Are Value Added Services Enough?
When it comes to insurance, why would a potential customer decide to do business with your agency rather than the one across town or right next door? Sometimes decisions are made on the basis of proximity to your office. Other times the deciding factor is convenience, price, or the recommendation of a friend; but these aren’t the only factors that can set your business apart from the competition. Value added services can be the tipping point for insurance seekers to commit to a policy from your agency over another.
What are value added services for insurance agents?
Have you tried adding Value Added Services (VAS) yet? These add-ons to your core services can include anything that insurance customers might want or need. When developing a program, put a risk manager’s hat on and think of what services a client might use that would be complementary to the policies you offer. Some good VAS options are those that offer the customers discounts and resources.
Homeowners / Renters Insurance
For example, if you want to offer VAS that are complementary to your homeowners and renters insurance service lines, perhaps you’d want to approach your local pest control company and ask the manger if he or she would be willing to offer your customers a discount on service. Other good businesses to approach regarding a discount or coupon deal would be movers or cleaning companies. Once you line up partners, you can print up flyers with a coupon code and include them in the welcome packages you hand out to prospects and new customers. In doing this type of VAS, you may potentially connect with a larger pool of clients if you can work out a marketing cooperative about your agency to your partner services' customer base.
Additional Auto Insurance Value
If you want to offer a VAS to your auto insurance customers, some options that would surely be appreciated include complementary car detailing services, car washes, free oil changes offered through the local auto repair shop and gas cards. To make these value added services easier to manage, be sure to try to connect with all walks of life by offering something that most clients might enjoy. Offering window tinting discounts to everyone might not hit the mark but offering gas cards or a choice of services will open the playing field.
More Value for Health and Life Insurance Clients
Health and life insurance customers, meantime, may appreciate grocery or fresh/healthy restaurant coupons, or offers for produce delivery. Tread lightly around this service however as your intention is to assist not criticize your clients. Sending health restaurant coupons to someone with weight, lactose, or gluten issues might not received well. Instead, offering them a healthy tips newsletter or magazine subscription to a healthy cooking or healthy lifestyle magazine might be a more appropriate option.
Additional options for your clients
All VAS share the same characteristics. They are not a basic service that your firm provides, but rather they add value to the total service offerings of your agency. There are also some important benefits to the agency. First, by offering these additional services and products, your agency becomes more competitive. Second, the client will become more of an advocate of the agency and will be less likely to move to another agent/broker because if in fact, all things are equal, you've got VAS in your marketing arsenal.
Apprehension to beginning a VAS program
If you're feeling overwhelmed by the idea of approaching other firms to partner with, know that adding VAS doesn’t have to involve partnerships with other firms. It can be so simple as making a practice as an agency to go that extra mile for your clients with several tools that are probably already at your disposal.
To the average consumer, getting something for free offers magical connotations. If they know a certain company offers free extras that they deems as useful enough to tip the scales, they will often decide to do business with that company.
Free services you may want to consider offering include sending out a checklist for disaster preparation, especially just before a pending event such as a hurricane; sharing significant news stories involving insurance with clients right away after receiving them from your sources; and offering to videotape or photograph a client’s possessions for claims purposes on a bi-annual basis and storing the videos.
But before making the decision to incorporate one or more VAS into your practice, it’s advisable to make sure the insurance side is in order. There needs to be value with the existing insurance products and services. Make sure your clients have the proper coverage, limits and endorsements. If your agency doesn’t offer all of the policies your clients may need - homeowners, automotive, life insurance, liability, etc. - partner with a firm that offers what your company is lacking. This is a way to make sure competitors that sell multi-lines will not have strong leverage against monoline agencies.