How to Boost Policyholder Retention in the New NormalLast updated: February 5, 2021 | 5 min read
The global pandemic combined with a highly competitive market and looming recession has created new challenges for insurers.
Before COVID-19, insurers were known to place a greater focus on new sales while unknowingly setting a lower priority for customer retention. However, with many consumers now working from home, not buying new houses or cars, closing businesses, and not starting new companies, the need to retain existing customers has never been more important.
To survive in the current insurance climate, carriers will need to prioritize reducing customer churn. By using a blend of proven and out-of-the-box retention tactics, insurers can effectively increase engagement, build trust, and encourage brand loyalty.
Focus on Customer Experience and Communications
During times like this, policyholders look to insurers for protection. Carriers that respond with empathy and put customers first will likely emerge as the industry leaders.
Right now, you have the opportunity to demonstrate your values as an organization and show your customers you care, while solidifying the long-term health of your company.
Remember, every interaction is important. To help you get started, here are some ways to improve your communications and overall experience:
- Have information available anytime, anywhere. In these challenging times, policyholders will have even more questions and immediate concerns than before. Regularly communicating with your customers will not only keep them calm and informed but will also minimize the burden on your call centers and customer service agents.
- Personalize every interaction. Communicating with customers in their preferred language, format, and delivery channel helps them perceive the content as more relevant and engaging.
- Use active dialogues. Don’t just talk at your customers. Instead, use two-way channels such as text or social media to encourage engaging conversations that are helpful to them.
- Expand digital efforts. With social distancing the new norm, customers are relying heavily on digital platforms for instant communication. Using digital channels such as email and text message to communicate with your customers will bring you cost savings and create better experiences.
- Get to know your customers. Insurers understand how to cover risks. But to truly engage with customers, you must get to know their values, concerns, and behaviors. By using this information, you can involve customers rationally and emotionally to build a stronger connection.
Be Flexible and Understanding
Success isn’t just about surviving as an insurer; it’s about helping insureds survive this as well. Some of the most significant factors of effective customer retention are flexibility, empathy, and understanding. And there are many ways to do this as an insurance carrier.
Transparency and trust go hand-in-hand. Honest and frequent communication will build confidence, while a lack of information or misinformation will result in distrust. This is why it is essential to be transparent with your customers, internal teams, and partners during a crisis.
Identify the concerns of your audience and develop messaging that assures them your organization is doing all it can to ensure business as usual. If there are delays in processes or customer service, make sure you keep your customers informed and up to date on what to expect. Let your customers know what you’re doing to resolve any concerns or questions they may have throughout the crisis.
As a result of changed behaviors, many insurance carriers are offering rebates to their customers. While this may not work for every carrier, you might want to consider other options to help customers who are struggling financially.
We’ve seen carriers take a more lenient stance on late payments by forgiving fees or expanding grace periods. You can also forego price increases that were planned to take place in the coming months. Some carriers have even begun to offer personalized packages that customize payments depending on usage.
Whether or not you choose to offer pricing changes, it is important to make sure there is an open line of communication and transparency with your customers. Help them understand what actions you’re taking to help them through these difficult times.
Create a Culture Around Retention
As you shift your focus towards customer retention, it is important to have every employee on board and up to date. Numerous agents and departments communicate with your customers frequently. And the recent transition to working from home can create barriers and silos that result in inconsistent messaging and experiences.
Altering company culture is challenging, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But this moment of change is the best time to start concentrating on customer satisfaction as a company-wide initiative. Consider these tips when implementing your shift in focus:
- Review areas of improvement and encourage new ideas
- Make sure employees, especially those who serve customers, are aware of the company tone, message, and news by using top-down internal communications
- Align incentives with the overall business strategy and goals
- Get customer feedback
- Measure effectiveness routinely
- Adapt as needed
Deliver Experiences that Raise Customer Retention
It’s essential to remember this is not the first crisis insurers have faced. And it won’t be the last. To maintain stability, take this moment of uncertainty to let your customers know how much they matter and what you’re doing to keep their interests a top priority. Combined with these three retention tactics, you can boost customer trust and loyalty for long-term success.
Insurers are currently facing some serious challenges. At GhostDraft, we know how to help. For existing customers who need support communicating through this crisis, don’t hesitate to contact us. If you’re not yet a GhostDraft client but want to get help with customer communications, get in touch with one of our insurance CCM experts.
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