The Connected Business of Insurance
October 08, 2015
Your ability to establish deep, engaging relationships with your clients and prospects is an essential element in your quest to create a memorable customer experience journey. So, it’s not something you should take lightly. That said, building “magical” relationships isn’t something you have to be a natural at. It’s a learnable skill, something that can be developed over time and nurtured until it becomes second nature.
Keys to Building a Memorable Customer Experience Journey
Research has shown that more than 50% of customer experience is predicated on how you make the customer feel – their subconscious. Impacting your customers’ feelings and creating positive emotions are the keys to building a memorable customer experience journey. This “journey” is the sum of all experiences the customer has with you and your firm – the actions and results that make them feel important, understood, heard and respected.
How to Know What Drives Your Customers
Don’t worry; you don’t have to read your customers’ minds. The best way to find out what’s going to positively impact your clients and prospects (and therefore the best customer experience) is to get to know what drives them. Ed Wallace, the author of Business Relationships That Last introduces us to a concept called, “Relational GPS.”
GPS stands for:
- Goals: Short- and long-term professional objectives.
- Passions: Personal and professional causes that your clients and prospects care so deeply about.
- Struggles: Obstacles holding them back from their goals and passions.
People will not share their goals, passion and struggles with you until they feel confident and comfortable in the relationship. They must trust you. Your credibility, integrity and authenticity open up the GPS of your client or prospect. Once your customer allows you to navigate his or her GPS, you have the road map to a long term relationship and a distinguished customer experience.
Become Unique and Indispensable
It is especially important to note that addressing some of your customers’ struggles – whether through recommending products, strategies, services, or simply listening – will deepen the relationship and give you crucial insights to keep their needs at the forefront. An intense focus on your customer with the mission of alleviating pain points is the best way to demonstrate your unique value proposition. Without a compelling value proposition, you are ordinary and disposable – a commodity. With a distinguished value proposition you are unique and indispensable.
The outcome of an exceptional customer experience is that you will have differentiated yourself from the others in the industry. Don’t you want your customers to feel as though you and your firm are the only ones that can truly give them what they want?
Essential Steps to Differentiation
- Listen to the customer. What do your clients and prospects enjoy more than anything in the world – talking about themselves, their goals, passions, hobbies, family business, etc.? Your listening skills will create a positive first impression and get the relationship off to a great start. This is a critical first step of your customer experience journey. By the way, this simple technique has been neglected by generations of well-intended professionals.
- Exploit the differences between your offerings and that of your competition. This step is pretty straightforward. You must articulate how your process differs from the others in the market. And, highlight the tangible results your customer or prospect will receive, the unique benefits that you bring to bear that others cannot. If you cannot achieve this step, you are simply another face in the crowd.
- Demonstrate the value of your offerings. Because you understand the pain points of your client or prospect, you are positioned to prove that you have solutions to mitigate them. By tailoring your offerings, you will elicit emotions from your customers that affect their decision making process. The emotions include fear, greed, pride, envy, anger, pain and guilt to name a few. In the business of insurance, compliance, employee benefits and risk management, fear is a real motivator. Fear of losing something. Fear of lawsuits. Fear of injury. Fear of risk. It is also helpful to give specific examples of how your products, strategies or services will combat the fears of your clients or prospects.
- Include creativity and passion when you’re building your customer solutions. Think outside the box. This should go without saying, but sometimes we get set on using original formulas as opposed to what your customers really need. Focus intently on how you can customize the services you offer to fit their goals. Cecil Beaton, the English Academy Award-winning photographer said it best: “Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose, emotion and imaginative vision against play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”
- Demonstrate your personal commitment to ensure that your customers achieve the proposed outcomes. That’s what it’s all about – your customers put their trust in you for a reason, so make sure to show them that you’re fully committed to helping them achieve their goals. While your clients or prospects surely value each member of your team, it is your personal commitment that matters the most. Personal commitment is an essential component of the customer experience journey.
- Shoot for your customers’ hearts. To truly engage with your customers, you must go right for their hearts as it is here where their deepest emotions are stored. Earning the trust and loyalty of those you serve is well worth the effort because at the end of the day they will continue to come back to you time and time again well as refer you. It is also why they prefer what you offer over the competition.
Scott Addis, CPCU, CRA, is CEO of The Addis Group and President/CEO of Beyond Insurance. Beyond Insurance is a coaching and consulting firm whose purpose is to transform the process that insurance agents, brokers, and carriers use when working with their clients. To learn more, contact Scott by phone at (610) 945-1019 or email.