By Jaclyn Moriarty, Managing Editor, Connections
A customer buys a policy, and that’s, sometimes, where the relationship ends between agency/brokerage and customer. Agencies/brokerages have the opportunity to build a relationship with their clients to provide a seamless, valuable experience.
In an exclusive interview with Connections — the official content source of Applied Client Network — Helen Edwards, CPCU, AINS, manager, client services at The Glatfelter Agency, and Dawn Augustine, AIT, CISR Elite, technology manager at Teague Insurance Agency, share their insights on how to leverage your industry knowledge and expertise to enhance the client experience.
Why should agencies/brokerages create content that will bring clients back to their website?
Augustine: Most people only hear from their agent when the premium is due. To build the relationship, you must provide value and communicate with your client throughout the year, not just at renewal.
Edwards: It is important to maintain lines of communications with your client. Changes in their exposures should be reported immediately and open communication will ensure they keep you in mind.
How can agencies/brokerages leverage knowledge and resources they already have to become more valuable to their customers?
Augustine: Starting and maintaining a blog is a great way to keep clients informed. If you have an agent with a particular area of expertise, tap them to create a post. Cybersecurity is a hot topic — if you have an internal IT department, ask them for advice to pass on to clients.
Edwards: The insurance industry is typically at the forefront of risk issues that arise, and we have access to information on the latest trends in risk avoidance, risk reduction and more. We are an excellent resource for articles and information.
How can agencies/brokerages become a thought leader or industry source by creating knowledge, resources and relevant content?
Augustine: Blogging and social media are good tools to use. Electronic newsletters are another way to reach clients and become a trusted advisor. Become active in a network, peer group or industry association.
Edwards: Actively participate in industry and business networking groups where you have the ability to disseminate information. You can also contribute to discussions on pertinent matters via participation in networking groups within both the insurance industry and the business community at large.
What are your thoughts on quality over quantity when it comes to content?
Augustine: Quality trumps quantity every time. It’s much better to have a focused approach and tailor it to your target audience.
Edwards: We are all bombarded with email and information that comes too frequently with low open rates. Measured communication regarding timely subjects or ongoing communication that does an appropriate pulse check is far more valuable. You should focus on the quality of your communications.
What’s a good way to get your voice heard?
Augustine: Participating in the Applied Client Network forums and contributing content to Connections are ways to demonstrate your expertise.
Edwards: The insurance community is tight knit with a host of shared experiences and knowledge. Sharing that knowledge helps you really feel that you are part of that community. Contributing to agency/brokerage publications is a great way to share your ideas with your colleagues. Following those publications helps you grow within the insurance industry, as well as personally.
How can agencies/brokerage collaborate with other industry professionals to leverage and share knowledge?
Augustine: Participating in the forums, attending Applied Net and participating in your local Applied Client Network chapter are all great ways to network and share knowledge.
Edwards: The tide raises all ships. Increasing the strength of products and coverage available via a collective advocacy for items that improve deliverables from our industry is an important goal of collaborative efforts. The result of proper collaboration will ultimately improve the experience of the insurance consumer.
About Dawn Augustine
|Dawn Augustine, AIT, CISR, a third-generation insurance agent, is the technology manager at Teague Insurance Agency, Inc., La Mesa, California. She currently serves as chair of the communications and marketing committee of Applied Client Network.|
About Helen Edwards
|Helen Edwards, AINS, CPCU, is manager, client services at The Glatfelter Agency. She began her career at TGA in 2008 as accounting department manager. Helen is responsible for the overall quality of the agency’s client service standards and agency operations. She serves on the board of directors for Leadership York, York County Child Advocacy Center, PA Dutch CPCU Society, and Applied Client Network.|