It has always been important for brokers to keep an open line of communication with their clients. But with the current state of the country forcing people into physical isolation, communication has become crucial. Therefore, brokers should put in the time and effort necessary to improve their communication with clients.
The benefits of improved communication will far outlast the coronavirus outbreak -- this skill is useful regardless of the situation. Having better communication with your clients will lead to higher levels of satisfaction, better client retention rates, new client opportunities, and the satisfaction of knowing that you are providing the best possible services.
We’ve rounded up some tips for improving communication with your clients:
- Be transparent
Your clients are smart; they can detect any attempt to sugar coat information, and it’s usually not well received. They will, on the other hand, greatly respect a broker who can tell it like it is, regardless of the situation. Whether you’re updating them in the wake of a global crisis, admitting a mistake, or delivering less than stellar news, be as transparent as possible.
What you’ll gain: trust. A client who trusts you will be more receptive to your benefits guidance.
- Be human (show empathy and understanding of pain points, but also understanding of life in general. Be realistic.)
Yes, you and your clients are professionals -- but you’re people first. In a world that seems a little devoid of true human connection, this is a great opportunity to set yourself apart from other brokers.
You can be more human to your clients by reaching out to address their pain points before they even have the chance to come to you with their challenges. Show empathy towards their pain points and struggles and be realistic when setting expectations and offering packages. Take a step back and think as a human before you communicate. Sometimes, reaching out to just say hi and “check in” is enough to build positive rapport with clients.
What you’ll gain: connection. Your clients will be more open to speaking with you and referring you to peers if you make them feel respected and valued.
- Show flexibility
Your role is to provide the best possible experience for your clients, but that experience doesn’t look the same for everyone. Be flexible in your communication with your clients, putting their needs and wants first. For example, you might prefer morning meetings, but if afternoons work better for a client, schedule your touch-base for the afternoon. If you typically utilize phone calls but your client asks for a video conference, accept the video conference. If your client’s wishes are not realistic or available to you, at least offer to meet them halfway.
What you’ll gain: respect. Clients will take notice of the effort.
- Utilize social media
Along with being flexible in how you communicate, be open to new things in terms of where you communicate. If you aren’t already utilizing social media professionally, now’s the time to become active on platforms like LinkedIn. You can connect with your clients (since it’s a professional platform) and use your posts as another touchpoint with clients that allows you to reach them all at once. Utilize social media for sharing tips and trends, for getting feedback, and for seeing what is going on in your clients’ organizations.
What you’ll gain: farther reach. Your message could reach people it otherwise wouldn’t due to the power of social sharing.
- Be proactive
With everyone’s hectic schedules, it can be dangerously easy for reaching out to clients to fall off your priority list. Before you know it, you can find yourself only reaching out for renewals. But only reaching out when something’s needed is no way to maintain a relationship. Make it a point to reach out regularly to check in on client coverage, share resources, gather feedback, or just remind your clients that you are there for them. Utilize your calendar or project management tool to remind you to reach out on at least a monthly basis -- and resist the urge to ignore the notifications!
- Use multiple forms of communication
Don’t take a one size fits all approach to communication. Each of your clients will respond differently to different channels and mediums. Experiment with different forms of communication until you find the right mix that resonates with your clientele. Right now, video chat is the hottest communication trend; for example, Webex has 130 million monthly users and 58% of Fortune 500 companies hold their meetings via Zoom. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have clients who enjoy a classic personalized email newsletter or phone call too.
In a time where there is so much uncertainty surrounding business and health, insurance brokers are becoming consultants and trusted advisors in a higher capacity than ever before. Taking a proactive approach to communication facilitates that relationship and provides a sense of certainty for clients.
Be sure to not make the mistake of letting communication fall to the wayside once the state of the country returns to normal. Take heed of these communication tips always, and reap the benefits of improved client relationships.