Now more than ever, having a strong relationship with your insurance clients matters. In fact, according to a study by Harvard Business Review, emotional connection matters more and results in more valuable clients than high satisfaction.
Your connection with clients plays a large role in enhancing the quality of their experience with your business, and client experience is as valuable as the service itself.
A deeper connection with clients also enables you to provide higher quality services and be more efficient in your processes.
But the value of the client-provider relationship has been lost as processes have become automated and digitized. You can use more efficient processes, but it’s essential to hold on to the core connection you build with your workers’ comp clients along the way.
Forming client relationships doesn’t end once you’ve made a good impression or the contract is signed. Much like your personal relationships, the connection you have with a client needs to be maintained over time, whether it’s a business or individual. You have to keep wooing them for the long haul.
The Importance of Connecting With Your Clients
How you connect with people will affect their willingness to choose you as their insurance provider, and it will influence the tone of your relationship from thereon. Better relationships won’t just encourage you to do better and make your work more meaningful; they’ll also help your clients get more out of your service.
Following a strictly business protocol isn’t a good idea as it keeps you from reaping the many benefits of connecting with your clients, including:
- Growing your client base
- Improving client loyalty
- Mitigating risk
- Enhancing work efficiency
- Creating business advocates
- Inspiring innovation
Growing Your Client Base
Connecting with clients is part of providing a great experience, and clients who feel connected to you are more likely to choose your business over the competition.
On top of an expanding client base, studies show that 81% of consumers are willing to pay extra for a better experience – further benefiting your business.
Improving Client Loyalty
A better experience also increases satisfaction with your business. In this way, building long-term relationships fosters client loyalty and reduces your churn rate (the number of clients you lose in a specific time frame). The average business loses about 20% of its customers annually by not attending to relationships.
With a reduced churn rate comes better return on investment as it’s cheaper to retain clients than it is to attain new ones.
Many tactics for connecting with workers’ comp clients double as ways to mitigate risk.
For example, better client connections improve communication, and good communication prevents misunderstandings that can lead to mistakes or improper treatment.
Strong client relationships also help when problems arise because clients that feel close to you are less likely to sue or post bad reviews online.
Enhancing Work Efficiency
Part of connecting with clients is getting to know them better. This is furthered by the fact that connecting inspires insurance clients to be more trusting, open and honest.
And the better you know your clients, the better you can serve them.
Connecting with clients also boosts efficiency when you need things from them, as they’re more likely to listen and do what you recommend.
Creating Business Advocates
Clients you build relationships with come to appreciate you and turn into advocates for your business. As advocates, they’re more likely to spread word of your services to their peers and industry associates, as well as provide you with positive testimonials and reviews.
Between your advocates and the business they help bring in, you gain the option to reduce your marketing spend or to continue to expand your company.
When you have a strong relationship with your business clients, you learn more about their needs and desires. This insight can inspire you to develop new solutions that improve your services, grow your offerings and meet these needs.
You can also use client feedback to streamline business and improve efficiency.
How to Foster Connection in Workers’ Compensation
Make Communication Comfortable
It should be easy for your clients to reach you at all times. Some businesses rely on automated messaging systems, but these can feel impersonal and frustrating to callers.
Workers’ comp can be a messy ordeal, and you want your clients to feel comfortable contacting you with their questions, so they never hesitate or feel like a bother. Reassure clients that there is no question too stupid to ask, and remind them that you’re here to guide them and provide answers as they need them.
They should also be able to trust that you’re always happy to receive their call or email. Having clear expectations of when and how they can reach you – whether by email, text or phone – lets them know they aren’t crossing boundaries.
Multilingual clients will feel more comfortable speaking with you if you speak their language or hire interpreters who can.
Always Respond Within an Hour
Set up a system that enables you to reply to clients within an hour. Responding quickly helps others feel like you value them and their time.
One study showed that businesses that contact leads within an hour of receiving a query were seven times more likely to qualify that lead than those that responded over an hour later. They were 60 times more likely to than those that responded a day later.
Even if you’re busy, it’s best to find a way to make time to respond to clients in a timely fashion – even if that means reaching out to say you’ll be in touch soon.
It’s not enough to answer when a client reaches out. Providers always have to listen attentively to everything their clients have to say. Active listening is more than hearing their words and responding; it’s listening carefully, not just waiting for your turn to speak and remembering the details.
