I have just gone through the process of buying new insurance for my company.
I decided this was the year that I was going to change my broker, and I will tell you why, but first, let me tell you about the experience and why it is so important to manage customer expectations.
I am in Canada, but most of the people that I talk to every day in the Insurtech world are in the US. There are a lot of you that I know that are smart, and therefore I reached out for advice as to where to start the process. I need to give a shameless plug for Pat West. Pat was not going to benefit in any way through helping me, but he went out of his way to listen to my needs, understand my challenges and refer me to two organizations that could meet my needs.
I am not going to mention them by name, but let’s say the experience was night and day. Both are established brokers well entrenched in the digital space, and both have websites that allow you to start the process on your own and point you in the right direction.
That is where the similarities ended. The first set up an appointment with me via phone, drilled down on my needs, made professional suggestions and provided me with options that were more expensive than what I was currently paying, but covered me way better than my current coverage did.
The other brokerage I felt that I was chasing. I left messages and emails after I had been warmly introduced by a carrier to no avail. The email that I received did not suggest times when we could connect, nor did the terse phone call I received a few days later. When I finally got in touch with the person, their excuse was that they were in court and had little ability to contact me.
The problem was that neither their voicemail nor their email had an out of office response. There was nothing to indicate that they were not working during regular business hours and nothing that made me think that I would not be gotten back to on a timely basis.
This is why I changed brokers in the first place . . . lack of communication. We are all busy, we are all juggling multiple projects and tight timelines, but it is all our jobs to communicate effectively what people should expect from us. If you are going to be out of the office, the technology is there to let people know and understand when they should get a response.
I have already started talking to clients now about a vacation that I am taking at the end of March. I have already set up the out of office for the dates that I will be away with the message that if they need me, here is how they can reach me and how quickly I will get back to them.
Most people are reasonable. Most people, when you tell them that it is going to take a week to get back to them with information and WHY it will take that long, will wait. However, if a week goes by and you have not communicated back, what does that say about you and your brand? It says that you are unreliable and untrustworthy! It says that you do not care about them, their needs or their problems and gives them a reason to go looking for other people and other solutions that do meet their needs and expectations.
Take the time to assess this throughout your organization. Do your staff understand how not meeting expectations hurt your brand? Do they understand how this can lead to business lost and revenues reduced?
It is about creating an understanding of expectations within the corporation. What do you as a company feel is acceptable and does this jive with the needs or your clients? If it does not, then there is a larger problem.
The best piece of advice I can give is talk to your best customers and those whom you have had challenges. Ask them directly what you do well and what challenges they have with dealing with you. I can almost guarantee the insights will be worth one hundred times what you pay out in coffee and lunches in the first year.
As I mentioned, customers, for the most part, are reasonable. They just want to know that they are being heard, understood and taken care of. Isn’t that what we all want?
To your success.