fail signWe have been writing about the importance of changing how we view the agent/client relationship, including the importance of developing relationships and delivering service, rather than selling products.  Clients have raised their level of expectations in the customer service relationship, and agents must raise their level of customer service to meet, and exceed, those expectations.  We have seen what works and what does not work in building relationships.  Here is our list of the seven deadly sins that will kill customer relationships.

Seven Deadly Sins of Customer Service

  1. Selling a product rather than providing a service. It is far more valuable to help clients find solutions to insurance and risk issues, rather than just offer an insurance product. Many times, insurance does not solve the entire issue.
  2. Meeting only at renewal time. Agents often use this term, “Let’s connect at the next renewal.” Agents and clients should be connecting more than once per year.  Business risk changes quickly, and it is important to connect to discuss strategy throughout the year.
  3. Not educating clients. Clients should expect their agent to help them identify, evaluate, and understand their business risks. Education starts with the agent listening to the customer. Even though the agent may be hearing the customer’s words, they may be failing to comprehend the customer’s feelings and needs.
  4. Not being accessible to the client. The first job of any agent is to be available when the customer needs you. Supporting them is your job. Make sure you give them the right direction and help solve their problems on their schedule, not yours.
  5. An unwillingness to change and evolve. Times are changing, and people’s expectations are changing too. The internet has made information gathering easier and faster to obtain.  If you do not understand your customers’ new expectations, you are losing business to competitors.
  6. Not showing appreciation. It is imperative that agents show appreciation for the business relationships.  The relationship is always more important than the product. It is ok to say thank you for the business relationship, or the write a hand written note.
  7. Passing the buck. This often involves passing a customer issue off to someone else. Customers should never hear, “It is not my job.” If you do not have an answer, tell the client you will find out and get back to them.