Easy Steps for Improving Customer Service

The digital age may have altered the way insurance sales are sought, sold and delivered, but one thing never changes – the need for good customer service.

If you handle insurance sales using the proven tactics of  inbound marketing, you’re already taking an important step toward identifying and attracting leads from among the untold billions of people online at any given moment.  Your great content and social networking allow you to play on the same field as the “big boys.”

And an independent, local agent, you actually have some advantages over the mega-companies – and that’ s in the category of personal service. For instance, when a customer calls for help, it’s likely that the call will be taken by you or a staff member – not a call center script-reader located half a world away. That can win you some points, but the quest for good service is an ongoing one.

Improving insurances sales and service in the digital age combines online savvy with old-fashioned good sense.

Easy steps

Give customers the technology they expect. Everyone is online these days, and they expect fast results – quotes, policy registration, payment options and more. Optimize your site to help clients conduct self-service without hassle or confusion.

Get even more social. In case you had any doubt about the power of social media, consider some fresh statistics from inbound marketing guru HubSpot: social media lead conversions are 13 percent higher than the average lead conversion rate. So combine networks like Facebook and Twitter with LinkedIn to make yourself available to the highest number of prospective and current clients. And when you get a comment or question, respond fast – waiting even one day can brand you as inattentive.

Have phone hours that match the clients’ schedule. Yours is a service business, so phone accessibility becomes a given. Reserve a couple nights a week for non-critical inbound calls – your clients may appreciate not having to take time out of their busy day to contact you.

Avoid “voicemail hell.” Phone tag is the bane of telecommunications. If you and your client simply cannot connect after two or three volleys, look for another avenue – send an email or even a text to keep the conversation going.

Use email in a surprising way. Almost no one likes unsolicited “sales-y” email, but your customers may be more pleasantly surprised if you email them birthday greetings, links to highly relevant articles and other material with an “attitude of gratitude” and no insurance sales pitch attached.

Look for the way to “yes.” Even the best clients can turn into headaches if they come up with a totally unfeasible request or simply stop paying their bills on time. No matter what the issue, you can work with him on locating the middle ground where you might both benefit. Just going through the motions demonstrates your flexibility and commitment to his satisfaction.

And finally …

Ask your customers what they want in customer service. You worked hard to land some great insurance sales leads and clients, so who better than your customers to guide you through improved service procedures? Use everything from an website survey to an after-hours reception at your office to engage clients and spark dialog.

Service pays off

Everyone has a customer service horror story to tell – even independent insurance agents. And your customers know as well as you do that talking the talk means nothing – you have to walk the walk. Every step you take toward improved customer service can lead to happier clients in the short term and the long.

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