If you want your agency to be a success, making customer acquisition your top priority is a mistake. Customer retention is a far more profitable priority because retaining an existing client is much cheaper than going out and finding a new one.
The average retention rate for the insurance industry is 84%, but the top companies across all industries are beating that average by 10% or more, according to The Independent Insurance Agents of Dallas (IIAD). While an 84% retention rate may sound great, it means you’re losing 16% of your customers per year. If your agency has 50 clients and eight of them walk out the door every year, that means the first eight clients you bring on board aren’t improving your business so much as they’re making up for your losses.
And insurance has higher customer acquisition costs than any other industry. According to the IIAD, insurance agents can expect to spend seven to nine times more money acquiring a new customer than retaining an old one.
So how do you hang onto your clients? You give them good reasons to stay.
More than 80% of all shoppers use a digital channel at some point in the buying process, according to a recent McKinsey report. However, insurance shoppers often run into trouble when purchasing insurance online. Consumers want digital options to buy and manage their insurance products, but they don’t always get the option.
Insurance shoppers choose agents over direct purchase because they expect something extra. . If you don’t even provide a basic requirement like an insurance dashboard, they’ll wonder why they bothered. And if you lose a new client because they get frustrated and give up on your antiquated onboarding process, you’ve just wasted all the money it cost to get them interested in the first place.
With a digital insurance dashboard, clients can use interactive online forms and apps to fill out their paperwork. Bonus: These dashboards often include error-checking functions to reduce the risk your errors & omissions exposure.
The claims process is another area that’s crying out for digitization. A nondigital claims process usually means that either the insured is stuck filling out tons of paperwork, or there’s a long phone call during which the agent asks them questions and fills out the paperwork for them. Both approaches make it easy for errors to crop up, complicating an already complex process.
By providing a digital platform, agencies can stand out from the pack with a powerful unique selling proposition. If your clients love your interface, they’re far less likely to pack up and move to another insurance provider, even if they can get a slightly better price elsewhere.
Once you’ve digitized your insurance platform, automating processes becomes a lot easier. Automation is great for both agents and insureds: It saves you time you can then apply to revenue-generating tasks, and it opens up possibilities for insureds that can motivate them to stick around.
Automation tools can make your onboarding and renewal processes much faster and more efficient. For example, if you have a tool that automatically sends reminders to clients to fill out forms and applications, you don’t have to take the time to check their status or reach out to them.
Insurance agencies can also take advantage of chatbot technology to automate processes that improve their client experience. Robotic process automation is a terrific option for insurance agencies because it’s usually easy to set up and use, so you don’t need an in-house IT person.
Finally, consider automating your marketing messages. Physicians Insurance adopted an automation tool for sending monthly newsletters and raised its customer retention to 95% post-implementation.
Increasing wallet share is one of the best and most profitable ways to increase customer retention. Clients who have multiple products are stickier because moving away becomes more of a hassle. Upselling also boosts retention by improving client experience.
Most people are very busy and don’t want to spend any more time than they have to thinking about insurance. An agency that offers a one-stop shop for insurance can be extremely convenient and can save clients a lot of time.
If a client has all their insurance policies with one agency, they have a single point of contact for any insurance-related questions. When it’s time to renew, they’ll be able to do it all at once instead of having to make time to speak with a bunch of different insurance providers. And if something changes, such as the insured’s address, they only need to make one phone call or send one email to get all their insurance policies updated.
Naturally, selling each of your clients multiple policies will also do good things for your agency’s bottom line.
Satisfied customers are 80% more likely to renew their current policies than unsatisfied ones, according to McKinsey. Customer experience is a crucial part of customer retention, and the secret to providing a great customer experience is simple: Give customers what they want. Your agency will reap the rewards.
Ken Wohl is head of marketing at Indio Technologies.