By Kelly Donahue-Piro
Agency Performance Partners, President
Agency Appeal, Co-Founder
When I first got into the insurance space I remember many agency owners telling me the same thing: “We give good customer service.” I started thinking, if everyone gives good customer service, what is the difference? Why should I buy my insurance from you vs. the agency down the street? Customer service never exactly sit well with me.
My first challenge is that my version of good customer service is very different than my mom’s, my husband’s or my best friend’s. So how does an agency deliver good service when we are all very different? My second challenge with good customer service is: how is it tracked? As I pondered this with a few agency owners, the result was that good customer service was a feeling, rather than a measurable metric shared with the agency. This meant good customer service was a self-analysis rather than engagement with the client.
Then comes in customer experience, and it all clicked for me. Customer experience is a defined, replicable, easy to communicate process that everyone delivers. It’s not a reactive event; it is a proactive expectation that you can set to all of your team members and your clients. Customer experience is in response to what your customer communicates is best for them, and then you in turn determine how you can rise to that occasion. Any agency wanting to create their customer experience starts by outlining every activity in their agency, then thinking outside of the box. Detail out how you can be a concierge to the client and how you can best serve them.
For example, let’s take claims. Many agencies opt to send the client to the company to report the claim. You are giving good customer service by getting the claim reported quickly and not having the client repeat themselves. Customer experience would change that process. In a customer experience you would review coverage with the client, warm transfer them to the company, then send them a note to make sure they are ok. You would call 3 days later to make sure they are in contact with an adjuster, then 30 days later you would send them a survey to get their opinion of the process. Customer experience is customer service 10x!
One of the main reasons agencies need to focus on customer experience is that by nature we are not very convenient to deal with. Our competition has better hours and better technology. We need to focus on listening to our customers and connecting with them to exceed their expectations and make them feel how much we care. We need to blast through the client indifference and make them raving fans by delivering on a customer experience that is ridiculously amazing!
About the Author
Kelly Donahue-Piro is the founder and president of Agency Performance Partners. She is a no-nonsense effectiveness expert who has helped hundreds of insurance agencies identify and capitalize on sustainable improvement opportunities. Over the past several years, Kelly has worked with small businesses across the country to build and implement successful programs to boost revenues, profits and efficiency. In 2014, she created Agency Performance Partners with a mission to “partner with insurance entrepreneurs who dream to take their business to the next level – and beyond – by relentlessly pursuing excellence in world-class service and sales strategies.”