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Loyalty: You can't buy it, but you can build it

June 21, 2021 / Katharine Gebhardt

You reach into the mailbox as you arrive home at the end of a long workday. Your gaze lands on an eye-catching postcard. Lucky you – you’ve received a great savings offer from your cell provider!

Only thing is, the offer’s only available to new customers.

As a long-term customer, it can feel like the only thing you get from your service provider is a bill

In the insurance industry, a proliferation of online options have appeared over the past years, making shopping for insurance quotes more convenient. As a Broker, your super-power is people and relationships.

If you’re only contacting your clients to send an invoice, you could be missing out on building and nurturing the relationship

That old saying “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold,” applies to customers, too. Larry Myler cited it in Forbes magazine where he wrote that “disconnection is the reason why so many one-time sales that are completely satisfying (silver) never translate into lifetime customer value (gold).”

So, how do you keep in touch between bills?

A newsletter and social media posts get you part of the way, but they can be generic. The key is to make the connection both relevant and personal.

10 ways to keep in touch, using information you already have:

  1. Birthday cards
  2. Team updates – a new employee, somebody on the team got married, had a baby or earned a diploma
  3. Well wishes – especially after a claim, but any occasion, like Thanksgiving or back-to-school, is a great opportunity
  4. Ask for feedback
  5. Invitations – to a community event or a lunch and learn that you’re offering
  6. Articles that you know a particular client would be interested in
  7. Thank you cards – you can never send enough of those
  8. Check-ins for updates – How do they like the new car they just insured with you?
  9. Tell them about a not-for-profit you’re supporting
  10. Farewells – it’s worth reaching out, even if they’re moving on, because they’ll remember well wishes

How much is too much, though?

When it comes to customer touchpoints, there can be too much of a good thing. Also, you can’t do all 10 of these for every customer on top of your existing jobs.

A rule of thumb is that more channels for communication aren’t necessarily more effective. It’s the quality of the communication that counts, according to author and experience designer Chris Ridson. He goes on to say that customers want your contacts to be:

  • Appropriate to their personal need
  • Relevant to what’s required at that point in time
  • Meaningful, in that the customer feels that things are progressing for them as a result of the interaction
  • Endearing, so it strengthens the bond the customer has with your brokerage.

Ways to get it done

It’s easy to stay in touch if you have 25 customers, but what about hundreds or even thousands? You have to automate it.

  • Your customer database is a gold mine of information. Your database lets you personalize everything you send and may have the ability to “trigger” mailings or messages on important dates
  • You can also make use of:
    • Your calendar, to remind you of follow-ups
    • Survey Monkey, for feedback
    • Contacts on your smartphone – jot down quick notes that you pick up from conversations; next time you dial their number, just scroll down; that way you’ll remember to ask how their mother-in-law, Joan, is recovering from her surgery

Start here: Choose at least one tactic today

Maybe you don’t have time to dive into your database today, or a budget for a lot of mailings. Start small – maybe make it a habit to record small details in your contacts on your phone. Just make a start.

After all, as Patricia Fripp, the award-winning sales coach, says, “It is not your customer’s job to remember you; it is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.”


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