The mail delays over the past number of months have made invoices and insurance payments arrive late, often resulting in dropped coverage for clients. Here are seven ways to keep your team and clients up to speed.
Over the past few months, there has been an uproar over mail delays in the U.S. People have not been receiving their mail and packages, business functionality is being delayed, and politicians are discussing reforming the U.S. Postal Service.
The mail delays have made invoices and insurance payments arrive late, often resulting in dropped coverage for clients. Many providers are unable to stop or delay policies lapsing due to the automated technology managing the decision.
Needless to say, this has caused stress, chaos and confusion for agents and clients alike. While this situation is a major problem, it is also an opportunity to provide even better customer service and value as an independent agent.
What should you do? In client management, when a problem arises it is best to bring it to the client's attention. Avoiding the problem will show a lack of preparedness and attention to detail.
The key to managing client relationships during emergencies or issues is overcommunication. By maintaining proactive communication, you help your clients understand the problem while assuring them that you're doing everything you can to take care of it.
Here are the seven steps you should take to inform your clients of the issues surrounding mail delays:
1) Inform your team. The mail delays will require your team to manage calls and questions about dropped insurance and late payments. An informed and equipped team will be able to effectively assist clients.
2) Inform your clients. The most effective way to inform your clients is through a mass email. Be prepared for many responses and phone calls. Avoid sharing the information on social media because then the fault or blame will be associated with your agency.
3) Inform your clients what you are doing to solve the problem. When you indicate that there is a problem, also be clear about how you're fixing the situation, such as contacting your providers to see if they can delay dropping the coverage, and monitoring late payments and contacting those clients so they can still pay their premium.
4) Inform your clients of other ways to pay. Many carriers have a variety of payment options. Recommend alternatives such as electronic fund transfer, online credit or debit card payments, or payments over the phone.
What if a client loses their insurance coverage due to a late payment? You can create a new policy for them, but it is likely their premium will not be the same. You should contact their carrier to reinstate the policy that was canceled. To manage expectations, be sure to communicate to clients that this is a possibility if their policy is accidentally dropped.
5) Be available and follow up. Being available for your clients during this time will improve their confidence in you as their agent, which will help increase client retention. They're worried—and you can be the one to relieve their fears.
6) Follow up with especially anxious clients. Clients that expressed anxiousness when they had nothing to worry about can be a helpful indicator to your agency. Knowing that, cater your customer service and communication to them specifically.
7) Recognize your team. Your team is probably feeling stretched from the increased workload from all those calls and emails. Recognize them for what they have accomplished. If your team knows they are supported, they will be better at supporting clients.
Wesley Gehman is marketing director at Strickler Insurance Agency in Lebanon, Pennsylvania.