The customer experience is something that we are not shy of here at Paradiso Presents, as we have spoken on it a number of times in the past. Today, we’re putting a slightly different spin on it, because we’ve acquired BIG data on the customer experience that every Independent Agent needs to see. If you think marketing isn’t a top priority at this point, this article will be sure to change your mind.
So, why exactly are we focusing so much on the customer experience? Well, let me ask you, when exactly was the last time that you stepped into a business and your expectations were not only met, but you experienced above and beyond service all across the board? I’m sure it’s been a while, but this shouldn’t be the case, especially not for our insurance agencies. The overall customer experience can determine whether a business will or will not find success at the end of the day. While having a good product or service could be great for your business, it has to be combined with an outstanding experience to take off. Once you add in a digital marketing strategy, multiple forms of communication and reach, and data-driven improvement over a long course of business, you will see that you can work towards creating a flawless customer journey. The journey, folks, is where the customer experience begins.
The Customer Journey
Yes, the overall experience begins with the journey, and for a number of reasons. The first thing your customers should experience when encountering your insurance agency should be your brand, as your brand should be present in all aspects of your agency’s marketing. Successful brands are the ones that take the time to map out their customer’s journey, and if you’d like to see a map of our communication strategy/customer onboarding experience, please shoot me an email at email@example.com.
Let’s take a look at some of the statistics to back this point:
- 80% of customer call centers relayed their customer service systems “won’t meet future needs.” (source)
- A well-suited CRM provides an average ROI of $8.71 for every $1.00 spent. (source)
- Data in the last three years shows CRM system alignment creates a 29% sales increase. (source)
- Mobile CRM adoption increased sales quotas goals for 65% of sales reps who have embraced it. (source)
- 72% of consumers will use Google during the research stage. (source)
- Online reviews have a strong influence on the buyer’s decision, with 90% saying reviews played a part in their decision. (source)
- 75% of internet users remain on the first page of Google and don’t go farther. (source)
With data like this in the palm of our hands, it’s time to capitalize, and this is just the beginning. So, what can we do to help our customers in this scenario? First, gather feedback from your customers wherever you can, whether it’s on social media, through reviews, survey sendouts that are part of your email marketing campaigns, or more. Conquer your insurance agency’s website and social media networks with real time analytics and tracking to see where you could be improving, and do so accordingly. Lastly, map out the customer journey as we mentioned earlier; you may see it from a new light if you look at the journey through their eyes.
The way you communicate your brand to your customers during their experience is critical. Their entire impression of your insurance agency starts with your brand, and that’s a big deal. Your brand’s demeanor, as crazy as it may sound, is just as important as your company/employee’s skill levels in their trade, because it’s the first impression your customer gets of your insurance agency as a whole.
Let’s look at the facts:
- Warmth and competence are ranked as key touchstones for about 50% of customer buying preferences. (source)
- Competence, plus warmth, brings more brand loyalty. (source)
- 29% of customers switch brands because of poor staff knowledge. (source)
- A one-second page-load can cause a seven percent loss in customers. (source)
- 84% of customers become frustrated when they cannot receive an answer. (source)
So how can we capitalize here? First of all, if you’re unsure about something with one of your customers, just be sincere about it, but let them know how you will get the answer they are looking for. When it comes to answering the phones, be incredibly positive, because your customers will take note, and it is very contagious. Lastly, you could potentially have an efficiency consultant come into your agency to make sure everything is going smoothly the way it should be. We asked Agency Performance Partners to do this for Paradiso Insurance, and our agency has been thriving ever since.
Honesty over Everything
Yes, when it comes to your brand’s persona, pure and genuine honesty is the only way to really build trust with your customers and clients. We all know that we are in a business of renewals and ongoing ROI through successful client relationships, which is why it’s so critical that your customers feel they can put their trust in you. When it comes to building trust:
- 91% of customers value honesty and authenticity above all brand markers. (source)
- 90% of people, in one survey, will trust other people via “user generated content.” (source)
- Customers are more likely to perceive smaller businesses as authentic as opposed to big businesses: 50% of customers trust small businesses. (sources)
- Authenticity beats both brand innovation and product functionality across 12 markets. (source)
- 83% of customers say that it’s important your business is clear about and aligns with its beliefs. (source)
When it comes to building trust, you should just be real with any and all of your customers. It’s not about putting up a facade to create a great experience; it’s about real one-on-one, very human, and personable reactions between your staff and your clients. This is key, because it’s clear they are willing to walk away to find someone they trust more if you don’t reach their standard.
