I read an article recently in “Carrier Management” entitled “Practical Tips for Disrupting Insurance Distribution”. Of course that caught my attention because I’m an insurance agency owner. And it’s ME that someone is trying to disrupt (AKA bankrupt)!
The article quoted CoverHound CEO Keith Moore extensively. CoverHound is an online insurance agency that has raised nearly $50 million dollars in venture capital and quoted tens of thousands of policies in the last couple of years. The essence of what Moore had to say was that customers want excellent service and advice.
What was encouraging to me as an insurance agency owner without $50 million to spend on marketing and smart software is that people are people and what they want is essentially the same as it ever was. Phew!
Now, what I found interesting was Moore’s seemingly relentless focus of customer satisfaction. THAT is a brilliant business strategy for a business dependent on happy customers. At CoverHound, they use the metric of “Net Promoter Score” to constantly measure success at achieving happy customers.
The NPS is a ratio of the number of people who promote (refer) you versus the number who criticize. The higher the ratio the better. Moore says “being an NPS company is not easy” and therein lies the biggest value of the article.
Most agencies never ask their customers if they are pleased, and, although people want the same things, they always want them faster and more conveniently than ever before. So, pleasing people is tough and getting tougher. If you don’t ask how you’re doing, you’re likely not doing as well as you should. This is CoverHound’s experience. So, they ask everyone. And they focus their entire company and everyone’s compensation on getting very high scores.
In fact CoverHound’s number one business metric is the NPS. In other words they measure themselves on customer satisfaction believing that will lead to all of the good things a successful company strives for.
CoverHound and the other online insurance distribution disrupters don’t scare me simply because they’re online. The threat they pose is that they will do a better job of pleasing customers with great advice, fast service, and terrific coverage options than a traditional agent. If they’re successful, it will be because of this focus not their online capability.
What does this mean for the traditional agent? The message is simple: do an increasingly better job of pleasing your customers and make sure you’re verifying their happiness by asking them or we are going to take them away from you. This is ultimately good news for good agents! But it’s also great advice for those who want to stay in this business long term.