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The Customer Is King

He is a valuable commodity and should be treated as such.

By Troy Korsgaden

The most successful insurance agencies know that we can no longer tell our clients what coverages and policies they need. The average family is not so “average” any more. Every family has different needs, wants and future goals.

REMEMBER THAT YOU CAN NEVER HELP YOUR CUSTOMER TOO MUCH.

The most effective way to find out exactly what these needs are is through face-to-face meetings with your customers. Through our work with agencies and companies across the United States and abroad, we have found that the top-producing agencies consistently meet with their clients an average of two times per year. In addition, they “touch” their clients through mail, phone and email a minimum of seven times per year.

Remember that you can never help your customer too much.

When meeting with your clients, there are several things to keep in mind:

  • Listen, listen, listen. If you are not listening, you are not truly hearing what your customer is asking for or discerning his needs. Listen to key phrases to ensure you have properly offered the correct coverages. When you hear key expressions like “self-employed,” “we’re remodeling our home,” “I recently changed jobs” and “my teenaged driver,” these are some of the cues that indicate a change. And with any change you will want to delve a little more deeply into your customer’s needs and corresponding coverages.
  • Ask, don’t tell. Ask questions about your customer’s future goals and plans. Is he concerned about college costs, saving to build or buy a new home, what to do with a 401(k) plan from a previous employer or worried about uninsured motorists? Don’t tell your customer about the policies you want him to buy. Instead, ask the right questions so that you can recommend the right coverages to fill his needs.
  • Never assume. This is an old caution that many of us unintentionally still assume. We assume that because a customer lives modestly, he has no money to invest. We assume our customers understand all facets of their policies. We assume our customers know that we understand their needs, and we assume that everything is fine even when we don’t ask. Assuming always has and always will … come back to bite you.
  • The customer is king. There is only one true reason we get up every day and unlock our doors. It is our customers. Their needs and wants should always come first. The greatest time to show your customer how important he is to you and your business is during a claim. Invest the time and money to dedicate one person in your office to become a claims concierge, a customer advocate if you will, to your clients. Ensuring a smooth, worry-free claims process builds more customer loyalty than any marketing program ever could.
  • Keep your promises. I am a firm believer in always going above and beyond the call of duty. However, I am a realist, too. I am careful to never promise more than what is humanly possible for me or my staff to deliver. On the other hand, I make it a personal commitment to always come through on what is promised. If you tell a client you are going to get back to him today, then get back to him today. If you say you will call on Monday, call on Monday. These small, kept promises build credibility with your customers and lead to complete satisfaction and loyalty.

Your customers are a valuable commodity and should always be treated as such. Every day your customer is being solicited by another competitor. This solicitation takes place by phone or by mail and now by the ever-so-popular email. Putting the systems in place to ensure your customers are satisfied is the key step you need to take to keep them loyal to your business and brand.

Remember that you can never help your customer too much. Make it your goal and a top priority this year to reconnect with each of your customers to reestablish and deepen your relationship—always remembering that the customer is king.

Twice named “Agent of the Year” from among 14,000 Farmers Insurance agents, Troy Korsgaden has trained nearly 40,000 insurance agents and staff. For more information, call TKS, 800-524-6390, fax the company at 559-625-4990 or go to www.tksystems.org.

 


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