Our previous post discussed the importance of retention, and three ways to increase your retention. They are:
The benefits of creating touchpoints are obvious, though here are four that we’ve seen in our agency:
1. Higher Retention.
Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? However, the increased retention comes from clients that are confident in your knowledge of their situation. With consistent contact, they’ll know that you have them covered for little things like good student discounts, an old car that they got rid of, a home improvement project that increases their replacement cost valuation, or any number of other things. Confidence in you as the agent is a HUGE boost to your retention. Customers will be less inclined to shop around because they’re happy with you.
2. Cross Selling opportunities
The objective should NOT be simply to cross sell. Instead, you might learn that business is going well, or they bought a new car, or had a child, which can lead to discussions regarding umbrellas, life insurance, or other financial needs.
3. Referral Opportunities
Much like cross selling opportunities, the purpose of the touchpoints isn’t to ask for referrals. However, as you keep in contact with your clients and nurture genuine relationships of trust, they will naturally refer business to you, even without you asking. Keep in mind it’s absolutely okay to ask for referrals, just don’t do it every. single. time.
There are definitely other benefits, though these are the big three that we’ve seen, and, oh my, what a surprise! They ALL affect the revenue of an agency! Retention is obviously the long-term gain, but in the meantime, cross-selling and referrals help you immediately.
WARNING . . .
Don’t be annoying with follow-ups and “touching base” with your clients. One insurance company did an in-depth study, and found that five touchpoints throughout the year is the sweet spot. So don’t overdo it. Here’s an example of where things can go wrong:
I once visited an optometrist who I really liked. Super nice guy, great staff, the whole nine yards. They asked if they could send me texts for promotions and the like, and I said, “sure”. After all, there is no way an optometrist’s office would go nuts, right?
It seemed like I would get a text or two each month, and another monthly e-mail on top of that. I couldn’t get away from it, and I started to feel like anger from Inside Out:
Sure, all I had to do was “unsubscribe”, but the point is that you want to be thoughtful - not spammy - with your communication. Don’t make your customer turn into Anger!
I really like that optometrist, and I would appreciate an annual reminder or something, but not constant requests to follow them on Facebook, refer friends, etc.
As I mentioned before, the sweet spot is around five points of communication throughout the year. Here are a few ideas:
1. Policy inception
2. Six weeks after policy is issued
3. Anytime there is a premium change
5. Holidays (we’ve found that Thanksgiving works well)
6. Anytime there is a claim
7. One month prior to policy renewal for the annual review
8. Thank-you card at one year
Following my own advice, I would not send something at each of those events. It’s better to create a campaign of 4-5 touchpoints throughout the year, and consistently do it for all your clients.
I remember several weeks after I signed up with Discover card, they sent me a nice card with a $5 Starbucks card that simply said, “Have a coffee on us”. I don’t even frequent Starbucks, and I was still extremely impressed. Since then I’ve referred several friends of mine to check out Discover.
What are you doing in your agency to create that kind of buzz?
If you can figure out a way to do so, not only will your retention increase, but your growth will increase in the short-term as well.
IHT is a multi-state insurance agency with dozens of branches across the eastern and central United States.