Leveraging Your Existing Customer Base
The endorsement of a friend or trusted peer goes a long way toward building your client base, especially in service-based markets like insurance.
When someone needs a new service, it can be difficult to determine who can provide the right service, at the right price and good quality. They may not know exactly what they need, or where to find it.
But if someone recommends a service provider to them, the biggest hurdle to the buying process has been overcome.
In today’s market, customers have the power. This means that it’s up to you as a business owner to constantly change and adapt in order to ensure you are meeting their ever-changing needs. By focusing on your customer and adding value to their business through your insurance offering, you can also improve and develop your own business.
Employ A Customer-Centric Business Model
Employing a customer-centric business model develops deep relationships between the consumer and the business, which means you are more likely to foster loyalty and keep customers coming back. Service is a key part of a customer-centric business strategy.
In addition to creating customer loyalty, providing exceptional customer service helps in improving word-of-mouth and the chance that your customer will recommend you to other prospects. This is one of the most valuable forms of marketing, as consumers trust the opinions of their peers significantly more than any other form of advertising. In order to do this effectively, you should place emphasis on keeping existing customers happy and improving the level of service you provide to them. You can do this by:
- Increasing Interaction with Your Customers: It’s important to not just ask your customers for feedback on the services you provide, but also to act on any response that they have. By doing this, you are showing your customers that your business has a genuine interest in their opinions.
- Showing Your Customers they Are Your Priority: Responding quickly to comments, queries, questions and complaints indicates to your customers that they are valued and assists in improving their perception of your business.
Remember: Marketing tactics are what brings a customer in, however, it is customer service that keeps them coming back, and turns them into loyal advocates of your business.
Celebrate Holidays With Your Clients
Love the holidays? Send out cards and small gifts to clients and use special occasions and milestones to make your presence known. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money celebrating with your customers. A well designed, well thought out personalized greeting or small token can show clients that you care and that they mean something to you and your business.
For example, send out “Happy Anniversary” cards with a special offer to your clients on the date that they started their business.
Like the previous tip focused on customer service, this tip goes further to explain how you can turn your satisfied customers into advocates for your company.
Customer advocates can be significant assets in any marketing strategy. Customer advocacy provides marketers and business owners with a chance to leverage their most loyal customers as brand ambassadors. Engaging in a customer advocacy program helps to build awareness, get new leads, drive sales and increase overall revenue.
Once you have turned your customers into advocates, they can be useful in providing testimonials, generating referrals and becoming case study subjects.
Referrals are a more cost-effective way of acquiring new customers, who usually possess a higher potential for retention and loyalty in the future.
“84% of B2B decision makers start the buying process with a referral.”
How to Turn your Customers into Brand Advocates
- Ask For Feedback: This is a fairly simple, but vital step in gaining insights into customer perceptions and consumers who are company advocates. Obtaining feedback can also help to create advocates as it shows your consumers you genuinely care about their experience with your brand.
- Remember Your Customers: Customers love to have their worth affirmed, and through remembering your customer’s name, details or preferences you can encourage consumers to become ambassadors of your brand.
- Provide them with a Platform: Giving fans a platform to discuss the experiences they have had with your company allows them to communicate and develop a sense of community. Platforms could take the form of either a blog or Facebook page – anywhere that enables customers to engage and develop relationships with other users and more importantly, your brand.
Testimonials and Word-of-Mouth are the driving force behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions [McKinsey Quarterly].
Testimonials are great social cues that tell people that your service is not only legitimate but also good enough that other people are seeing positive results from it.
To get a Testimonial, all you have to do is ask a satisfied customer (or customers) for a short recommendation. You can then use what they’ve said on your website, brochure, social media profiles, ads, and other advertising materials.
For a good recommendation, ask your customer the following questions:
- What did you find as a result of obtaining [Company]’s services?
- What specific feature did you like most about [Company]’s service?
- What are the other benefits of [Company]’s service?
- Would you recommend [Company]? If so, why?
- Is there anything else you’d like to add?
“People are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend” [Nielsen]
Today’s consumers are constantly bombarded with adverts, and pitches from salespeople. While there’s no disputing the success of these marketing methods, customers are more likely to actually pay attention to messages about a business when it comes from a trustworthy friend, colleague or acquaintance who has first-hand experience with the brand.
There are many benefits to getting referrals from existing customers:
- Referrals are free; it is of no cost to your business to ask a customer to refer a friend.
- Prospects who have been referred are easier to close because they are already aware of your business and are more likely to trust what you have to say.
- When you make a sale from a referral, that new client is going to be more inclined to refer you to others in their network as well.
How to Encourage Referrals
“83% of consumers are willing to refer after a positive experience—yet only 29% actually do” [Texas Tech]
In insurance, you regularly work with a variety of small business owners. Most
of these business owners will know several other small business owners in their industry or local area. This is an ideal way to access a range of new potential clients.
When you are finalising your client’s insurance documents, ask them if they can provide you with contact details for 2 small business owners that they know. Ask them if you can use their name when you get in touch with these prospects as part of an introduction, and ask them to vouch for your services if the business owner speaks to them.
Do this with every small business you work with, and you will be introduced to a number of relevant potential clients and you can start reaping the rewards of a growing client base.
It may sound simple but a small “thank you” can have a lasting and meaningful impact on a client that they won’t soon forget. Here are some of the reasons you should incorporate these two little words into your daily routine when dealing with clients:
1. Your Client Will Feel Valued
Nobody enjoys feeling like they are in a one-way relationship, the kind where you are always giving but never receiving. The same is true in the running of your business. Your clients and customers want to feel like there is a two-way relationship with your company.
“68% of companies lose a customer because they feel the company is indifferent about them” – followupsuccess.com
The easiest way to make a customer feel valued is to remember to thank them for their business and loyalty. Such an easy task will result in greater satisfaction and more loyal customers.
2. You Will Reap the Financial Benefits
Thanking customers in order to help them feel valued should be enough motivation in itself, but you’ll be happy to know that thanking your customer also has some financial benefits for your business. It has been proven that a good customer experience leads to increased profitability.
“9/10 shoppers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.” – Harris Interactive
Thanking your customer will promote a good customer experience, and ensure they keep coming back. You can thank your client for their business during your normal dealings with them in person or over the phone, or alternatively, follow up their policy details with a simple ‘Thank You’ email.