If you remember the opening line of a hit song by John Cougar Mellencamp that goes, “I was born in a small town,” then you’ve heard about the community where I was born, too – and where my Mom worked as the assistant to an independent insurance agent.
When I would visit the office, I observed how my mother was helping the clients of the Dailey Insurance Agency – and, in almost every case, how pleased they appeared to be with the service and coverage they were provided.
However, as we all know, the insurance industry – and, in fact, every business – has changed a great deal over the past few years. While an agriculture cooperative may not sound like it has much in common with an independent insurance agency, I was struck by a comment made by an executive from that industry.
Doug Brunt is Senior Vice President of Agriculture Customers for Land O’Lakes. At a meeting I recently attended, he made a statement to his organization that applies to the insurance industry as well.
“It’s not hard to predict in this highly competitive and rapidly changing marketplace,” he said, “that our best customers are going to be harder to please in the future than they are today.”
Pausing for effect, Doug then added this important insight: “…and that is wonderful!”
(I’ve got to admit — I did a double take! Who wants customers that are harder to please?)
Then, Doug explained his reasoning: “If somebody is already your best customer — and they become harder to please — who is in the best position to thrill them? Logically, it should be YOU. And, that should make them an even better customer than they are today!”
It makes sense in insurance, as well. If they’re one of your best clients:
- You should know and understand them more deeply than any competitor.
- You should be able to plan more strategically how to help and serve them than your competition.
- You should be better equipped to leverage your products and services to become their partner in achieving their goals and objectives.
- And, you should know exactly what they desire, so you can deliver an Ultimate Customer Experience ® — while your competition is still playing the game of mere “customer service.”
However, this phenomenon also means that as your client enhances their expectations, you have to improve your delivery of the client experience to maintain and expand upon your positioning with them.
Most of us probably don’t want our clients to become even more demanding than they already are. Many of us would love for them to keep doing business with us the way clients of the independent agency that my mother worked for did many years ago.
However, distinctive agencies and insurance professionals should welcome it. They know that more demanding clients can be both a wonderful opportunity — and a major impediment to your competition.
We must do is what the late, great Jim Rohn suggested: “Don’t wish it was easier. Wish you were better.” When we become better at delivering a client experience that surpasses others in our respective marketplace, we have taken the first step in creating distinction.
About the Author
Scott McKain has designed and delivered high impact keynotes for the world’s most dynamic brands and has helped companies enhance profitability and loyalty by teaching how to sell uniquely and serve remarkably.