Growing a specialist customer base

16 September 2020

Building your book of schemes clients can look a little different to how you might prospect for general business.

Delegated authority schemes can help you as a broker take control of the risks you’re writing and empower you to make decisions for your customers. Once you have a strong idea of what it is your customer base needs and ideally a product that supports those needs, the next step is to build your book of customers.

Customers want to be valued, and as a schemes broker you're more than likely looking at a large prospect pool of like-minded people with similar hobbies, interests or business characteristics. Business authenticity is crucial to achieving strong relationships with these customers, including having clear, genuine values and messaging. It’s also vital to be able to demonstrate how your product adds value to them and this puts the emphasis on giving rather than taking. This will lead to a stronger relationship between you and your customer and leads to higher levels of retention.

With this in mind, here are four simple ways to help you grow your specialist customer base.

1. Engage with your customer base

This one might seem simple, but just because an idea is easy in principle it doesn’t mean it's always well executed. Engaging with people is as easy as clicking a button and it's an easy way of being able to communicate with your customers right now. Something as simple as setting up a free e-shot newsletter creates a dialogue with your customers and shows that you want to share information with them from the outset. This means that they aren’t just relying on you once a year when their policy comes up for renewal and are thinking about your business more regularly.

You could complement this nicely by having a strong presence across social media. Many would argue that Facebook isn’t for business, but Facebook users have an average of 338 friends1. The platform enables your customers to be able to interact with the business and for you to maintain a presence even when they might not be speaking with you. The key is to demonstrate how you’re adding more value and then your customers will share and promote your brand for you. This is a great way of growing your customer base easily and is relatively cost efficient.

2. Ask for feedback

I once heard that you're ten times more likely to talk about a bad customer experience than a good one. Furthermore, you’ll tell everyone about the bad customer experience and maybe two or three people about the positive. Does this ring true for you? I know it does for me! I feel more and more that people want to feel listened to, especially by brands and businesses that they use frequently.

Your customers will be more than happy to express themselves and share with you their experiences of being your customer. There are many ways you can gather this feedback, from online survey tools sent via emails, sharing links on social media, to when you are speaking to them on the phone for the first time. You can structure this feedback around anything you want their thoughts on, be that the covers you provide, how your service standards are received or even your engagement with them. The point being that doing this will show them you value their input and this will lead to higher levels of recommendation and retention.

3. Consistency

A customer who's buying their first policy from you is just as important as one who is signing paperwork for their tenth renewal. Your service standards and customer focus should always be at the forefront of your mind, and consistency is a great indicator for how authentically you value your B2C relationship. As I said before, your customers are likely to share a positive experience with two or three friends, and that can lead to increased sales.

And the best part of all is that you can measure the quality and consistency of your service levels via the feedback methods discussed above.

4. Fresh online content

Advances in technology have made everything available all of the time (within reason). Fresh and informative content is one of the main elements that pull in new visitors and potential customers and helps to present your business as an evolving and current insurance broker. Keep your content fresh by publishing a blog that focuses on matters important to your customers and that is relevant to them. You can also share news about what you’re offering and link in to new customers by showing how you’ve helped existing customers.

New content to your website also helps it perform better on search engines so it is always worth keeping your online presence updated, even if you’re not changing anything fundamental.

While these ideas may not be new, following these four tried and tested steps can help you to grow a specialist customer base.

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