Practicing your listening skills results in better customer service, thoughtful replies, your clients’ appreciation and deeper connections.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
It’s a good idea to start your conversations with clients with open-ended questions. These are questions that encourage a response beyond “yes” or “no.” For example, “How are you doing?” is an open-ended question, whereas clients can answer “Are you doing well?” with a simple yes.
Using open-ended questions from the start encourages the client to speak more, makes them feel like you care and helps remove tension from the get-go. It means you will learn more about clients and be better equipped to foster deep connections and meet their needs.
Open-ended questions are also a great tool for when you need more insight regarding a workplace injury.
Be Positive (At the Right Time)
When you’re around positive people, you’re more likely to feel positive. This is because people naturally pick up on others’ energy and tend to reciprocate it. It also means that if you’re optimistic and confident in your services, your clients will feel that way too.
People also prefer feeling happy, so your clients will enjoy speaking with you more if you have a positive attitude – setting up the stage for nurturing your connection.
It’s vital to note that not all situations call for a happy response. In tough times or when hearing an unfortunate story, as is common in the insurance industry, empathy is a more suitable response. In these cases, you can be encouraging about the future, but you want to make sure you relate to the client first and that they know you care.
Put a Face Behind Your Name
It’s easy for communication to fall to texts, emails and phone calls, but it’s critical to make time to meet with clients in person. Face-to-face communication is the best way to experience another individual and grow a connection. You also gain the ability to see each others’ body language, improving communication.
If you work remotely, have traveled out of state or have long-distance clients, use the digital era to its fullest. There are now several reliable platforms you can use to conduct video calls so that you can see your clients and personalize the experience.
Get a Translator or Interpreter
In 2018, there were a record 67.3 million US residents who spoke a language other than English at home. For several of your clients, English may be a second language, and regardless of their proficiency, it’s harder for them to communicate in English than their first language.
Speaking to your clients in their preferred language can help you connect with them better. It makes communication more efficient, preventing misunderstandings that can be risky or deadly in industries like workers’ compensation. It also helps foster trust by making clients feel valued as people.
It’s unlikely that you are fluent in all the languages preferred by your diverse clients, so it’s best practice to hire professional interpreters and translators in these instances. Interpreters can translate oral speech between you and your clients while providing insight into relevant cultural differences. Document translators can help you craft accurate legal documents in your client’s language.
Clients are vulnerable. They need help because they can’t do something on their own, and they have to rely on you. This is especially true for serious vulnerabilities, such as workers’ comp clients whose businesses are directly impacted by results or have injured employees.
Be sure to reassure clients that they are in good hands whenever possible. Make it clear that you are an expert and that you are here, first and foremost, for them. Without lying, help them feel understood and let them know that you have worked with similar cases. Great testimonials from other clients go a long way.
Acknowledge Their Differences
While you want clients to know that you have experience, you don’t want to make them feel like just another fish in the sea or that you’re missing the details and intricacies of their unique situation.
Let clients know that you see those differences and plan on customizing their solutions to get the best results.
Learn How to Communicate Effectively
Effective communication does more than help you save time as a service provider. Communication is the foundation of how humans bond with each other. It includes the words we speak, the tone we use, our body language and more.
There are many ways to improve client communication, including paraphrasing, staying consistent and meeting them where they are. To learn more, check out our guide on How to Communicate With Clients Effectively.
Make a Plan and Set Expectations
One of the best things you can do for your clients is make a clear plan and set expectations right away. As mentioned, your clients are likely in unfamiliar territory – a new situation dealing with new processes, paperwork and complications. They don’t know what to expect, and with uncertainty comes anxiety.
A step-by-step plan with a timeline will help guide your clients in what to look forward to while showcasing your expertise. It removes some of the uncertainty they may be feeling about the process or you as a provider while building trust.
Defining expectations also reassures clients about what they are getting out of the relationship. Regular check-ins are a great way to ensure healthy communication is occurring and that your client feels confident in the progress you’re making.
Go Above and Beyond
Exceeding client expectations may seem obvious, but it’s at the forefront of any successful business strategy. Doing a great job contributes to a better experience and greater trust between the parties involved. Most people can do their job, but not everyone does it better than clients anticipate.
If you can leave a lasting impression, clients are more likely to return and spread word of your business.
You don’t have to spend so much time trying to go above and beyond that you lose profit. All it takes is paying attention to the details and going the extra mile where you can (e.g., following up or making reports more attractive).
