As an independent agent, you are always in search of the next client. The endless hours of sales calls, client meetings, and marketing leave you little time for client hunting. If there were an easier way to find new clients and to give them the benefit of your products and services you provide. The number one tool an agency has is its existing clientele. Who better to tout the praises of the benefit you provide than someone who has firsthand experience with your company?
However, there can be pitfalls to reaching into your client pool to ask for referrals. It’s all about the approach. It is asking the right questions and gaining intel through what people have to say. A Net Promoter Score (NPS) Survey can key you into how your existing clients view your product, your customer service, and your follow-through on performance.
The Key to Client Happiness
There are three keys to client happiness: Product Satisfaction, Customer Experience, and Follow-up Services. These keys apply to the independent agent, just as they apply to any subscription service-based business. Each of these areas will determine whether a client will refer you to friends, family, and colleagues.
- Product Satisfaction – This is simple. Provide a superior product, and clients will keep coming back to your agency for additional business. Yet, an inferior product, or one that does not live up to the client’s expectations, can leave them running for the door.
- Customer Experience – Not only you need to provide an excellent product, but also your agents need to maintain a professional atmosphere. Perhaps even a step further. Some of the most successful companies are the ones that make the client feel ‘at home’ If they do not feel comfortable with your agency, they will search elsewhere to conduct their business. Even if you provide a superior product, how they feel they are being treated can be far more important.
- Follow-up Services – Sales, especially insurance sales, is an ongoing endeavor. It is never one and done. There are far too many agents who complete the sale, make the notch on the tally board, and move on to the next prospect. Customer Service does not end with a signature. Regular follow-up with existing clients is crucial to future sales.
Poor Service will cost your future sales and will cause you to lose your existing client base. The primary way to discover where you currently stand in the eyes of your customers is to ask. And running NPS Surveys is a great way for your independent agency to gauge the highs and lows of customer satisfaction.
Using Data to Improve Client Happiness
It’s essential to monitor the cost of client acquisition, determine a client’s lifetime value, and calculate your agencies run rate; data is always the key to business success or failure. Therefore, not paying attention to market trends can leave you behind, desperately trying to catch up with the competition.
This includes how happy your clients are with your agency’s performance. When you consider client satisfaction, you can either have the best year you have ever had, or you can prepare to close your doors through lack of business. Therefore, it is crucial to use metrics, like the NPS (Net Promoter Score), to better your agency overall. A well-run agency has happy customers. How do we know they are happy? Simply, ask them.
A Net Promoter Score measures customer experience to help agencies predict business growth. This metric provides the central measurement for customer experience management programs.
The score is determined by the answer to one specific question: How likely are you to recommend us to others? [you can add to friends, family or colleagues in the question]. Each response will have a numerical value, generally a scale of 0-10. The NPS is calculated as the difference between the percentage of Promoters and Detractors. It is not expressed as a percentage but as an absolute number lying between -100 and +100.
NPS divides survey question answers into three categories: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors.
- Promoters (9-10) – A high score shows your agency is doing their job well. When you provide excellent service with superior products, clients will give you high scores.
- Passives (7-8) – A middle of the road score can mean your client is happy, but there is room for improvement. This usually comes from a mishandled claim or poor customer service experience. These are the numbers that are easiest to improve.
- Detractors (0-6) – A low score not only hurts your score, but it also hurts future business. A low scoring question can result in negative feedback, as more people are likely to comment on a negative experience versus a positive one. Ask your customers why they are unhappy and use their feedback to enhance your service.
A Net Promoter Score rates your agency based on the answer to how likely a client is to recommend your agency to others. For instance, if you have 25% Promoters, 55% Passives and 20% Detractors, your NPS will be +5.
Things you need to plan before running the NPS survey:
- Decide which channels will be more effective to use: email, SMS, social media?
- NPS should be measured over-time. Choose a cadence that fits better with your business, the relationship with your clients and the level of interaction they have with your agency.
You might also want to gather more information about why they give you a good or bad score and therefore, improve your agency’s performance. A follow-up email will give you the key to what you need to improve to get your client into a position to become a Promoter if they are currently Passive. However, you cannot please everyone, and you will have Detractors who will be negative, even if you gave them the policy for free. Through them and their answers, you will learn what mistakes you have made and can avoid in the future.
To run a successful agency that continues to grow, data is the key. Through metrics like the NPS, you can discover who your best clients are. The information gathered puts you in the mindset of your client as to what motivates them to refer friends, family, and colleagues to your independent insurance agency. Through their help, you can focus your marketing strategies to obtain new clients and keep the ones you already have.
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- Deepen relationships with clients
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