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April 30, 2019

Service as a Differentiator? Hmm

Summary:

If you find yourself claiming that your agency wins by providing better service, you really need to rethink your message.

Photo Courtesy of Pexels

If only I had a dollar for every time I heard an insurance agency claim, “What really sets us apart from our competition is the level of service we provide.” If I did, I’d likely be writing this blog from the cabin with my 40-foot yacht moored behind my oh-so-big beach house. 

If you find yourself making this service claim, you really need to rethink your message. If it isn’t downright killing your growth, it is, at the very least, holding you way back. 

I understand the spirit and intent of the service as a differentiator (SaaD) message, but it’s a total cop-out, and it’s doing harm in ways that you never recognize as unintended consequences of the claim. 

Avoid the bad mojo 

When promoting their great service, most agencies are talking about how fast they respond to the needs of their clients, helping them fix something that is broken. They only get to demonstrate their supposed greatest value when something has gone wrong. 

Do you really want every interaction with you and your team to be attached to a negative event? Especially when you are likely the one who advised them to engage with the guilty party in the first place?

See also: How to Use AI in Customer Service  

No wonder they think all brokers are the same 

This SAAD message is often the goto play when trying to close a new deal. After you and your competition have all rolled out the same spreadsheet and the same capabilities presentation, you pull out your SAAD card. But guess what? Every one of your competitors is making the same SAAD claim. 

Think of how ridiculous this play is. There is NO WAY your prospects can experience your service until they hire you and something goes wrong with the plans you put in place. (Sounds crazy just typing it out.)  

Minimum expectations 

Perhaps the saddest part of the SAAD message: If brokers don’t provide good (even great) service, what do you think would happen? THEY’D GET FIRED!! And rightfully so. The broker wouldn’t even be meeting the minimum expectations of the client. 

When you are suggesting someone hire you because you provide great service, you are suggesting they hire you simply because you can meet their minimum expectations. Is this really brag-worthy? Of course not! 

You know it’s true 

Yet, somehow this is ingrained in the very fiber of most agencies. We know this is the case because we ask. And, it is this obsessive focus on promoting great service that is holding back your growth. 

When we take insurance agencies through an analysis to get a clear picture of what is working and isn’t working in their business, we always ask, “Would you describe yourself as a sales or service organization?” The answer is almost always an emphatic “service!”  

Many times, the agencies dislike being thought of a sales organization. Even when the leadership team aspires to be more of a sales organization, there are many on the team who are completely turned off by the idea of selling.  

See also: Insurance Service Rates Zero Stars  

“Sale” may be a four letter word, but so is “help.” When a sale takes place, it shows that you helped another business see a way to improve its situation. You’ve earned that business’ confidence in your ability to help deliver better results. 

I don’t know about you, but I think most prospects/clients are going to be much more impressed when you  promote and demonstrate your ability to help them proactively achieve better results than they are with your promises of great reactive service. If everyone saw themselves as being on the “helping team” instead of getting hung up on the idea of “I don’t sell, agencies would have much healthier top and bottom line growth. 

You can find the article originally published here.

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About the Author

Kevin Trokey is founding partner and coach at Q4intelligence. He is driven to ignite curiosity and to push the industry through the barriers that hold it back. As a student of the insurance industry, he channels his own curiosity by observing and studying the players, the changing regulations, and the business climate that influence us all.

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