As a producer's book of business grows, it becomes more difficult to continue selling new business. After all, that growing book creates service demands and eats away at prospecting and selling time.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. And it shouldn’t be.
In an attempt to secure and reassure that new client, producers undermine their future growth opportunities. They’ll tell their new client, “I’m your guy/gal. If you need anything at all, you call me, and I'll make sure you get what you need."
You can't entirely blame the individual producer here. In their marketing messages and their sales presentations, way too many agencies claim, "It's our service that sets us apart."
Don’t get me wrong, providing good service to clients is critically important. If you don’t effectively address their service issues, you’re going to get fired. Quality service is a minimum expectation your clients have of you.
It gets worse
Claiming to meet this minimum expectation better than anyone else does nothing to set you apart. Worse than that, the belief that it is a differentiator keeps agencies and producers from focusing on the more creative and proactive impact they can deliver to their clients.
And even worse than that, you potentially damage the relationship you have with your client. In an ironic twist, the service experience they end up having is worse due to your well-intended offer to call you for any needs they have.
When clients have a problem, they want it resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible. They don't care who fixes the problem.
When they follow instructions and call their broker, chances are they will have to leave a voicemail, starting a game of phone tag. Once they finally connect, the broker will turn around and begin a similar round of phone tag with the carrier. And then once the carrier has their answer, the games of phone tag play out again in reverse order, carrier to producer and then producer to client.
The client has already been underserved in this situation because it has taken longer to get their answer than necessary. But that’s not even the worse part.
Let’s assume everyone gets everyone else on the first ring or that everyone was crystal clear in emailing one another regarding the situation. Even if going through the producer somehow didn't slow down the process, their relationship with the client will likely take a hit.
Messengers get shot for a reason
If the producer returns to the client with an answer the client doesn't like, guess who now owns that negative answer in the client's mind? Yep. 😑
Instead of telling your new client to call you with every issue, instruct them with something like this. Not only does it largely remove you from the crosshairs, but it is also in everyone's best interest:
“For most of the insurance plan service issues you may have, the fastest and most efficient way for you to get them resolved will be to call the 800 number on the back of your insurance card. We wouldn’t partner with anyone whom we didn’t believe could provide the level of service our clients deserve.
Chances are, whoever answers the phone will have already answered the same question you are calling with seven times that day. But, if their answer doesn't make sense or if you don't agree with it for some reason, your second call should always be to my team and me."
The upsides are many
By leveraging the abilities, knowledge, and skill set of all the partners you bring to the table, there are benefits for everyone:
- Your client will likely get the fastest and most accurate answer.
- The number of service demands on you and your team will be cut dramatically.
- Instead of owning an answer the client doesn't like, you have put yourself in a position to be the hero. When their second call comes to you, you have a chance to step in and get a better answer on their behalf.
- You can now focus on more proactive ways of helping your clients improve their results.
If you still feel that service is your most significant differentiator, you need to work on your value proposition. If you aren't comfortable leveraging your insurance carrier partners to help support your clients, you need to re-evaluate your recommendations.
“Good service” isn’t a differentiator, but delivering improved results sure is.
Download the Q4i Agency Annual Plan to help you with delivering those good results. 💪
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Photo by golubovy