The HOWs and WHYs of Client Retention

We all know client retention is vital to maintaining and growing a business. Amid the uncertainty of 2020, customer retention may be more important this year than ever before. Currently (October 15 through December 7), we’re in the busiest selling season for Medicare insurance products. Let’s take a quick look at how independent agents can better serve themselves by also considering this time of year the peak retention season.

Retention is so important to Medicare insurance agents due to the year-over-year income generated by renewals and the valuable leads generated by referrals. In fact, some agents are so successful at selling Medicare that their only source of new leads comes from referrals, which speaks volumes to these agents’ retention efforts. Perhaps the first step at becoming this good at retaining clients (besides growing your book of business) is to understand how to calculate retention rates. Doing so gives you an immediate snapshot of how well your retention methods are working on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. Here’s how to calculate your client retention rate:

1. Determine how many clients are giving you repeat business.

2. Divide that number by the total number of clients your business had over the same time period.

3. Multiply the result by 100.

Example: You began with 50 clients this time last year. You have 45 clients today. 45 divided by 50 equals .9, which multiplied by 100 equals 90. Your retention rate is 90%.

You can use this figure to check retention rates moving forward. If your retention rate goes up, congratulations! Take note of the things you’re doing to keep your customer base and improve on those efforts! If your retention rate goes down, look for the possible reasons and take corrective action.

The top reasons agents lose clients include:

• Clients are moving outside the area covered by their current plan.

• Plan changes made by the carrier.

• Poor customer service or the perception that the agent doesn’t care.

The top ways agents can increase client retention include:

• Make sure customers know you’re available to help them in the way that makes them most comfortable, be that by phone or an online virtual meeting; don’t lose business to agents currently marketing this ability.

• Send an annual postcard and/or email asking if the client is moving and, if so, ask them to inform you so you can continue servicing their needs.

• Stay in front of both prospects and current clients using social media. Statistically speaking, approximately 50% of the senior market is on Facebook, the platform that lends itself well to storytelling and brand building.

• Use email automation to send holiday greetings, birthday wishes, important Medicare updates, seasonal wellness tips, etc. to your customer base. Taking the time upfront to set this up is well worth staying present with your clients throughout the year.

• Create insightful content that provides clients with consistent, ongoing value. Many people associate “creating content” with writing a blog, and we certainly recommend doing so if you have the time. Keep in mind that valuable content can also include brief informational videos posted to YouTube, a free “Medicare 101” guide clients can share with friends & family, a well-designed website, thoughtful quarterly newsletters and much more.

• Host virtual customer appreciation events where you play online games and answer clients’ Medicare-related questions.

• Add a personal touch by reaching out to customers with a one-on-one phone call and practice active listening. You’d be surprised how far a “just calling to check in” phone call goes toward keeping clients. While on the line, ask for feedback and try to identify any areas of the customer journey that need improvement.

• If you haven’t done so already this Annual Enrollment Period, segment current clients into three groups according to their likelihood to switch to a new Medicare plan: Keepers, Shoppers and Movers. Doing so helps prioritize how and when to contact members of each group so you can maximize retention efforts during the busy selling season.

While selling Medicare insurance during AEP is more about the short game of making as many sales possible in a limited period of time, giving sufficient attention to client retention is playing the long game. And your future self will thank you for playing the long game when, in a few short years, the income you’re generating from renewals more than makes up for a particularly challenging sales year. If you’re an independent agent who’s here to stay, client retention is the game to play!

As a National Marketing Organization that works with thousands of independent agents, we understand you must generate leads and retain clients in order to grow your business. That’s why we work diligently to provide the resources necessary for successful marketing. If this information is valuable and you want to know more about the services we provide our agent partners, please contact us at marketing@berwickinsurance.com or 888-745-2320.

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