In my last post I talked about using the BCG matrix to analyze your book of business. Another good tool for evaluating your strengths and weaknesses for your agency marketing strategy is the customer survey. You can focus your questions on customer satisfaction, asking what customers really think of the service your agency provides. Do they think you and your staff are knowledgeable, helpful, friendly, resourceful, courteous and responsive? Do they think you answer your phone promptly? Are they satisfied with the claims assistance you provide?
Another useful line of inquiry would be to ask them about your communications. Do customers think you communicate with them frequently enough? Do they feel they get “added value” from your agency? Are they “not satisfied, satisfied or very satisfied” with the information your agency provides, whether in the form of newsletters, targeted product brochures or online resources?
Online surveys are easy to create, especially when with one of the free online services, such as SurveyMonkey.com, Zoomerang, Surveygizmo, Surveypro, SuperSurvey and others.
Here are a few tips insurance agencies should keep in mind when creating surveys:
- Keep it simple. If you want to get feedback on customer satisfaction, don’t ask customers for their opinion of your new company logo in the same survey. If you want feedback on your branding, dedicate the entire survey to that subject.
- Keep it short. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes.
- Design most of your questions as closed-ended. Yes or no, multiple choice questions will be easier to analyze.
- Don’t lead the witness. Try to remove any bias from the way you structure the questions. Don’t say, “What do you like best about our customer service?” This assumes the respondent “likes” your customer service on some level and you’re just trying to rank what they like. It would be better to offer respondents a scale of choices — not satisfied, satisfied and very satisfied — and then ask, “What is your overall opinion of our customer service?”
- Don’t use surveys to sell —this goes with not asking leading questions. For example, it would be bad form to ask in a survey “Which retirement planning tool interests you most: annuities, 401ks or IRAs?” Or “What do you like best about our agency?” I know this “survey” approach is sometimes used in insurance sales. And although it might deepen engagement with some people, as some marketers claim, other people will find it manipulative and disingenuous.
- Start your survey with easy, interesting questions. They should also be the questions you’re most interested in getting answered. Get respondents engaged early so that if you have any questions that are more personal, such as demographic questions about age, marital status or income, the respondent will feel more comfortable about answering the question.
In my experience, not many agencies conduct customer surveys. Yet they’re relatively simple to do and insurance customers are impressed that you care enough about their perceptions to ask for their opinions. They are essential tools when conscientiously evaluating strengths and weaknesses for creating marketing plans. Finally, if someone says something really nice about your agency, call and ask them if you can quote them in a testimonial!