They say a blog post should be at least 1500 words. Good news I’m going to save you some reading this time around. This particular insurance marketing concept won’t take that many words and to be honest this isn’t just an insurance marketing concept.
When’s the last time you went to a pay phone, a friends home phone or borrowed a cell phone and called your own agency or brokerage to hear exactly how clients and prospects are being welcomed to your business? Before you read any more, please do so!!
Part of what I do on a daily basis is reach out to insurance agencies and brokerages and it never ceases to amaze me how poorly some businesses say hello to the world. ‘Good Morning INSURANCE’ in a harsh voice or ‘Insurance Office’ that sounds like they would sooner be having a colonoscopy than answering the phone to talk to you, or my personal favorite ‘Hello’ and at that point I’m not sure if I called your insurance office or my next door neighbor. The only thing worse than those types of greetings are the automated ones. Please raise your hand if you enjoy hearing ‘Thank for contacting us press 1 for this, press 2 for that, press 3 for something else’. Most people despise this, actually many insurance agency or brokerage owners that I have talked to hate it as well. Yet when you call their shop guess what you get, the automated attendant. You want to separate yourself from the .com or 1-800 insurance businesses, then stop acting like them! In this day and age with VOIP and other phone services there is no need for anyone not to get a live person on the phone when they call your office.
I think you get my point and stance on automated attendants so lets move back to the handling of live calls as they come into your office.
In this industry we love to talk about providing outstanding, above average customer service and people in the business will spend thousands of dollars on training, technology, seminars and most anything that they think will give them a leg up on the competition. There are great tools, trainers and events in this industry that can add huge value to both you personally, to your business and the people that work within your business. But all that is worthless if the first impression someone gets of your agency or brokerage is nothing short of slap in their face for interrupting whatever the CSR, receptionist or office administrator was doing that was so important.
As mentioned I call a lot of insurance agencies and brokerages in the run of a day, so I did a quick survey. For 2 days I kept track of all the insurance offices I called and how I was greeted and put them into 4 categories:
- A – They did great, I knew who I was speaking with, I knew I had reached the right place and they offered assistance or at least pointed me in the right direction. They did all this in a pleasant and welcoming way.
- C – They welcomed me, introduced the business and perhaps themselves but weren’t overly excited to do so or did in a harsh abrupt way.
- D – I had no idea who I was talking to or if I reached the correct business. They could be harsh and unwelcoming at the same time or simply not interested in talking to me.
- F – Auto Attendant.
Admittedly this is not an exact science and it certainly leaves a lot to my own personal opinion or beliefs, but I think you get the point. Here are my results after calling 53 agencies or brokerages in 2 days:
Category # of Agencies Percent
A 7 13%
C 15 28%
D 20 38%
F 11 21 %
If this set of numbers doesn’t make you pick up the phone and call your own office I don’t know what will. 59% of insurance offices I called, I was greeted with an auto attendant or was greeted poorly. Come on people we can do better than this, it’s not rocket science, put a smile on your face when you answer the phone, the people on the other end of the phone are the ones paying your salary!
Here is the exact script that I used for 10 + years in the industry; ‘Thank you for choosing ‘ABC Insurance’, this is Joel how can I help you today’ and always did it with a smile on my face and passion in my voice. I’m not saying this is the absolute best and only way to answer the phone but it worked. I liked to thank them for choosing us, clients and prospects have a lot of options in the world today and they did in fact choose us for what ever reason, thank them for that. They knew who they were talking to because I introduced myself and of course ‘how could I help you today’ because they obviously need help – that’s why they’re calling, if they could do it themselves they would have.
It’s amazing how doing the little things great will blow your clients and prospects out of the water now a days. Something that was common place 20 years ago is a lost art today. Don’t assume your staff is doing it right, don’t assume they’re doing it wrong either. Find out, make a call, see how you’re greeted at your agency. If you don’t have the time or not sure where to start with your staff, I would highly recommend enrolling them in an online training course, that can help them say the right things at the right times to the right people. Check out Agency Revolution, the CSR Mastery Program is awesome and low cost as well. I know agencies and brokerages that us this tool for every new hire to their team, regardless of position.
Here is a little more info about CSR Master Program:
Joel Zwicker is a Business Development Manager for Agency Revolution. He has worked at Agency Revolution for 2 years and was a client for 9 years as the ‘Marketing Guy’ at A.A. Munro Insurance. Joel connects our clients to Agency Revolution tools and resources that help their agency or brokerage create deep relationships with their customers and marketplace.