Lean In and Connect

How to provide exceptional customer service in a new digital world

Jul 28, 2020

The best way to meet with clients is in-person. Not only are you able to present health insurance plans from multiple carriers at the same time, you also get a chance to connect with your clients on a more personal level. Eventhough in-person meetings are on pause connecting to your clients is still possible and easier than you think.

1. Simplify the Experience

During the pandemic, clients are seeking out answers about care, premiums, COVID-19 testing and what the future holds. Optimize your website to better serve customers. Create an online COVID-19 toolkit that clients can download or access. You most likely serve individuals as well as employers, so make sure the information you have is personalized to their needs.

Make sure the information on your website is easily accessible, clearly labeled and organized logically. If your clients or prospective clients cannot find the information they need quickly and easily, they will go elsewhere fast.

Last, consider the technology channels you use. Are they the same channels available to your clients? If a client or prospective client lands on your website, can they contact you easily – through text, chat, social media, email, contact form or an old-fashioned phone call?

2. Truly Connect with Your Clients

When you have to call your credit card company, your bank or other service companies, pushing 0 to reach a customer service rep happens fast. No one wants to repeat, “customer service” for the fourth time after an interactive voice response says, “I didn’t understand, please say why you are calling.”

The same is true for your clients and prospects. Find out how most customers contact you. Do they come to your website? Do you get more phone calls? Then, develop your communication plan to maximize elsewhere fast.

If you get a lot of traffic to your website, install a pop-up chat box so customers can chat questions or provide a tool like Calendly for them to schedule a meeting right on your contact us page.

Allow them to schedule face-to-face meetings. Just because you can’t meet in a conference room doesn’t mean you cannot have meaningful dialogue. Video conferencing is a great alternative. You’re able to see your clients – their body language and their face – and you can share your screen to show them pricing options, benefit structures, plan features and external resources from government agencies or associations.

You can use technologies like Zoom or Teams to have virtual face-to-face meetings, or there are many free video conference apps available. Make sure you are familiar with the technology and can use it with ease.

3. Be Available

There are two ways to be available for your clients – physically and emotionally. The first is to physically show up for a video chat, respond to a text, post or chat and answer the phone. The second – being emotionally available – is even more important.

Many are working from home and while it has its benefits, it also has it's challenges. You and your client feel more relaxed because you’re in familiar surroundings, so it can be easier to have a meaningful dialogue. It can also be easier to try and do multiple tasks at once, eat lunch while on a call or get distracted by kids and pets. This is where being available emotionally is important.

When you sit down with a client in your office, you give them your full attention. You ask how they are doing, how their family or their employees are doing. In those little moments, bonds and connections are formed. These same moments can happen in a video conference.

Ask your clients how they are during this time. Ask about their home successes and their challenges. Share your experiences as well. But most importantly, listen.

Franklin Covey said, “The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply.” Your clients might be dealing with lay-offs, unemployment, a house full of chaos or a transition into retirement. They are coming to you for health insurance, but you have so much more to offer. Listen to their story and understand where they are in their life. They may be looking for guidance as business leaders, entrepreneurs or new retirees. Being emotionally available in these times is what excellent customer service looks like. You can offer your clients perspective, industry knowledge and human experience. Many of you are small business owners, entrepreneurs, parents, and you have had experiences that might help your clients through uncertainty, whether in a pandemic or not.

Practice active listening, make sure you have an office space free of distraction for client calls and most of all be available.

Customer service is the most important job you have as a health insurance consultant. Make sure the customer experience is as frictionless as possible. Connect with your clients often and through channels they find most comfortable. Last, be available for them. Answer the call, eliminate distractions and listen.

Connect with your clients - you never know, they may turn into great friends..

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