy, providing peace of mind even before stressful situations happen.

For instance, despite its name, roadside assistance policies also apply to events that take place off the side of the road such as at home or in a parking lot, a fact that many drivers are unaware of. Moreover, many drivers think the service they'll need won't be covered or feel they can fix a common disablement issue, such as a flat tire, themselves to save time and money. However, what they're unaware of is that do-it-yourself fixes can end up costing more in the long run andmore importantlypose a larger threat to their safety. Tire changes can be considerably dangerous. Yet, they are one of the fixes consumers do themselves the most.

Professionals can often arrive and deliver services much faster than a driver could attempt to self-solve or call a friend. Plus, assistance programs offered by carriers typically provide coverage for towing, flat tire changes, lockout service, fuel delivery and jumpstarts, as well as support for electric vehicle (EV) drivers who find themselves out of charge.

Agents can educate policyholders on available services and coverage options, ensuring they receive prompt, reliable and professional assistance when they need it most.

2) Delivering an experience that meets modern expectations. Consumers today expect modern, efficient experiences from the services they use. Roadside assistance is no different. Many well-established roadside programs allow drivers to quickly and easily request service via a mobile app or website, rather than waiting for help on the phone. Real-time truck tracking and customer support chatbots also deliver digital, transparent, user-friendly experiences similar to those offered by today's popular ride-sharing apps.

Agents can enhance their reputation as a modern provider by recommending carrier-offered roadside assistance programs, earning customer loyalty while ensuring policyholders receive the best possible service. Roadside assistance is a logical service event that can be the catalyst for a consumer to download a carrier's mobile app, deepening their commitment to the carrier and, therefore, the agency.

Furthermore, these programs leverage a highly curated, background-checked network of providers with the right tools, equipment and professionalism for the job. Not only does this ensure prompt and reliable assistance, but also delivers an experience that meets consumer needs for safety and peace of mind for themselves and their family members.

3) Boosting brand net promotor score (NPS), sentiment and policyholder retention. Agents are consistently exploring new ways to expand their business and to increase policyholder loyalty. And roadside assistance programs are a game-changer when it comes to improving a brand's NPS—a measurement of customer satisfaction and loyalty—and policyholder retention rates. 

More importantly, these benefits don't just accrue to the carrier brand. When policyholders experience a well-managed and reliable breakdown assistance service, they become more satisfied with their insurance coverage and are more likely to engage with and recommend your agency to others. These fans are also known as promoters. 

Agents can use this to their advantage by capitalizing on their brand loyalty to upsell, cross-sell, and ask for referrals—all of which can drive substantial growth for an agency as satisfied customers share their positive experiences with friends, family and colleagues.

Including a roadside assistance program in client policies is a strategic move that drives growth, strengthens loyalty, and helps your agency stand out for providing exceptional policyholder service. In short, it can unlock the full potential of your business. Remember, policyholders who use roadside assistance have renewal rates 35% higher than those who don't. 

But to reap these benefits, it's incumbent upon agents to educate policyholders on the options and advantages of roadside assistance and regularly remind them of the coverage they have so that they recall the benefit when they need it most. 

Chetan Ghai is Agero's chief commercial officer, furthering strategic direction within the insurance and automotive roadside, accident management, and repair advantage lines of business.