No matter what, don’t overpromise. It makes it easier to avoid disappointment and surpass expectations.
Establish a Process for Feedback
Feedback is how you improve your business, perform better and show that you put client needs first. Ask clients if there’s anything they particularly love or if there are areas you can do better.
Having a process for attaining and applying feedback establishes a deeper connection with current clients by helping them feel heard, taken care of and that you’re willing to adjust. Improving also allows you to build stronger relationships with future clients.
And, 77% of customers have a more favorable view of brands that ask for and accept customer feedback.
If you do receive feedback, act on it quickly and be transparent about the steps you are taking.
Mistakes happen, you get busy and emergencies come up. When these things occur, it’s vital to be upfront with clients. You don’t need to give them the nitty-gritty details, but you do need to provide a plan for fixing or overcoming the problem at hand. Doing so will encourage understanding and trust that you have things under control.
You may feel inclined to wait to contact the client until you fix the situation, but this can damage client relationships if it’s something they should know about or if they’re waiting on your reply.
Make a Plan for Dealing With Upset Clients
A time may come where you have to handle upset or frustrated workers’ comp clients. It may be due to a mistake, miscommunication or any number of things. Having a plan in times like these will help mitigate the risk of the customer leaving, suing or spreading negative sentiment towards your company.
Be sure to listen to their side of the story, and don’t argue with them or assign blame. Be patient and come ready to work out a solution.
Only Sell What They Need
It’s natural to want to make a profit, but if you overcharge a client or sell them plans that provide more coverage or service than what benefits them, they’ll feel ripped off. It’s better to have their backs so that they feel connected to you as a provider and continue to come to you. It turns into more financial gain in the long run.
Be Grateful for Your Clients
Without clients, you wouldn’t have a business or a job. It’s easy to forget when you’re always working on meeting their needs and helping them out, but it’s true.
Showing your appreciation results in reciprocation and fosters better relationships. Doing so verbally is great, but consider a handwritten note or small gift that better portrays the full extent of your gratitude.
Truly caring about providing excellent service and connecting with your clients will make all the above easier because you’ll want to do it. When it’s not a chore or something you’re only doing because you have to, it will come more naturally and feel genuine to clients.
If you’re not authentic, it can come across in your body language or tone.
Connecting With Your Clients in Hard Times
When your client is going through a tough time, it’s important to be there for them and provide an extra level of care. This is especially the case when you’re a professional in healthcare or workers’ compensation insurance.
Whether your client is suffering through an injury, illness, business threat, recession or pandemic, consider taking the time to deepen your relationships.
Check In With Clients
During tough times, make an effort to check in with your clients and see how they are doing. Do it in person if possible, but if distance, scheduling or a pandemic is an issue, consider sending them a video. Ask how they are holding up and hear them out.
This isn’t a time to sell a service but to remind them of you and show you care. Consider referring sources they may find helpful if appropriate.
Provide Applicable Expertise
If the hard times at hand are universal, you can take reaching out to the businesses you insure a step further by providing free help or expertise. Consider hosting meetings or informative sessions with tips on getting through the times. Make sure that any information you present is relevant and valuable.
If you’re hosting webinars, consider using a video interpreting service, so it’s accessible to all viewers.
Clients will appreciate you taking the time to go the extra mile to support them.
Connect With Relevant Media
When COVID-19 first ravaged the world and social distancing became the norm, people turned to digital platforms to connect with others. This is one example of how you can utilize social media and newsletters to reconnect in hard times.
Share your and clients’ experiences, relate to the people and post helpful information and guides.
Even if a client issue is personal, like an injury, sharing relatable stories or content at any time can help current and potential workers’ compensation clients connect with your company.
You can help your business clients out by referring other clients or connections to them when the opportunity arises. In the same way they contribute to and may advocate your business, you can give back to theirs. This can deepen your client relationship for the long haul as they will appreciate your help and thoughtfulness.
Start Building Long-Lasting Relationships
Connecting with workers’ comp clients is no longer just a simple tip to consider. A mutually beneficial and strong relationship is key to providing an excellent experience that keeps clients coming back and brings new clients in. It’s also one of the best ways to prevent many client risks that come with working in insurance.
Connecting comes with a host of benefits and is easy to do as long as you are genuine and know how to do it.
If you’re looking to deepen your connections with and provide better service to your multicultural clients, reach out to the translation experts at iLingo2. We’ll make sure that your relationships are founded on understanding, accuracy and trust.