Proactive and personalized service are an important part of what consumers say they want from their independent insurance agent or broker. And while most independent agents say it’s important to provide this level of service, it also seems many may not realize how closely it’s related to customer satisfaction, according to the results of two recent surveys by the Progressive group of insurance companies.
Progressive recently conducted parallel surveys: One of more than 1,100 independent agents and brokers, and another of over 1,800 drivers who bought a policy through an independent insurance agency. Both groups were asked about three types of proactive customer service provided by agents: advising of pending policy cancellations, providing policy and coverage reviews at renewal, and providing assistance with policy forms and paperwork.
According to the surveys, close to 90 percent of consumers who said their agent provides at least one of these services are extremely or somewhat satisfied with the agency. Satisfaction levels are much lower – less than 50 percent – for consumers who say they don’t get this level of service. And while agents surveyed recognized the value of providing these services, the degree to which they are offered to consumers appears to vary.
— Notification of pending policy cancellations – 94 percent of customers and 90 percent of agents believe this is a valuable service. However, only 52 percent of customers said their agent provides this service.
— Policy and coverage reviews at renewal – 96 percent of customers and almost 100 percent of agents believe this is valuable. However, only 69 percent of customers said their agent provides this service.
— Assistance with paperwork – 96 percent of customers and almost 100 percent of agents believe this is valuable. Seventy-four percent of customers said their agent provides this service.
With so much time spent on routine service tasks and on growing their business, it’s natural that some agents may struggle to find the time to provide a more proactive level of service. However, innovations in technology have made it easier for agencies to provide all types of service – quickly and accurately.
Progressive listed a few tips for agents looking for ways to use technology to improve their overall customer service offering.
— Access real-time policy information using links now offered by many agency management systems.
— Take full advantage of functionality offered exclusively by company Web sites.
— Encourage customers to go online to perform routine service tasks like address changes or simple billing inquiries when available.
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