In insurance, acquiring a new customer can be much more expensive than retaining one. If your agency suffers from a high customer churn rate, that means your profits will be eaten up by the cost of replacing them.
Fortunately, you can improve customer retention by making a few tweaks to the customer experience. To see your churn rate plummet, implement these three customer experience tips:
1) Improve customer onboarding process. First impressions matter. If customers find your onboarding process frustrating, tedious and a waste of time, that’s probably how they’ll think of you and your services moving forward. If even a small problem crops up later, the customer’s negative first impression is more likely to inspire them to bail on you.
If you make that first encounter a pleasant one, your customers will be more inclined to think of you in a positive light, unless you give them a good reason to think otherwise. A positive first impression can make your customers far stickier.
To improve your onboarding process, review the entire process to see how you can change it to make it better or easier for your customers. For example, if you find out early on which industry your customer’s business belongs to, you can eliminate all the questions that would only apply to businesses in other industries.
You can also use past onboarding experiences to identify rough patches and find ways to smooth them over. For example, if there’s a questionnaire that customers often find confusing, write up a brief guide or offer to walk them through it—before the customer reaches out for assistance.
To fully appraise your onboarding process, you’ve got to see it through the customer’s eyes. Try asking a few non-insurance-savvy friends or family members to go through your process in the customer role and provide feedback. If there are points they find tedious, confusing or annoying, your real customers probably feel that way too.
2) Find out what customers want. The only way to know for sure what your customers want from you is to ask them. Asking your customers what they want and then delivering on those requests accomplishes two important things: it demonstrates excellent customer service, and it shows your customers you listen and respond to their concerns.
For example, many agents rely on phone calls to reach customers, but a growing number of customers are digital-savvy and prefer email or text to communicate. If you ask each of your customers which communication channel they prefer, you’ll be turning a simple contact into a positive customer experience. Incidentally, you’ll also increase your chances of getting a quick reply.
Most customers like having both online and offline communication options. A multichannel approach gives your customers greater flexibility. If you’ve embraced multiple contact methods, they have the option to resolve simple queries by email or pick up the phone to talk through the more complex ones.
3) Under-promise and over-deliver. Making a promise and not keeping it is worse than not making a promise at all. When you say you’ll do something, you set an expectation in your customer’s mind. If you fail to do it, not only did the customer not get what they wanted, they also think you’re a flake.
For example, if you promise to email a client a document but discover you can’t for legal reasons, you’ve now put yourself in the position of having to go back on your promise. Far better to say something like, “Let me check if this document can be emailed and get back to you.”
If a customer asks for something and you politely tell them you can’t do it, they may be annoyed in the moment, but at least they’ll see that you’re honest. If you can give the customer a good reason why you can’t give them what they want, such as informing them that email is not secure enough to transmit certain information, you may even turn a negative experience into a positive one. Don’t commit to something unless you are positive you can do it.
For three more ways to reduce customer churn, keep an eye on IAmagazine.com and the News & Views e-newsletter in the coming month.
Adam Hussain is head of customer success at Indio Technologies.