Why Working on a Bike Is Like Offering Customers Self-Service Insurance Capabilities 1

Why Working on a Bike Is Like Offering Customers Self-Service Insurance Capabilities

Agency Operations, Personal Lines, Small Commercial Lines, Technology

I was getting ready to do some work on one of my bikes and it got me thinking about how bike maintenance is a little like having the ability to do self-service on my insurance.

Bear with me.

Say I was considering buying this bike from a local shop, but with the understanding if I wanted to do any work on the bike, including pumping up the tires, I would have to bring it to the shop for them to do the work. And by the way, they’re only open Monday-Friday, from 9 to 4:30 and not during the lunch hour.

That would be pretty inconvenient for me.

It would probably be inconvenient for the bike shop employees too. Every time I’d roll in, they’d have to drop doing revenue-generating activities – like tune-ups and selling bikes – to pump up my tires.

With that in mind, I’d probably buy my bike somewhere else that lets me do basic maintenance myself.

Insurance customers have similar expectations. They’re used to having self-service capabilities in their lives, such as mobile banking, or bill pay.

After they buy insurance from you, they may want to get their insurance ID card, look at their insurance documents, request a policy change, or get a certificate of insurance at a time and place that’s most convenient for them.

With an online customer self-service portal or mobile app from my independent agent, I can do those things on my own, 24/7, 365 days a year. For agency staff, the self-service portal frees up costly service time so they can focus on activities that drive revenue.

If you don’t have a self-service portal, check with your agency management system vendor, or consider an insurance mobile app vendor that can tie it to your AMS.

Depending on the complexity of your self-service portal, it might even offer automated cross-sell and upsell capabilities. If it doesn’t today, you can bet it probably will in the future.

Based on our research and consumer research in general, customers who simply know they can access self-service capabilities have higher retention, even if they never use those capabilities.

Here’s the key to making it work though: Inform your customers you have a customer portal and routinely direct them to it to get them in the habit of using it, freeing up your agency staff to work on more important things like selling bikes insurance.

Self-service portals are one of the 15 capabilities highlighted in our new digital framework. Click here to explore the whole interactive framework. 

Dale Steinke

AFTF Advisor and Director of Independent Insurance Agency Growth Strategy

Dale Steinke leads the Agent for the Future Advisors team for Liberty Mutual and Safeco Insurance. Under his guidance, this crack team of small business consultants helps independent insurance agencies attract and retain more business. A skilled public speaker and a former journalist who enjoys discovering and sharing what works, Dale has more than 20 years of experience with digital-first marketing, sales enablement and other technology capabilities relevant to the independent agent channel. A self-described usability geek, he enjoys advising and training agents on using the best digital tools to attract and convert prospects into customers for life. When he’s not helping IAs thrive, you’ll likely find Dale on a long-distance bicycle trip or cooking something tasty for family and friends. 

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