Most insurance agents are heavily focused on finding new business. They spend all their time, energy, and money connecting with new customers, networking for referrals, and looking for ways to bring down their acquisition costs.
And that’s an integral part of working in the insurance industry. But attracting new accounts is only the first step of the process; once you’ve got the account, you need to do everything you can to keep it.
Or, in other words, focus on customer retention just as much as customer acquisition.
But how, exactly, do you do that? How do you drive customer loyalty and ensure that your existing customers continue to do business with you and your insurance agency for years to come?
Let’s take a look at seven customer retention strategies for agents working in the insurance industry—so you have everything you need to increase retention rates, minimize policy cancellations, and keep your business moving forward.
Start Things Off on the Right Foot
As an agent, if you want to retain your clients, you need to be thinking about customer retention from day one—starting with your onboarding process.
When you bring a new account into your book of business, carve out a time to meet with them (either virtually or in-person) to review everything they need to know about their insurance policy, from the details of the actual policy to how they’ll need to process payments to how to file a claim with the insurer. Make sure they understand all the ins-and-outs, take plenty of time to answer any questions and address any concerns, and let them know that you’ll be with them every step of the way to ensure their insurance experience is as smooth and simple as possible.
When you focus on your onboarding process, you’re creating a positive customer experience from day one—and setting up the relationship for success in the long run.
Make Life Easier for Your Clients
Today’s consumer wants things to be simple, streamlined, and easy. So, if you want to retain your clients, one of the best retention strategies you can leverage?
Making their life—at least as it relates to insurance—as easy as possible.
There are plenty of ways to simplify the insurance process for your clients. Help set up automatic payments—so they’re not stressed about when they have to pay their premiums each month. Create FAQ sheets about all the policies you sell and include them in your new accounts paperwork—so if they have any questions about their current policy, they can refer to the fact sheet and get the answers they need without having to reach out. While you’re at it, create a contact sheet with all the contact names, phone numbers, and emails and pop it into their paperwork—so your clients know exactly how to get in touch with you and the insurance companies when they need to.
When you make the process of working with you simple and streamlined, that convenience will make your customers want to keep working with you—and will help your retention rates soar.
Cross-Sell Insurance Products
You wouldn’t necessarily think that selling your clients more insurance products would correlate with higher retention rates. But as mentioned, today’s consumer is all about convenience—and if you can provide that convenience by managing all their insurance needs, those customers are much more likely to stick with you.
Look into the different products insurance companies offer—and see how you can bundle those products to best serve your clients. For example, if you work mostly with individuals, you might offer your clients packages that include commercial or hired auto insurance, life insurance, home insurance, and insurance for health care needs. Or, if you specialize in working with small businesses, you might look for ways to bundle liability insurance, workers’ comp insurance, and health insurance—or you can bundle your insurance offerings with additional products or services that your insured's need. With the Hourly platform, you’re not just selling workers’ comp to your clients; you’re also selling them payroll and time tracking services—which will ultimately make running their business easier and more efficient.
Cross-selling products is one of the best sales strategies for your business—but it’s also one of the best strategies for retaining your clients.
Work to Get Your Clients the Most Competitive Rates
You don’t have control over the pricing set by insurance providers. But if you fall under the “independent agents” umbrella, you can shop different insurance companies for the most competitive rates—and then pass those rates on to your clients.
Putting in the legwork to get your clients the best deals on their policies pays off in terms of retention; when it comes time to renew their policies, they’ll remember you went above and beyond to get them the most competitive rates—and will want you to secure those rates again.
Keep in Touch Throughout the Year...
A lot of insurance agents get a new account, get them all set up with their policy...and then disappear until it’s time to renew.
But if you want to increase retention, you need to show your clients you’re invested in the relationship—not just securing their business. And the best way to do that? Keeping in touch.
Now, we’re not suggesting you check in on every account every week; there’s no need to go overboard with the follow ups. But keeping in regular contact throughout the year gives your clients opportunities to ask questions and resolve any issues and strengthens the agent/insured relationship—so when it is time to renew, they’re 100% on board to continue doing business with you.
Schedule phone calls for your clients once per quarter to see how everything is going with their policies. Invite your clients to your professional social media pages and encourage them to post comments or questions. Shoot each of your clients an email every so often just to check in and see how they’re doing.
The better you keep in touch with your clients, the better your relationships will be—and the better your relationships, the better your customer retention will be.
...And Schedule a Face-to-Face Meeting Before Every Policy Renewal
Staying in touch through phone calls, email, and social media is great. But when an insured's renewal period is approaching, it’s important to schedule a face-to-face meeting.
Just like the onboarding process offered you an opportunity to walk your new accounts through their policy and answer any questions, the renewal offers that same opportunity. Plus, your clients can let you know of any issues they had with the policy and anything they’d like to see change for the upcoming year—so you can do whatever you need to do (whether that’s shop for better rates, adjust their coverage, or provide a better customer service experience) to make sure their needs are taken care of.
Before the policy renews, schedule a time to meet with all the policyholders. If you’re dealing with a huge book of business and, logistically, don’t have the time to meet with each insured individually, focus on your most important clients—whether that’s the most lucrative clients or the clients you feel are the most at risk for not renewing their policy and taking their business elsewhere.
Is meeting with your clients face-to-face every year an investment—both in time and energy? Absolutely. But it’s an investment that will pay off when it helps boost your retention rates—and keeps your clients working with you over the long term.
Ask Your Clients How You Can Keep Their Business
If you want to retain your clients, you need to provide them with the highest level of service.
But the “highest level of service” could mean different things to different people.
So, if you want to retain your clients and keep their business? Ask them what you need to do in order to make that happen.
When you sign a new account, ask them what they want and need out of the relationship—and make sure to follow through and deliver. Send out periodic surveys to ask your clients about how things are going—and to see if there’s anything they’d like to see improved. If an insured does decide to leave to work with another agent, try to schedule an exit interview so you can see where things went wrong—and how you can improve in the future.
Bottom line? If you want to retain your clients, ask what you need to do to keep their business—and then make sure you follow through and do what they ask.