Referrals deliver some of the valuable leads around, and rendered with a deft hand, a formal program can help you double down on the benefits
There’s a few things you never want to run out of, really. Love, mercy, and compassion. Gas in the tank on a lonely stretch of road. Milk and bread during a blizzard, and, arguably, chocolate.
If you’re an insurance agent or broker, you also never want to run out of referrals.
It would be difficult to overestimate the value of a word-of-mouth recommendation from one customer to a potential one. In fact, it's (almost) not even hyperbole to say that insurance referrals are worth their weight in gold.
Why? Because like the mythical well that never runs dry, the more referrals you get, the more you attract. Which is to say, happy customers tend to beget happy customers — and that is a win by any estimation.
A formalized insurance referral program that delivers consistent, sustainable results is essential to success with referral marketing. Here are some best practices to keep in mind as you build out yours.
Foster Customer Advocacy
Remember, the ultimate goal is creating advocacy, which also happens to be the heart of the last stage in the customer journey.
The classic customer journey map includes four stages: Awareness, Consideration, Decision, and Retention. But as more and more companies conduct business online and at deeper levels, those stages are evolving with new touchpoints.
These days, the customer journey map looks more like this: Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Experience, Advocacy. As you lay the groundwork for referrals by developing client relationships, consider what each stage of the customer journey looks like, and make sure you’re hitting it on all cylinders:
- Awareness is driven through your primary digital business channels: Google searches, social media pages, online ads, emails, lead-generating blogs, and apps. At this stage, brand awareness and expansion are the name of the game.
- Consideration puts you on a customer’s radar. They’re interested in your products and services, but they also want to consider all their options. At this point, the potential customer is looking at your website, eyeballing your LinkedIn company page, and checking out your online reviews and testimonials.
- Decision is when a customer has passed the free trial or demo point, and they’re ready to buy. At this stage a seamless shopping cart experience and secure online payment option are optimal.
- Experience begins with your prospects’ first interactions with your business as a paying customer. Automate the process with onboarding tools like a welcome kit containing customer account support & set-up resources; assisted chat if you offer it; and follow-up emails. These will help set the stage for increased, friendly engagement in other channels, like social media.
- Advocacy is the point where your referral program will come into play. A structured loyalty program with personalized rewards, customer support bolstered by emails, newsletters, and social media engagement are tools that will help forge an emotional connection with your customers. This bond, and ensuring your clients continue to receive the value they got at onboarding are key to generating positive testimonials, reviews, and customer referrals.
Measuring Your Progress
Tracking your results is one of the most important things you can do to build an effective referral program. The data you collect will inform the direction of your program as its footprint increases, and the efforts and resources required to sustain it.
A program that is fully automated from onboarding new customers to the Advocacy stage and beyond will not help run itself, but also collect valuable metrics along the way. Your CRM, which houses your customer contact database, is the natural tool for tracking and sorting potential customer references, actual referrals, and their levels of engagement.
Interested in learning more about how a powerful insurance CRM like Quotit can help you organize and track your referral program, as well as its impact on your insurance business?