Client loyalty “extremely misunderstood”

Brokers must go beyond simply keeping in touch

Client loyalty “extremely misunderstood”

Insurance News

By Nicola Middlemiss

Brokers who believe they will retain their clients simply by keeping in touch could be in for an unpleasant surprise when it comes to renewal time, warns one customer experience specialist.

“Customer loyalty is an extremely misunderstood principle,” says Darrell Hardidge, who has spent 20 years helping firms of all sizes overhaul customer service.

“With the massive changes to digital customer engagement, many businesses believe that customer loyalty is just about keeping in touch,” he argues.

However, Hardidge encourages brokers to ask themselves one question – just how many ‘keeping in touch’ emails and texts does the average person delete without a second thought?

Instead of sending stock-standard communication to the masses, Hardidge says brokers should be aiming for something more substantial – a genuine human connection.

“The importance of genuine human connection is becoming more powerful than ever and many are cutting costs to avoid it,” he warns.

In order to form a genuine human connection, Hardidge says brokers should be focusing on client appreciation, rather than satisfaction, as it’s a far greater emotion.

“Appreciation is a heart-felt emotion but satisfaction is just getting what I expect,” he explains. “If you want to earn trust and loyalty then you need the strongest heart connection possible with your customer base.”

Appreciation, he says, comes from going beyond what’s expected.

“We define this as ‘different isn’t always better but better is always different’,” he tells Insurance Business. “Be better at the appreciation level and you will dominate the market.”

Part of that comes down to turning customers into ambassadors for your brokerage, Hardidge explains.

“Everyone wants ambassadors but you can’t buy them, you have to earn the right,” he says. “Trust is a significant factor with insurance. If trust with customer appreciation is defined as ‘making small agreements and keeping them,’ you don’t get my trust in one go but you will earn it if you keep your agreements and demonstrate you have my interests before your wallet.

“Customer appreciation is a defined process of customer engagement and, when mastered, is the most powerful leverage available.”

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