“Elevating the customer experience is not a priority at this time,” said the independent insurance agent. What?!
All I could do was cringe after hearing those words come from an agent in an industry that prides itself on providing superior customer service. I wish I could say that this was an isolated incident, but as I talked to more agents, I found that this sentiment is more popular than we’d like to think.
“I told my client to recheck his roof, and if he thought it was worth it, we’d file the claim for him,” another independent agent recalled. We were talking about a recent conversation he had with one of his insureds about a possible weather claim. If “he” thought it was worth it, I thought to myself. Wasn’t the agent supposed to be more helpful than that? I was soon able to answer that question with “apparently not” as more independent agents I talked to revealed that they simply weren’t interested in providing a better customer experience.
However, as my sample size grew, I began to realize that the independent agent industry lived on a spectrum. A spectrum ranging from agents who viewed their clients as only a premium dollar amount, to those who genuinely strived to exceed their insured’s expectations. One agent I spoke to fell in the middle of that spectrum. He recounted how when one of his insureds called him about a weather claim, he’d “search around the internet” (his words, not mine) to try and verify that a weather event had actually occurred and to try to pin down an accurate date of loss. This agent’s effort was noble, but by “searching around the internet” he wasn’t able to give his insured anything of real value and in further talking to him, he said he refused to try anything else.
Contrast the one end and middle of the insurance agent spectrum with the agents who actively seek out new ways to help their customers. I finally found a silver lining as I spoke to more agents, and was ecstatic to find individuals who didn’t live by the “it’s always been done that way, so we’re not going to change it” mantra, but who understood their shortcomings and were amenable to learning solutions that would make their process better. Solutions that could yield higher customer satisfaction and ultimately more business.
These agents, on the opposite end of the spectrum than the agent who said that claims were the insureds and carriers problems, realize that in an evolving technological climate injected with new generations of insurance buyers, that “doing it the way it’s always been done,” is not good enough. These agents know that if they’re not willing to embrace newer and better ways of serving their customers another agent will, and then that agent will take their customers.
While embracing new technologies can seem daunting from both a time and money perspective, it doesn’t have to be. Advancements in serverless technology over the last five years have made using new services that will swell your revenue that are both affordable and easy to use. WeatherCheck is one such technology; it allows you, as the agent, to be a knowledgeable authority for your insureds when they are often at their most vulnerable: having just suffered a loss caused by weather. WeatherCheck empowers you to give clear, meaningful information to your insureds so that they can make the best decision in a crucial time. It also enables you as an agent to maintain and grow your livelihood.
If you’re an agent who finds yourself towards the end of the spectrum that authentically tries to serve its customers, let’s talk. If you’re an agent who finds yourself on the opposite side that views their insured’s problems as someone else’s, all I can say to you is: Good luck. It’s going to be a long next few years.