Posted by: jmwilsonmga | April 24, 2012

Welcome to…Small Town, USA

The GPS in my car is a God-send.  What would I do without it?  Whoever initially set it up, programmed it to a nice, female voice telling me to “make a u-turn” each time I seem to get off track.  Luckily though, I often times have the luxury of finding “about” where I’m supposed to be, and if I have a few minutes before my scheduled appointment, I usually go for a drive (and try to ignore that soothing voice saying “Take the next right”).  That’s where I find myself now.

In a beautiful, quaint, small-town “downtown” where the streets are lined with parallel parked cars, moms pushing strollers and contractors dipping in and out of the diner I’m writing this from.

Two successful appointments done and time for lunch. There is something to be said for a small-town agency and it’s customers.  The loyalty, trust, friendliness, convenience, and strong relationships are what keep these agencies growing.  They might not be the biggest agency with the most clients or most premium volume, but they can tell you all of the important life stories in that little town – that cousin Becky’s aunt came in who is now a new grandmother and her sister’s neice married her high school sweetheart…. the story goes on.  Whether making a policy change or in to make her monthly payment, she’s greeted by name and often times with a hug.

What type of value does this bring to the agency?  Would this client leave for $10 premium change?  Probably not.  Not all of us are as fortunate to have this small-town feel but here are a few ways that you can create that same value, regardless of your agency’s size:

1.  Get to know your customers.  Greet them by name.  Try and gain a personal piece of information from them (a common interest, a child’s name, etc) that you can refer to next time you talk or see them.

2.  Reach out.  It’s so simple, yet overlooked.  Call them – just to say hello, check in, see how things are going.  Put a reminder in your system to reach out to them at a time other than the renewal.

3.  Be a resource.  If you see an article, newspaper clipping, documentary or something on TV that might interest them or their business, let them know.  Send the clipping by mail with a quick note letting them know you thought of them when you saw it.

4.  Support!  If this is a commercial client – use their service, buy from their store, eat at their restaurant.  Show them the same loyalty that you hope they will show you.

You are not limited to creating value – in fact, in this industry, you need to.  Get creative, think outside of the box and then implement your ideas.  If it’s at the receptionist level, the CSR level, with the agent or even the principle – it’s an action that will help you create the loyalty and trust you want in return.

About the Author : Erin Herson, Underwriting & Agency Relations Manager

Erin Herson joined J.M. Wilson in 2009.  She is responsible for underwriting, teaching Continual Education courses, as well as establishing and developing new agency relationships.  She loves the people that she works with and finding creative solutions to their needs.  Outside of the office, Erin enjoys working out, spending time with her children, golfing, cooking, and of course, shopping.
Disclaimer :  This article is for informational purposes only.  There is no legal advice being suggested or proffered.  The author assumes no responsibility or liability for the actions taken or not taken by the readers based upon such information.  This article is the opinion of the author and is not supported or endorsed by J.M. Wilson.  It should not be relied upon and may contain inaccuracies or content may have changed over time, contact your underwriter for the most current and accurate information.  Any comments or responses are the opinions of their authors.  Content on this site is believed to be covered under Fair Use. Legal

Copyright 2012 J.M. Wilson Corporation

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