It’s easy to get wrapped up in chasing new leads and securing more sales. However, closing sales and meeting KPIs aren’t enough to secure long-term customer loyalty. Customers need to feel heard and validated when they contact customer service. Companies that cultivate empathetic relationships with their customers will achieve sustainable success.
How to Lead with Empathy
Customer expectations shift often, and the pandemic put a spotlight on virtual communication. More customers are shopping online from a variety of devices, and they expect companies to meet them on their preferred platform. Text doesn’t convey tone, so businesses need to take additional steps to provide the empathetic communication customers expect.
- Talk like a regular person. Whether a customer contacts support via the phone, email, or messaging, the responding agent needs to reply like a human. Using canned greetings and replies comes across as robotic and cold. It also makes the customer feel like another box to check. For example, companies can take a more relaxed approach to email communications. Instead of signing emails with Regards or Sincerely, opt for a more empathetic approach such as We’ll talk soon! or Looking forward to hearing more.
- Engage in more small talk. Repeat customers or long-term clients appreciate it when a company remembers details about them. Asking about their recent vacation or how an ailing family member is doing shows that the customer isn’t just another file among many. For new clients, companies can include additional fields on intake forms. Some examples include the customer’s favorite novel or a text box for a fun fact about the customer. These fields provide opportunities to learn more about the customer. They provide talking points for customer service agents.
- Restate the problem. Customers usually contact support because they’re experiencing an issue with a product or service. They’re likely already frustrated, and feeling misunderstood will only increase their irritation. Begin with a statement such as “Thank you for explaining the situation to me. I want to make sure I’m understanding you correctly before we continue.” Then provide a summary of the customer’s problem and their feelings about it. Restating the customer’s problem shows the agent is actively listening and cares about the customer’s needs.
- Ask how the company can do better. Establishing trust and loyalty requires more than listening. Companies need to find out what their customer’s pain points are to provide exceptional service. Asking customers about their experiences with the company can provide insight into areas that need improvement and where the company excels. It also shows the customer that the company cares about their experience and wants to make it as stress-free as possible.
Empathy requires authenticity when communicating with customers. Whether the customer calls, texts, or emails, empathetic responses build trust and customer loyalty. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about expanding and improving your communication channels.
The insurance industry has a harder time interacting with its customer base than many other fields. The only time an insured thinks of their provider is when they receive a bill, need to renew their policy, or have to file a claim. Otherwise, the insured is unlikely to give their insurance company much thought.
Insurance companies often have impersonal relationships with their clients, and this creates significant retention problems. Most insurance companies hover at around an 80% retention rate. This means after one year, 20% of their customers find a new insurer. Traditional communications between an insurance company and their customers don’t allow for interpersonal relationships. Most customers don’t feel a strong loyalty to their insurer like they do for retail-based businesses.
This means insurance companies need to find new and effective ways to cultivate customer loyalty. Some methods to increase customer engagement include:
- Data corroboration. Insurance companies gather a lot of data about their customers. They know their addresses, their phone numbers, their assets, their financial statuses, and more. However, most insurers aren’t doing anything with that information. The data exists in oversized, unusable spreadsheets or some other antiquated data aggregation system. What insurers need is software to cleanse the data to validate its authenticity, remove duplicates, etc.
- Utilize analytics. Organizing data in a way that makes sense is just the start. Insurance providers need to invest in software that helps them gain insights into the information. Analytics can help identify trends to help prevent turnover. For example, analytics may reveal common signs that a customer is considering changing providers. The insurer can then reach out to that customer through a newsletter, poll, or some other method of communication to determine what they can do to improve their satisfaction.
- Targeted communication. Insurers don’t need to limit their customer communications to renewals, bills, claims, and attempts to retain their business. Personalized communication is often an effective tool to keep customers engaged rather than out looking for a new provider. For example, insurance companies can send newsletters about budgeting to customers going through difficult financial periods. The key is to send data that is useful to the customers’ life situation.
Developing deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers improves their loyalty and increases revenue. To put it another way, it’s difficult to send a believable heartfelt message alongside a bill statement. To learn more about improving customer satisfaction and client retention, contact the experts at Actec.
Rapid technological advancement is changing the insurance industry. Insurance companies need to make themselves aware of the latest trends poised to disrupt their sector. Only then can they develop a strategic plan to innovate and compete against rival organizations. Read on for trends expected to change the insurance industry as we pass through 2018.
Personalized Insurance Premiums
In previous years, insurance premiums were often generic. For example, two neighbors living on the same street, driving the same car, of the same age and gender, would likely have near identical premiums. However, this is not an accurate representation of their risk. Several other factors can affect an individual’s relative level of risk, and technology now allows insurers to tap into that data. Wearables such as Fitbit watches, smartphone apps, and telematics can all provide information to construct a premium specific to the individual’s lifestyle.
All-in-One Insurance Policies
The public has grown weary of multiple insurance policies. They need a policy for their car, for their home, for their health, for their prized possessions, and sometimes even their pets. The sheer number of policies can be dizzying. Compounding their frustration is many individuals use one insurance company for their policies because they can bundle to get discounts. As a result, people want a package deal. One policy to cover all of their needs in one location. With the use of artificial intelligence (AI), insurers could make recommendations based on how different areas of coverage interact with each other.
Blockchain Ledger Technology
The blockchain era is here, and commercial industries are jumping onboard. Blockchain technology allows for cryptocurrency transactions. While this will not disrupt how customers interact with insurers, it will disrupt the existing platforms for wholesale, commercial, and reinsurance transactions. This is noteworthy because these particular areas have yet to advance into the internet era.
There are significant changes coming to the insurance industry, and providers need to prepare and adapt. With our expertise, Actec can help insurers navigate the challenges ahead. To learn more about the shifting insurance landscape, contact us today.