Small talk with customers can help brokers expand

Published: October 21, 2018

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Brokers are often told to connect with customers to engage in a changing marketplace. Consumers are becoming more powerful and digitally focused and customer service is important. While much of the dialog with customers should be business focused, brokers should not forget the importance of simply “shooting the breeze”.

A speaker scheduled to appear at the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario convention next month believes brokers must use a personal touch. A fantastic way is to simply talk with customers about non-insurance matters.

“Touch base just for the hell of it,” advises author and speaker Stuart Knight. “See how life is going, how business is going.”

Knight has previously discussed how insurance companies can manage telling customers their auto policies are changing. The news can sometimes be bad, so being personal can help both the broker and the customer:

“The mistake that a lot of insurance brokerages made was they just either emailed or direct-mailed all their customers and said, ‘Hey, here’s a heads up, here are all the changes that are being made, here is a check box, send it back to us if you want to get the extra product and pay the extra premium,’” Knight said.  “You can imagine people getting these letters in the mail. Everyone is saying, ‘No thank you.’ No one is checking the box.”

Sales Increase

Knight points out carriers retained just 1% of clients through renewal. However, he points to one broker that “called each [auto insurance client] individually and they told them about the changes,” Knight said. “At the same time, they just shot the breeze a little bit – ‘while I’ve got you on the phone, how’s life?’”

The results for that brokerage were obvious, with 21% of customers buying back the original policy.