If we want to capture the hearts and minds of our clients, stop being viewed as commodities, and instead be brands worth loving, excellent customer experience (CX) is the pathway to success.
In his monthly column for Insurance Nerds, Vancouver-based employee engagement and internal brand communications expert Ben Baker shares his insights into how to communicate value effectively, internally, so people want to listen and engage. In the end, it’s about developing leaders that can create influence through trust.
From an outsiders view looking in, and one who purchases thousands of dollars of insurance yearly, insurance has become a commodity. Phrases like “only pay for what you need,” “fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance,” and “you could save hundreds on car insurance” do little to build client loyalty or differentiate brands.
By focusing on being cheaper than everyone else, all this does is start the race to the bottom, where creating an exceptional customer experience is impossible. Instead, all customers do is move from product to product, vendor to vendor looking for something cheaper. There is no loyalty, and there is no perceived value.
What if instead the industry as a whole changed their mantra, and stopped the race to the bottom? What if they spent all that money that they are dedicating, year after year, on new client acquisition and start focusing that budget on customer experience instead?
As an industry, the top ten insurance companies in the United States spent collectively .7 Billion in advertising in 2018. if we conservatively double that number to include the industry as a whole, that number is staggering. Billions of dollars being spent on moving clients from one brand to another without considering how many clients each company is losing on the back end or what those lost opportunity costs are.
What if instead of spending those Billions on client acquisitions, companies within the industry spent hundreds of millions on developing end-to-end customer experience programs that work, built real client loyalty, and developed customers who referred profitable business to you instead?
The reason is that creating great end-to-end customer experiences are hard, and it is even harder today in a post-pandemic world.
As businesses, we need to understand the differences between what customers want, what they need, and what they desire, and we need to focus our attention on what they desire.
Yes, insurance clients want to pay a reasonable sum to feel that they will be made whole again if a catastrophe ever occurs, that is a given. They want to think that they are getting value for their money, and they want to believe that what they paid for will cover them when that disaster occurs.
Those are table stakes.
The question is, as a company and as an industry, how do you move beyond that?
How do you make people feel special? How do you make them feel that they are listened to, understood, and valued through the entire life cycle of the client? How do you make them feel that they matter, and you are to be trusted?
Those are the factors that people care about. Whether the lines are personal, corporate, or health-related, they want to know that those that they have trusted to take care of them, their families, and their corporate families care and have their best interest at heart.
Here is the trick. CARING DOES NOT SCALE!
You cannot 10X caring or empathy. You cannot put it into an algorithm and develop a system that works 100% for everyone, every single time. WHY? Because in the end, we are dealing with humans, and humans are a fickle bunch, each with their own sets of priorities, wants, needs, and desires.
Putting people in Box A, B, or C does not work if you want them to remain loyal. Customization of service and personalization of plans does.
When people believe that a plan has been customized for their specific needs and that the agent selling it to them understands them and their concerns, trust is built. That trust goes beyond price, and relationships are formed that are long-term and lasting. When agents take the time to go over a plan and find out what has changed within the business and suggest changes based upon market conditions, loyalty is increased. When agents take the time to look at individual circumstances and help develop solutions that are creative and applicable, people talk and refer business.
None of this is easy. All of this takes effort.
However, by focusing on looking at what your customers desire and understanding how what you provide affects them and their lives, amazing things will happen.
Every business needs to figure out how to best talk to their clients, and it will probably be in multiple ways over multiple channels. Millennials and Genz will desire different things than Genx and Boomers. It is up to you to do the hard work to talk to your clients and find out what they want, what they need, and what they desire.
Reach out if we can help you develop that plan.
Here is wishing everyone health, safety, and long-term success.
Connect with Ben HERE to discuss how to provide your people with the skills and mindset they need to lead teams effectively into the new normal.