These past couple of weeks have been stressful for businesses all around. With frequent new challenges such as social-distancing, communication breaks, and continuously shifting sands in your market, COVID has taken a particularly hard toll on the insurance industry. 

Now more than ever, opening communication channels and increasing convenience is vital to working through these challenging times. And the good news is that we’ve seen some companies taking effective measures and seeing extraordinary success. How? Here are a few tips we’ve gathered from insurance companies across the country who are successfully adapting to the new business-as-usual:

1. Let your policyholders know you’re there for them.

If times get tough for any of your policyholders, they may be inclined to shop rates. Text all of your policy holders to let them know not only that you are still open and available to service their needs, but to let them know AHEAD of time that you’re their advocate, advisor, and consultant when it comes to risk advisement. If there’s a better coverage for their personal or business insurance, you’re there to help. Try something as simple as, 

“Don't be afraid to reach out to us! 
We may be able to find you different coverage with better rates, if needed.” 

You can also show additional support by adding a short message of hope and encouragement.

2. Offer extra support.

This is the time to really go the extra mile to offer relief to your policy holders and outstanding support. Consider sending your policyholders a list of ways their policy can help them during this time and additional ways you are willing to assist. Providing this kind of support not only directly aids your clients and community, but it also improves your public image and builds rapport with your customer base and the community at large. This kind of rapport and trust will yield huge benefits in the future in terms of customer loyalty and retention. 

3. Become accessible.

Encourage your customers to take their business to your website by making it ultra-convenient with features like webchat. Webchat allows your customers to message you directly from your landing page, and the conversation can move to mobile interfaces for both them and your employees. With everyone moving online during the pandemic, offering messaging provides a convenient, modern, reliable way for your customers to contact your business. 

4. Keep customers updated about possible scams.

Use messaging to keep your customers informed about how to protect themselves from corona virus-related scams and other forms of fraud that might harm them. Communicate frequently to encourage them to exercise caution in handling emails with a COVID-19-related subject line, hyperlink, or attachment, and to be extra careful in responding to COVID-19 related social media posts, texts, or calls. This kind of communication shows your customers that you genuinely care about them and that their safety is your #1 priority. 

5. Make a list of terms.

Many policyholders are unfamiliar with industry-specific terms, and in the middle of a crisis, understanding all of the details in their insurance policy is crucial. Consider making a list of key insurance terms that your policy holders need to know to understand their policies. This will not only be helpful for them, but will help you to increase the efficiency of your contact as your policy holders will be more well-versed and able to ask more specific questions. 

6. Shift your policy focus.

In the face of crisis, demand for specific policies can fluctuate significantly, and it is important to keep track of those trends. For example, we are seeing a general decrease in auto policies and a steady increase in home and property policies in wake of COVID 19. If possible, strategize so that you can focus on policies that are in higher demand in our current circumstances. 

7. Use text.

Follow the lead of the big national brands by encouraging your customers to text you to ask general questions, retrieve documents, or ask questions about their account. Now is the time to make business convenient and something that can be done on the go, and text is the way to do it. With the right messaging tools, you can automate answers to these questions, saving valuable time for you and your employees. 

8. Maintain a connection with your clients and staff.

Using secure messaging, keep your clients and staff in the loop about upcoming meetings, evaluations, claims settlements, or document signings. Also keep your clients updated with any changes in business hours, or if you are moving to a work-from-home status as a business. You can even reach out to past clients with messages of hope and support to let them know their wellbeing is your top priority. Maintaining connection and transparency will help you build relationships of trust that will be even more important in terms of future business. 

9. Facilitate interactive online client meetings.

One way to protect your clients and maintain effectiveness is to move online. Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to cancel your meetings with clients and staff. Transition your conversations to phone, video, or other online communication platforms. Using secure messaging, you can quickly send any documentation you may need to go over in your meeting. 

10. Collect feedback through text.

After customer interactions, or other trainings and meetings, it is important to collect feedback from attendees to assess whether your event or meeting was effective. The fastest and most convenient way to do this is through text. Our research shows that the open rate for text is as high as 98% while email sits around 20%. With the right messaging tools, you can use personalized, automated text to get quick feedback and increase your effectiveness. 

11. Equip your staff to succeed.

If you are already at a work-from-home status, you know that working remotely comes with its own difficulties; but if you set the right expectations and prepare your staff well, you can be as effective at home as you are in the office. Be sure to communicate expectations, even over-communicate them, from the beginning. The biggest risk of remote work is lack of communication. With frequent, transparent contact, you can work to ensure this does not happen. Another tip: don’t stop at explaining how you will be working remotely, but explain why as well. Doing so will help you gain buy-in from your staff and clients and will help them to view the transition more positively (resulting in greater efficiency and cooperation!).

Business is not coming to a halt. Not even close. With the right tools and mindset, you can keep your company thriving—under any circumstances. 

Podium is giving small businesses across the country the tools they need to adapt in wake of COVID 19.

With Podium, Brent Thurman has made messaging part of virtually every aspect of his business. “It’s the perfect solution for making it easy for our employees to look for those opportunities to get reviews and to communicate with each other. We have clients all the time that text—even during business hours—rather than calling us. Whether they want a copy of their ID cards or whatever, they just start a chat.” —Brent Thurman, Keystone Insurance

Jeffrey Child
Jeffrey Child Director of Financial Services Named Accounts

Jeffrey Child is an insurance and tax professional at Podium, the leading messaging platform that connects financial service businesses with their members and prospects.

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