How To Improve Your Business’ Customer Service

If you want to grow your business, then customer service is one of the most important things that you need to focus on. Each interaction that a customer has with your business will either build it up or tear it down. Great customer service leaves customers satisfied, and when they are satisfied they’re more likely to continue to do business with you, and possibly refer you to others. And bad customer service? Just remember that customers tell an average of 15 people about a negative experience versus the 11 they tell about a positive experience, and 51% say they will never do business with a company again after just one negative experience. No matter how focused you are on your customers, there’s always room to improve your customer service so that you can increase your sales performance.

make a great first impression written on an orange notepad
First impressions are everything when it comes to attracting a customer.

Your First Impression Is Everything

We have all heard the saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And it holds true; first impressions are powerful and memorable. Within a few seconds of meeting you, a customer will have a solid impression of who you are. Studies show that 55% of first impressions are made by what people see (visual), 38% are made by how you speak (vocal), and 7% are the actual words you say (verbal). So if you are meeting a client, make sure you look professional yet approachable, and when speaking with a client, focus on both your tone and what you say.

Feedback Is A Plus

One of the best ways to improve your customer service is by asking your customers for feedback, and learning from it, whether it is good or bad. You can do this by asking your customers to complete a brief phone or email survey at the end of your interaction with them. Use the responses that you get to learn what your strengths and weaknesses are so that you can make improvements. 

african american woman sitting in front of a laptop, holding a cellphone to her ear and laughing
Customers want a personal connection with you, so make sure to build a rapport with them.

Build Rapport

All customers want to feel like they are more than just a customer. Build a rapport with your customers by showing them that you care about them. Use their name often and try to build a personal connection with them. Don’t just focus on automated email responses or run-of-the-mill check-up calls. Make your meetings more personal by showing sympathy with and empathy for your customers. Listen to your customer’s complaints, allow them to get it all out, and show that you care while being respectful. If it is something that you can help them with, then make it your problem so you can help them find an appropriate solution. Use phrases like “I’m sorry to hear that…” or “I can understand how frustrating it is to…”

Respond Quickly

Make sure that your customers can easily get in touch with you, and make sure that you respond to any messages within a reasonable amount of time. In a world of advanced technology and social media, there is plenty of opportunity to connect with your customers faster than ever. Return calls within a reasonable amount of time (88% of customers expect a response within 60 minutes), follow through, and always establish the next steps, so that your customer knows what to expect and when they can expect to hear from you.

Communicate Clearly2 women sitting across from each other talking.

The insurance world is a complex one, and it has a language all its own. Customers are coming to you to find the best deals, but they are also coming to you for help translating that language, or because they don’t fully understand the process. Simplify the process as best you can and make everything as clear as possible for your customers. Always end your conversations with a question like, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” or “Is there anything you would like me to go over again?” This gives customers an opportunity to ask questions so they are not left lost or dissatisfied at the end of the conversation.

Admit Mistakes

If you make a mistake, always own up to it, even if the customer hasn’t noticed it yet. This not only builds trust, but also restores your customer’s confidence in you, and  allows you to control the situation. After you correct a mistake or solve a problem, be sure to call and follow up so that your customer stays satisfied with your service.

thank you note surrounded bu flowers, macarons, and a pen
Thank your customers so they feel appreciated.

Thank Your Customers

Always thank your customers for entrusting you with their business. Make them feel appreciated and thank them after they provide you with a new referral, or give them an incentive for providing a referral to you. There are different ways you can show how thankful you are, such as buying them a cup of coffee or sending them a thank-you note. A little appreciation can go a long way.

Selling Insurance Based On Value, Not Price

When it comes to selling insurance, the number one concern of customers is often something you don’t have much control over: price. Insurance companies set their prices, and you can only do so much to find an affordable plan for a customer. However, a skilled agent can make a sale by refocusing the conversation on value instead of cost. Connecting with customers on a deeper level and helping them understand the value of insurance can lead to more sales.

man and woman sitting across from each other with the man in front of a laptop
Figure out what your customer needs by listening.

Know Your Customers

The first step in selling insurance is to know your buyers. Some care only about price, but many want to find the right coverage, which is more valuable to them. These customers do not necessarily want the lowest-priced policy, they want the policy with the biggest bang for their buck. They may be willing to pay a little more for a policy that meets their exact needs. Let them tell you what they are looking for, and then help them identify the difference in plans, the risks, and coverage gaps. This will help both of you to figure out how to give them the most value for money.

Explain The Claims Process

If a potential customer comes to you with concerns about price, remind them of the value of the plan and how it will benefit them. In order to help them understand what they are getting for their money, explain the claims process. If they see concrete examples of how much they will pay out-of-pocket versus how much the insurance company will pay, then they can make a more informed decision. They may see the value in choosing a more comprehensive plan when they see the hefty bills that they could be facing with a basic plan.

Educate Your Prospects

Some potential clients may also come to you with a limited understanding of how insurance actually works. It is your job to find ways to explain the ins and outs of different policies in ways that are easy for them to understand. After all, that’s why they’re coming to you, the professional:  they are looking to you for communication  and information. Take the time to make them feel comfortable about their policy, as well as to explain any terminology and answer any questions they might have. 

two sets of hand, both with a pen in their hands pointing at paperwork.

