The world has changed. It’s time for insurance agents to start viewing customer email addresses as essential contact information.
Having an email address on file makes it easier to communicate with clients, share documents, and process transactions. It can reduce mailing costs, expedite customer service, and perhaps most importantly, open the door for insurance agents to take full advantage of new-age marketing and sales software systems.
Today, many agency owners understand why collecting customer email addresses is important but struggle mightily with how to get it done.
How Your Agency Can Start Improving Now
Management consultant and author Paul J. Meyer once wrote “Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort.”
It’s a simple statement that says a lot.
So, if we commit to a new standard of excellence (say, collecting 90-95% of customer email addresses), intelligently plan reliable strategies to accomplish that goal, and consistently focus our efforts toward making sure we’re implementing those strategies, this is not something that belongs in the “I just don’t have time for that” bucket.
Let’s walk through it.
Start with New Customers
Don’t get stuck chasing your tail. If you don’t collect email addresses from new customers, you’re just creating future work for yourself.
Remember to think of a customer email address as essential information. In most cases, you need to collect basic customer information to get quotes from carriers. Try to incorporate email collection while you’re asking for the rest of this information. Prospects don’t know what you do and don’t need. If they don’t become a customer today, you can market to them in the future. If they object, fine, at least you tried.
If a prospect has completed an online quote form or has reached out to you by email, be sure to save their email address in your management system! This is a common oversight at many agencies. You have the data. Make sure it gets into your management system.
Another strategy to consider is emailing policy documents to customers by default. This is a perfect opportunity to solicit an email address from most new clients.
Keep first things first. When customers call, don’t prioritize contact info. Help them deal with their problem. Provide them peace of mind first, then ask.
Think about how this works when you call larger companies. We’re not talking about installing robots to route calls in the right direction, but we can emulate some of those best practices. We should always focus on helping the customer first but verifying contact info is part of providing great customer service, and customers are getting used to this kind of stuff.
Even if your agency does not proactively reach out to clients throughout the year, renewal is the perfect annual occasion to do so. There’s no harm in asking to verify an email address during the call. In fact, you should make it scripted step in the process.
You and your team should also mine your mailboxes for previous email interactions with clients to make sure email addresses are properly entered in your agency management system. That should be a no-brainer. You can even find email addresses for some commercial clients by visiting the company website — another easy win.
Fire Up the Competitive Spirit
We understand getting your people to move on new initiatives isn’t always easy. We suggest focusing on setting new expectations and providing incentives for reaching established goals.
- Cash bonuses (bigger bonuses or non-payment of existing bonuses)
- Extra vacation days, ½ days or casual days
- Game / concert tickets
Team Incentives (Usually Preferable)
- Casual days
- Pizza parties
- Catered lunches
- Team outings to games, concerts or other events
- Consider customer email addresses as essential contact info
- Set expectations with your staff and structure incentives to accomplish your goals
- Fix your process with new customers, or you’ll always be chasing your tail
- Fix your renewal workflow and capitalize on other opportunities to collect and verify contact info throughout the year
- Recognize that current and future marketing and sales software systems are typically dependent on email address to achieve desired results