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In today’s world, every single prospect and customer has the ultimate power to hurt or strengthen our insurance agency’s brand through social media. Any news online about your agency, whether it’s the good, the bad, or the ugly, can be seen by anyone in your social media following. Today, social media spreads like wildfire, all with one click of a button. Strong prospect/customer relationships translate to social media activity, which builds the kind of insurance agency reputation and brand loyalty that drives your retention rates up, along with your new business.

Here are a few areas we focus on here at Paradiso Insurance to retain customers and maximize the revenue potential for our agency. The key is that we must be out there in the internet world collaborating with everyone online.

  1. Truly Change Into a Customer-Centric Organizationdori

When dealing with prospects and clients we must focus on creating a customer-centric culture within our insurance agencies. Well, the question is, how do we do that? It starts with putting together a proactive approach and having a plan of action, but the key to success is practicing and tracking what is working and what isn’t.

Your approach will most likely be much different when speaking with single millennials versus a married couple in their 40s with kids or a couple in there early 70s who are ready to retire. An example would be taking a call from a male client of age 26, five minutes before your agency is closing on a Friday night, and while taking the information to make their payment, you can offer them the ability to pay their bill on their own time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from your agency app. Don’t stop there; after you offer it to them and complete the phone call with the client, you should hang up the phone and immediately send the client a text with the link to download your agency app. We need think about convincing people from the outside in, and what I mean is that we should put ourselves into the shoes of our clients.

Another example would be to take that same 26 year old single male and send him the link of the app through email. You have to ask yourself though, do you think that is the way he wanted to be communicated with? If we don’t ask prospects and clients how they want to be communicated with, how will we know for sure? You must ASK!  Think about what your organization has for processes and make the changes and strategy shifts that will help your insurance agency reshape and redefine your culture to focus on customer satisfaction and retention.

Here are some tips:

  • Make sure your insurance agency has management in place who are trained to control and manage processes. Without proper training to all parties, it will never succeed.
  • Automate your processes and establish a customer-feedback loop. We do this with a series of emails, and reward our prospects and clients who fill out the surveys.
  • Put in place creative and revolutionary compensation (whether it’s money or a day off) structures that reward customer-focused activity and successes for everyone in the agency.
  1. Social Media — Embrace it!

Social media is a must in today’s society. Whether you like social media or not, it is not optional anymore, so it’s time to put together a strategy and embrace it. By integrating social media into the customer-feedback loop, you can enhance everything you do within your insurance agency, from improved customer service to giving your clients the ultimate customer experience. Social media is great for creating visibility for your agency and its agents. With this being said social media will help your agency benefit from improved revenue generation along with higher retention numbers. Servicing your prospects and clients in the channel they prefer, from Facebook, Instagram, or Google+, can build loyalty and helps you retain the clients you have already satisfied.

  1. Understand that Customer Service is the New Marketing Worldchristman

Customer interactions are a rich vein of information for your agency, and one that the integration of social media only just begins to tap.

Traditional and online demand-generation tactics still play an vital role, but a customer-centric agency focused on service/experience and implementing customer feedback will generate more revenue for your insurance agency. In turn, this will reduce traditional marketing spend by building brand loyalty in new channels that go beyond print advertising and pay-per-click (PPC) programs, which are very costly and (if done wrong) will have no positive ROI.

You must make the interaction with your insurance agency’s brand and your business easy and multichannel in nature, because it’s about finding others in the social channels they are comfortable with.

Try to have a strategy within all the powerful social sites too, not just one or some of them. The new world of digital marketing means customers can get their information from many different sources, depending on their whim. Whether it’s on their mobile devices, or whether it’s from Twitter or Facebook, a customer is going to find the information they need. On some days, your clients/prospects may prefer Google+, and on other days, they may want a text or an email, and on certain days, they may even get old fashioned on you and want to talk to a live human. Your agency must be prepared to talk with them on any and all avenues they choose.

  1. Run Customer Service as a Profit Center; It’s Not a Cost Center to your Agency

Agencies with the highest satisfaction and the highest retention rates run their service centers as independent profit-and-loss centers. The key to service/experience-center profitability is through the proper training of your CSRs. Successful agencies empower front-line service personnel with the tools, knowledge, and the training to seize each unique customer interaction as a chance to create “promoters” or “”Raving Fans” of your brand and agency.

Provide service in a way that is convenient for your clients, not your CSR’s or staff’s schedules. To do that effectively, your customer service reps need to provide a dynamic, upbeat, pleasant, and rapid first-call resolution, whether it’s via phone, text, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or by email.

Continually improve and grow the content available to your staff, provide them with automated responses that facilitate promotion, and upsell activities for more revenue for the agency. Also, try to enable your staff to provide feedback on the sales potential of a client by integrating your support solution with your sales and marketing teams.

  1. Treat Every Customer as High-Value Client

The concept of “low-value customers” or “mid-value” is a fallacy in today’s collaborative Internet/Web-based environment. You may not care if some customers take their insurance business to a competitor, but the popularity of social media means every customer has the potential to affect others about your brand, market presence, and competitive reputation. Yes, others can hurt you in a big way, even if that client wasn’t worth keeping in your agency. So it’s key to be able to be in the social world to keep your ears and eyes open to what’s happening out there.staff1

Beyond social media, supporting availability through multiple communication channels translates to the delivery of effective, top-tier service. You’ll avoid brand damage while driving new prospects and customers all without adding headcount and escalating costs. This kind of process also nurtures clients to renew and sign on for new business. You may even recruit a new “Raving Fan” or collegial member of your online army of customer advocates — someone who drives new business through traditional and social media word of mouth. The one last thing I will leave you is always remember it’s always about them, and never about us.