The Agency Guide to Onboarding New Clients

Are your insurance customers “satisfied”? A satisfied customer is not necessarily a delighted or a loyal customer. According to the Independent Insurance Agents of Dallas, expect fifty percent of your satisfied customers to find a new agent within three years. In today’s competitive market, satisfaction is an insufficient barometer of client loyalty. What steps can agencies take to retain a client once that customer has purchased coverage?

Insurance clients who experience a personal relationship with their advisers and feel part of a community of peers are the most likely to stay with their existing agents, research shows. Keeping your clients informed is part of community building. Any market changes like the recent increases in Medicare deductibles should not come as a surprise to your client base. Activities like educational seminars or workshops developed in conjunction with tax advisers to provide tax strategies – these types of events build community and increase your client’s loyalty. But don’t just stick with educational seminars. Some agencies host wine-tasting or other social events that can increase your clients’ sense of community and build deeper personal bonds with your agents and other clients.

Another solid way to increase customer loyalty is to ensure your staff communicates frequently with new clients. Develop a client onboarding checklist your agents can follow step-by-step. Make the checklist clear and concise, so that it is intuitive and easy to follow. Avoid acronyms, helping newer employees take action without asking for explanations. A formalized agency onboarding process builds customer loyalty and opens the doors to cross sell.

Here are some general items you may want to incorporate in your agency checklist.

  • Add your customer to your client database without errors. Many today spell their names creatively. A misspelled name is a big turnoff to clients.
  • Send a thank you letter, which explains:
    • Expected policy arrival date.
    • A copy of your agency’s most recent newsletter or other collateral relevant to your client’s insurance needs.
    • An invitation to “like” and follow your social media pages and where to locate them.
    • A description of all insurance products your agency provides, such as annuities or disability coverage.
  • A reminder to set dates for client contact, including birthdays or other important milestones. Set bi-monthly or quarterly tasks in the agency management system as a reminder to phone or visit the client. These are fertile cross-sell opportunities, but also provide agents an opportunity to discuss changes in exposure. For example, your client may have added adopted a child, had a baby, or may be considering disability insurance. You probably won’t know unless you ask.

Today’s agencies must work leaner and smarter and part of this means focusing on your most profitable clients. Your top clients are the most likely to refer new business your way. Frequent communication with them, and welcoming your new clients into your agency, will pay the biggest dividends. High customer retention correlates to high agency profitability.

If you lose a client to a competitor, all is not lost. If your agency graciously handles departing clients, these clients may return in a few years when their new agent fails to meet their expectations. At least twice a year, reach out to former clients with newsletters or special offers.

Consumers face an onslaught of agents who offer to quote their business at networking meetings, by phone, or through direct mail. A thorough checklist that standardizes consistent client contact can help build your client’s loyalty and make them less likely to take that meeting with your competitor.

And remember not to let your excitement for new clients take your eye off compliance issues, especially with Medicare and Medicaid. Read about our tips to stay compliant during open enrollment periods.