One of the most important things you can educate your potential customers on is the risk and possible costs of not having insurance. Customers will have a better understanding of the value of insurance when they are met with the reality of what it  can cost  not to have it. Compare how much money they would save when having a policy versus how much they can potentially lose when they do not have one, or one that doesn’t offer them enough coverage. For example, explain to a customer that while they might save $30 a month by not purchasing a more comprehensive policy, they would stand to lose way more if they were in an accident or were facing a serious illness with either no insurance, or a plan that covers only the basics. 

Compare Insurance Policies

As we have pointed out, some customers’ first instinct will be to choose  an insurance plan that offers the bare minimum or basic essential benefits, simply because it’s the cheapest. But it is important to help them see that the cheapest plan is not always the best option for some people, especially those with families or health conditions. Offer to compare different policies and explain to them which plan is best for their needs, but also make sure it fits their budget. Again, know your customer. If the plans you come up with are  too expensive for them, they will be turned off and avoid doing business with you. It’s all about offering the best value for their money.

What Methods Do You Use to Get Your Products Exposed to Existing/Prospective Clients?

There are so many ways to communicate these days, in fact sometimes there may be just too many to be effective when it comes to allocating a campaign budget. What do you do? The short answer is choose what you “know” to be an effective method of communication – one that has in the past produced results.

Yes, you could certainly use Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, blogging, Messenger, email campaigns, direct mail campaigns and so forth, but at some point the diversity is just too much to keep up with financially. And let’s face it – too much diversity can also result in diluting the message. So, if you kept notes, or studied your analytics for each platform you tried, you’ll know right away which was the most effective purveyor of your message. Once you know that – follow up along the same lines (but not actually duplicating the good ad) and get your message packaged in a way that is going to get read.

There are new and old ways of communicating – a fact you’ve no doubt found out by experimenting with different platforms. The secret? Typically it is what is trending – but – keep in mind your audience demographics. You may need more than just one method, per platform, to get your message across to existing and potential clients. The latest method? Short, snappy videos with real people with a message that resonates with many. Try it. You may get a seriously good response and if you do not know how to create a great video, get a pro to help you. It’s worth investing marketing dollars into how you communicate about who you are and what you sell.

Being Reliable Is A Major Plus For Insurance Clients

One of the most competitive advantages you can have as an insurance agent is being reliable. If you say that you will do something, then keep your word. Whenever, you offer to provide something you need to do it.

Even if you do not know something it is crucial to you communicate that to your clients and let them know that you will find out. Being diligent, punctual and responsive are the key factors in great customer service.

If people can count on you to live by your word, give good service, always be there when you are needed and continually attend to your client’s needs, then that means you are reliable. This is a vital trait in the insurance sales business. It is a trait that people talk about. In today’s business milieu, word-of-mouth referrals are on the rise.

To take back more control of your business’ brand, start promoting more of your personality. This may sound counter intuitive, but is not. It is not because you are your business and a key part of its marketing strategy a strategy that relies on being reliable and trustworthy. It is just a slight shift of focus on what you emphasize. Be more personal.

Communication Skills are Key for Developing Your Agency

You may be thinking, you are a good communicator. You call leads, make appointments, talk to walk-ins, talk to staff, help with training and do well in sales. Those are certainly examples of communicating, but talking is not the same as having developed communication skills.

As an insurance agent, marketing and sales involve developed communication skills. To start with, you should examine who is your audience. Who will respond to your agency’s insurance policies best? Knowing your audience will allow you to develop an effective marketing strategy. However, to do that you will need to know how to communicate to your prospective clients what they need in an insurance policy. This is marketing and it is sales.

As an agent, however, you cannot rely on your website to do it all. You will need to interact with leads and get them to buy policies from you. This will require you to sell yourself and your product. You need to be selling you. Without you there is typically no sale, even if someone walked in off the street and said they wanted a Medicare policy. They would first want to get a sense of the selling agent before actually buying.

Do you seem fair? Honest? Know your product? Help potential buyers by giving them thorough information? Do you take your time and get to know the person before doing a sales pitch? Do you enjoy speaking to others? If so, then that means you have developed your communication skills. However, do not stop learning.

Long follow-up time leads to customer dissatisfaction and sale decreases

Marketing today is as much about keeping existing customers as it is about attracting new ones. If customers have a good experience using your product or service, they are more likely to spread the word.

When those new leads call you, you need to be readily available. While it is true that some days are frantically busy, the truth is that leads can not wait. Timely contact with a person asking for insurance information is key in finalizing sales.

In fact, research has found that customers view the appropriate phone call wait time to be three minutes. When it comes to email, most customers expect a response within one business day. However, in the current technology boom, customers are expecting email response time to be even shorter.

You need to keep track of all the communication outlets and be ready to answer questions, offer solutions and address any problems. Keeping real time leads waiting is not a good idea, because if you wait long enough you may lose the advantage of calling when potential insurance buyers are actively asking for information.

Always work leads first to achieve long-term success in the form of happy and loyal customers.

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