Operation Agency Success: Make It Easy

August 1, 2017 Becky Schroeder

ITC President Laird Rixford talks about why focusing on making it easy for consumers to do business with you is important and how you can make it easy for consumers to choose you.

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Video Transcript

A survey by Corporate Executive Board found that consumers crave simplicity. The single biggest reason consumers buy from or recommend a company is how easy it is to get information and weigh their options.

Another study by Oracle showed that the majority of consumers will switch to another option if they have a poor customer experience.

So it’s time to make it easy.

For a long time, agents have controlled the process of buying insurance.

That’s no longer the case. As consumers started to use technology more, their expectations changed. They want easy. So now that they have more choices, they are choosing easy and taking control of the insurance buying process.

The insurance industry has not kept the same pace in adopting technology as consumers have, which has created a gap. This control shift to consumers is why we’re seeing insurtech startups trying to fill this gap. Not all have been successful yet. But it only takes one.

Meeting or exceeding a consumer’s expectations is not enough to win her loyalty. You have to provide such great service that she needs minimal effort to buy from you.

Not making it easy will kill a consumer’s experience with your agency.

You might think you’re easy to work with. But, what if your assumptions don’t line up with what the consumer actually experiences?

Take off your agency owner hat for a moment. Think like a consumer, and secret shop your own agency. If you really need to, ask a friend who is not readily familiar with your agency to do it.

Start with an online search for your main line of business and your town. Does your insurance agency website appear in the first page of results? If so, is it displaying the correct information? If not, you need to look at optimizing your website further.

Next, click on your website. Look at it as if you were a consumer looking at it for the first time.

Is it clear where to go to request a quote? Is it obvious how to contact you with questions?

Do you provide more than one way to contact your agency? Are you providing as many answers and helpful information as you can on your website?

Then, go through the process to request a quote on your website.

Was it time consuming or difficult? How quickly do you get a response?

If you provide comparative rates on your website, how long did it take and what was that process like?

Fill out a contact form. How quickly do you get a response from your agency? What was the response?

Also, call your agency. Did a person pick up right away? Or do you have to navigate a phone tree? How easy is it to get a person on the phone? How long did you have to wait? When a person finally answered, were they friendly and helpful?

Finally, think of all the ways you interact with your customers. Are you doing everything you can to keep it easy? Is your website easy to use on all devices, including smartphones?

Look at everything you do, and ask yourself: How can I make this easier for my customers?

A customer-first focus leads to more loyalty, more referrals, and more business. Here are five ways you can make it easy for a consumer to choose you.

First, be where consumers are. 85 percent of consumers search for local businesses online.

If you don’t have an insurance agency website, get one. If it’s been a few years, it’s time for a refresh. Make sure it’s mobile friendly.

Also, think beyond your website. Whatever way a consumer wants to engage with you, be there. That can include social media and email.

Second, provide great service. Respond quickly to quote and contact requests. Follow through on what you say you’ll do.

Third, ask for feedback. Use surveys to find out what your customers think of your agency and service. Listen to what they have to say.

Four, review your processes. Look for places where you are making it more difficult for consumers. Remove the hoops they have to jump through. Simplify.

And finally, check your technology. If you’re not using the right insurance agency software, find what you need to make your agency better.

Implement good technology and processes. Train your staff to use the software and follow processes correctly. Use all of your technology to their fullest potential.

Agencies that make it easy for consumers are winning your opportunities. Competition is only growing. If you want to compete and win, make it easy for consumers, and they will choose you.

About the Author

Becky Schroeder

As senior vice president of sales and marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s sales and marketing departments. Her specialties include creating and documenting processes; establishing metrics for managing those processes; developing content strategy and generating leads; and driving the overall company sales and marketing strategy. Becky was named an Elite Woman in Insurance by Insurance Business America in 2016. She has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their three daughters.

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