The next key ingredient to the customer’s overall experience is to show them that your insurance agency truly cares about them. You can show your customers that you care about them by responding in a near-immediate fashion with answers they will want to hear. If you don’t have the answer immediately, don’t sugar coat it, just tell them you’re unsure but then explain how you will get the answer or find them a solution for your problem. Your care for your customers will also show by having a well-designed website, and it will also show with how you greet customers that come into your agency. Let’s look at the stats:
- 74% of customers become extremely frustrated if they have to follow-up on the same request. There’s nothing that shows lack of care more than unresponsiveness. (source)
- 70% of top customer experience companies use customer feedback. (source)
- Customers who encounter positive social customer care experiences are nearly 3 times more likely to recommend a brand. (source)
- Three out of five customers would be open to a new brand or company for a “better service experience.” (source)
- Customer experience is forecasted to be a higher priority than product and price. (source)
- Great reviews about your customer service (read: care) can generate 40% more additional revenue for your business. (source)
- Customers are three times more likely to recommend your business after experiencing great customer care. (source)
So what is the strategy behind customer care? Well, first of all you should be asking for reviews from your most loyal customers, because it matters for your agency’s image. Most people who find your insurance agency online will check to see if you have positive reviews, because they can tell immediately whether or not you care about your customers. Also, try developing customer loyalty, like we have done with our rewards program.
Make yourself Available
Communication is key to the customer experience. It’s not just about communicating though, it’s about communicating on their terms. It’s also about being available 24/7, which is not achievable unless you have a mobile app in place. It is critical that you make it simple for your customers to reach out to you for the questions or concerns, because if they feel like they have to jump through hoops to get a hold of you, then your accessibility is unfortunately lacking as an agency. In fact:
- 67% of customers have stopped a call in frustrating because they could not speak with a real person. (source)
- 61% of customers prefer phone when dealing with customer service. (source)
- Likewise, over half of customers prefer DIY accessibility: 51% prefer online knowledge base support. (source)
- 90% of customers would pay more to ensure excellent customer experience. (source)
- Resolving issues quickly counts as the number one factor to a great customer experience for 82% of customers. (source)
Yes, you should make it a top priority to communicate with your customers on their terms. When it comes to answering the phones, have a couple agents dedicated to picking up on the first ring, and several others ready to go for the second. The sense of immediacy should be very important to your insurance agency, because it’s very important to your customers. Aim to solve customers problems in a single interaction as well, and I guarantee they’ll be on their way to a better overall experience.
Product and Service Knowledge
Customers who don’t get the answers they are looking for leave unsatisfied. There are ways to manage a customer interaction though regardless of if you know the answers immediately or not. As long as their problems are solved by the time they leave, or they are at the very least left with a sense of assurance, then the customer experience isn’t damaged beyond repair. Give your best answers to any questions that your customers have, and if you don’t know, again, it’s crucial that you let them know how and when their problems will be solved. Let’s look at the facts behind product and service knowledge:
- 44% of customers have received a wrong answer at some point. (source)
- But fixing it in a way that best works for your customer can translate to 70% of customers with a problem doing business again with you. (source)
- In one survey, only 1% of customers felt businesses consistently met their expectations. (source)
- 29% of customers switch brands or businesses because they are annoyed by a lack of employee knowledge. (source)
- How you respond when you get it wrong is crucial: 70% will remain with you if you respond in their favor. (source)
- 96% will remain with your business if you act quickly. (source)
- 68% of consumers feel coupons create loyalty. (source)
When it comes to the customer’s overall experience, we live in an incredibly fast-pace and competitive world of insurance where it is absolutely critical that we capitalize on our strengths. Remember, you can never go wrong with gratitude. When it comes to social media, it’s all about responding to any inquiries and being a trusted source of information, while giving a personable touch at the same time. It’s very important that you communicate with your customers on their terms, and don’t be shy when it comes to answering the phones. I hope that you’ve seen how a positive customer experience can both influence and transform your insurance agency, and to all of the agency owners, I wish you the very best of luck in providing the BEST customer experience possible.