Turn Your Service Level From Good To Exceptional
In the financial services industry exceptional service is the key reason clients stay with an Agency. Being well cared for, and cared about, is often more important to clients than just the price.
Product pricing isn’t within the control of Agents/Advisors; however, exceptional service is something you and your team can control. When prices increase, client sensitivity to service issues becomes magnified and may lead them to move their business to a competitor that has a lower rate. Even well-meaning Agency teams can lose sight of the little things that make all the difference in keeping clients feeling cared for.
Service issues that can frustrate a client include (but are not limited to):
- Having to follow up to see if something they requested was completed
- Playing phone tag
- Not getting quotes or information back in a timely manner, or when promised
- Calling and no one having any idea of what’s happening on their account
- Only being able to talk to one person about work being done for them
- Anything slipping through the cracks
- Not being proactively contacted about opportunities or issues regarding their policies
- Being told “that’s done by the home/corporate office,” you’ll need to call them
You might notice a lot of service goes well beyond just getting the work done. It’s also about communication. Communication with the client. Communication within your team. And even communication with the home/corporate office.
We challenge you to check in with your team and have an open conversation about what it means to have exceptional service and how well your Agency is executing on these three, easy-to-implement communication best practices:
- Set expectations for when work will be completed. If you don’t tell a client when they will hear back from you to know the work is done, they can only guess. And often, their timing isn’t the same as yours. To avoid this, make sure you set the expectations of your clients by letting them know when and how they will hear from you. Not everything needs to be a phone call. It’s okay to send a quick text or email to follow up. Just make sure you communicate and check in with your client. For instance, if you’re working on a vehicle addition to their policy or making a change to their investments, you might tell a client, “We’ll have this done for you tomorrow morning. Is it okay to send you a text and let you know we’ve got this completed?” This not only sets the stage, but also opens the door for the client to tell you if they need it sooner or if they prefer another contact method. If you don’t know when something will be done, be proactive in giving the client a progress update.
- Schedule the next call or meeting whenever possible. Phone tag is frustrating for everyone involved. Instead of getting into an endless cycle, break the cycle the first time you speak with a client. Make it a practice to never end a conversation without scheduling the next one. If you know you’ll need to call a client back to go over a quote or even to get more information, try and set a scheduled call back time. This helps to ensure the client is available and in a position to talk when you call. Clients have a lot going on in their lives. Even if they plan on calling you back with a VIN number, or some other needed information, it won’t make it to the top of their list, unless they know you’ll be calling them back and when. Yes, you can wait for them to call, but exceptional service is all about going above and beyond. Clients will appreciate you taking the time to reach out and help them reach the result they’ve told you they want. Good service takes care of the work when a client calls. Exceptional service recognizes clients can use help taking the next steps.
- Make sure service notes are accessible to the team. Clients appreciate the convenience of calling into your office for information or to get an update on a service request. However, if that information isn’t readily available because it’s being held by one person who isn’t free to talk with them, it’s frustrating for your client! Customer service should belong to the Agency, not one person in the Agency. Exceptional service happens when anyone answering the phone is able to update a client. This doesn’t mean that everyone will be able to help right away. There are specialties and even licenses that come into play, but to at least be able to inform a client what’s being done and when to expect it will bring them peace of mind and the confidence that your Agency cares about what is important to them.