Top Customer Service Tips for Insurance Agents
January 16, 2023
Author: Deena Gallo

Customers are the bread and butter of our industry. Without them, we would have no job, no company, and no profit. It doesn't take giving into your customer's every whim to make them happy. Actually, it's much simpler than that. Creating proactive processes can smooth your customer's experience with your company in a way that no other business tactic can.

With the increased focus on customer satisfaction and the ever-increasing power of the consumer flooding every industry, the service element to marketing has become the key to a successful business. This means that your messaging needs to not only align within your digital presence on social media and your website, but also in how your agency handles customer issues, questions, and business as a whole. When you are strategizing for your business, keeping your customer in the forefront of every key initiative and decision is essential. Customer service is no longer allowed to be an afterthought. Whether your customers are coming to you or you are speaking to them through the digital arena, the opportunity to treat your consumers well, and align with their personal principles comes with the knowledge of who your consumers are and what they need.

Tweak your client experience.

Have you heard of the recently termed “customer service recovery paradox”? The customer service recovery paradox is a situation where the company holds more value to a customer after the company has corrected an issue compared to how they regarded the company if there were no issues at all. This paradox exists because the customer feels reassured and confident in the company they chose to work with and that the company has the backbones to back up the product or service they have provided with a client experience that in any circumstance, good or bad, is exceptional. 

How do you manage the best client experience? Focus your efforts on reducing your agency's customer effort score. A customer effort score is a metric used to tell you how much work the customer has to put in to use your product, get in contact with support, have any problems addressed, or get answers to a question. The higher you score, the more work the customer has to do. This is where clients feel like their experience with your company becomes damaged. Keep friction to a minimum and reduce agitation between you, your agency, and the customer by taking as much of your claims processing, policy management, and client relationship and creating strategic automation and workflows to streamline your customer's experiences. 

Want to read about creating an amazing customer experience, here's our book recommendation: Read This.

Create a customer journey.

Customer service will be the determining factor between whether someone stays with your agency or decides to go somewhere else. Those customers are willing to spend more to have more satisfaction with their customer service. In order for customer service to be excellent, you need to think about what you can do to delight your customers before and after they have signed a policy with your agency. Dive into their interests, lifestyles, their birthdays, or even their anniversary date, and build a customer journey that follows your customer from awareness to well after their purchased policy. This helps keep your retention rates high and your customer service satisfaction even higher. 

Make sure self-service is an option.

As we move more and more into the technology age, it's incredible how many agencies are still relying on old tactics to get new clients. When given a choice, today's consumers will opt for a self-service option over having to make a phone call. This includes customer service as well with more companies handing over the reins to their customers instead of employing customer service agents and building knowledge base libraries within their website that may answer any possible question a customer might ask. 

Check your website and apps to make sure that they are easy to navigate and that all of the essential information a customer might need is available along with what your agency is about and what products you offer. Handing your customer the keys to your knowledge may sound a lot like giving away all of your secrets, but the most successful insurance agencies provide as much information as possible to their customers (and potential customers) before they've even purchased a policy. Handing a potential customer your knowledge base is like handing them a resume. It says, “Hey. I'm an expert in my industry” and gives them the reassurance they need to trust that you will make the best decision for their home, life, car, or pet as well as their wallet. 

The fastest response is the ONLY response.

While all of these tactics work to help you avoid as many customer issues as you can foresee, sometimes there are unavoidable problems you can't plan. Because there has been an increase in digital solutions, the time taken for companies to respond is a huge area of frustration for consumers. Consumers are less patient than they used to be and have way higher of expectations. Try to resolve issues quickly and if you can, within the first initial contact with the customer. Be upfront and honest because, in its very nature, insurance comes with a lot of fine print already. Do your best to explain policies and coverage details thoroughly and ensure that the customer doesn't feel tricked in any way. Remember that agencies usually hold the things your customers cherish the most in your hands, so the simplest value you can add to your customer service experience is honesty and reliability. They need to know that they are protected. You need to structure your business to enable the fastest response and meet the demands of your customers.

Be Transparent.

This is now the most scrutinized topic for most consumers today. Companies that fall short of their values or hide behind various shortcut tactics tend to lose the faith of even their most engaged customers. Transparency has never been more important.

Expand your knowledge.

Know your business and look inwards rather than out. Customers want to hire someone who is the best at what they do, but also someone who has the leadership qualities they can trust. Now take this and apply it to your business. Customers get frustrated when the knowledge they need isn't there. Make sure your staff are all experts in their subject matter and spruce up your online information so that any question your customer may have can be answered without the need of connecting with a human being.

Have consistency.

Don't make your customers go in circles with your staff. Be consistent with your message and knowledge with your service approach, language, training, documentation, service levels, systems, and all other factors. Keep everything aligned. You can do this by building processes and procedures that create the consistency your customers thrive on.