Not really. But just like having “the talk,” talking about insurance with your clients can sometimes be awkward and difficult. At its core, insurance is a relationship business. And, let’s face it, relationships can be awkward. Account managers understand that the needs of your professional relationships are as dynamic and ever-changing as our industry. For CSRs, building and keeping relationships depends on how well we service and sell coverages to meet client needs and earn trust.
So, why is this so awkward?
No one likes hard conversations. Especially ones about breaking up with your insurance provider. When cancellation requests come across your desk, you may ask yourself “why didn’t they call?” Maybe, there was no hint. They just up and went with somebody else. Why is it so hard for some clients to let us know they aren’t happy? Are they embarrassed? What other conversations are they hesitant to have?
Before you start doubting yourself, understand that this is sometimes what people do. They talk to their friends, or they search on Google, or sometimes they are just misinformed. If a customer is too embarrassed to ask you about something, they may get some bad advice from a neighbor.
What can you do?
Our guest, Ashley Fitzimmons, CISR, gives us some advice on how to handle these tricky and always sensitive situations.
- Get the tough stuff out of the way.
When you have a new client comes in, they’re usually coming to you because they’re not happy somewhere else. You need to know why, so you can address their concerns and fix any misconceptions that might bite you later
- Unhappy with rates? We can save you money today, but there’s likely going to be an increase next year. Call me, I’m your Agent!
- A claim wasn’t handled to their satisfaction? Find out why. Was it the agent or the coverage?
- Not happy with the old agent? Find out why!
Set up open communication.
Having these hard conversations early on ensures it isn’t awkward later. Be open and let your clients know your intentions and what you can do for them. You aren’t trying to sell them on price. You want to be their trusted advisor and offer them the right coverage while also being conscious of budget needs.
The National Alliance for Insurance Education & Research’s CISR courses will teach you policy language and how to address a client’s concerns about coverage but Ashley talks to us about how to transition and make opening conversations easier. Her advice? Pick up on social cues from things that clients mention. Have them tell you a story and pick pieces you need to tailor their insurance.
- Relate to them.
A great way to connected with clients about insurance is by letting them know you’re a consumer of insurance too. You are also interested in great insurance products at even greater prices. Let them know how you budget your insurance or other ways you reduce risk.
- Reassure them.
Insurance can be hard to explain and even harder to understand. Emphasize to your clients that if they have a question or are not happy about something, that you are there to help. All they need to do is reach out to you. Remind them to not be embarrassed or worried. Nothing they can say is going to hurt your feelings. They are your client, not just a number.
Take Away: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth A Pound of Cure
Awkward conversations, hard coverage talks, and coldly faxed cancellations can be avoided if we start building trust right away. Make insurance talk personal for your clients. Don’t let them feel like they are just another notch on your production belt.
About our Guest: Ashley Fitzsimmons, CISR
Ashley is a millennial in a risky business affectionately referred to as The Beyoncé of Insurance – it’s no secret that she is an insurance diva with a passion for this industry. She’s been in your shoes. After nearly a decade as the fourth generation in an independent agency near Scranton, PA, she’s taken a little detour to join the team at Ohio Insurance Agents in Columbus. Her love for her clients helped secure the 2018 National CSR of the Year award. She was even able to turn her misadventures in online dating into writing policies. In traveling to different events and meeting hundreds of agents, she realized she can make an even bigger impact by helping independent agents thrive all over the country. Connect with her. Use her as a resource. Or just have a martini with her – whatever it is, she’s here to help! Ashley is an advocate and graduate of the CISR program. Her CISR designation gave her a solid insurance foundation that allowed her to cultivate the skills needed to advise clients on their policy concerns.
Connect with her: