Episode 013 — The Digital Broker Podcast

How To Measure and Improve Customer Satisfaction (Featuring Eric Wistrand)


In this episode of “The Digital Broker” podcast, Steve and Ryan talk with Eric Wistrand of Couch Braunsdorf Insurance Group about measuring and improving customer satisfaction.

Eric explains how his agency utilizes a survey known as Net Promoter Score (NPS) to drastically improve their client experience.

By listening to this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Net Promoter Score (NPS) surveys work
  • How NPS can measures customer satisfaction
  • How NPS can positively impact agency employees and culture
  • Best practices for getting started with NPS at your agency
  • How to properly execute NPS and integrate it into your agency’s operations

Full Recap

Insurance agencies sell a product that is very hard to differentiate from their competitors. As a result, the biggest differentiation point comes down to the service they provide in the form of customer satisfaction and experience. It’s crucial that agencies have a way to measure the performance of their customer experience.  (3:30)

What Are Net Promoter (NPS) Surveys and How Can They Measure Customer Satisfaction?

NPS surveys tend to be different than other survey formats in that an NPS survey is purposely designed to be short and sweet. The methodology of other surveys, such as a CSAT, are rooted in asking the customer a long list of questions and incentivizing the customer to respond. These longer formatted surveys result in lower quality answers as respondents get “survey fatigue.” They also can produce biased answers since the respondent was incentivized to participate.

An NPS survey never asks more than 10 questions but at its core, it essentially asks the customer two basic questions:

  1. Based on your most recent interaction with our agency, how likely are you to recommend our services to a friend or colleague rated on a scale of 0 to 10?
  2. Why did you rate us this way?

The beauty of the NPS methodology is that you’re not just learning about customer satisfaction but you’re learning about customer loyalty. You’re finding out whether the customer is willing to put their reputation on the line and recommend your service or product to people in their lives that trust them.

For insurance agencies, customer lifetime value is the key to profitability and keeping a customer happy and around long-term is the defining factor of success. NPS surveys allow you to gauge the loyalty of your customers. (4:10)

NPS surveys break responses into three segments:

  1. Detractors (0 to 6): Your agency has done something to make the customer very unhappy.
  2. Passively Satisfied (7 or 8): Your agency hasn’t done its job to really make the customer happy but you haven’t truly offended the customer either.
  3. Promoters (9 or 10): Your agency has made these customers extremely happy and they’re most likely to recommend your agency to their friends or families. (22:55)

How Do You Start Using NPS and Which Customers Should You Survey?

Rolling out anything new within an insurance agency can be challenging so it’s always best to start with a subset. Eric and his agency wanted to find a subset of customers where the point of contact was also the decision maker. This was important because to have a successful NPS survey, you want the respondents to be individuals who are directly interacting with the agency. Based on this, Eric decided to initially implement NPS surveys with a book of personal lines rather than corporate accounts where the decision maker (ie. CFO) is rarely the point of contact. (6:55)

What Happens After Responses Come in?

The feedback received from an NPS survey is only as valuable as your agency’s ability to act on it. The people who provide a 0 to 6 scores on the survey are known as “detractors” and it’s important to take action immediately and fix the poor experience that detractors have had.

At Eric’s agency, they read through the 0 to 6 responses and do what they call “closing the loop,” in which they bring all the employees of the agency who were involved in that customer interaction (ex. Account Manager/CSR, Producer, Line Manager) and work through it as team to find a solution. (10:00)

The sooner you get in touch with a detractor after they’ve completed the survey, the better. For Eric’s agency, they set a limit of 24-hours. This ensures the customer knows they’ve been heard by your agency and that you’re actively working on fixing the problem.

Quickly responding also creates a “safety valve” for the customer. It’s their outlet for letting your agency know that they’re upset about something. Most customers will tell you their complaints if you simply ask. The problem is that most agencies don’t ask because they’re afraid to hear the answers (11:40)

How Often Should You Run NPS Surveys?

You don’t want to survey the same account or person too many times otherwise you’ll become annoying. Eric’s agency sends surveys to an account after they have an interaction with someone at the agency, however, they set a 30-day rule in which an account can never be sent a survey more than once within 30-days. An account typically receives a couple surveys over the course of a calendar year. (22:05)

How NPS Can Positively Impact Employee Culture

Implementing NPS surveys can also have a positive impact within your agency’s culture if implemented correctly. It’s very important that when a negative response comes in, your agency doesn’t point fingers or blame. Rather, employees should come together as a team to find a solution which also creates an environment of continuous performance improvement.

By analyzing the negative feedback, you can identify areas and processes that need improvement. This will allow your agency to better allocate resources and tools to areas in the agency that need it most. The result of this is often happier employees. Many times the employees who are struggling to deliver a great customer experience are doing so because they lack the resources or bandwidth required. (13:45)

In the case of Account Managers/CSRs, the NPS feedback can become a quantifiable way to measure their value on the agency, which is often times overlooked. In Eric’s agency, they create composite scores from NPS survey results to derive bonuses for their Account Manager/CSRs. This is welcomed by the employees because no longer are they being valued based on a subjective metric that their boss came up with but rather a very measurable metric that they can look at, be proud of, and trust. (18:40)

Using NPS Results For Agency Growth

The customers who fall in the Promoter segment, those who rated your agency a 9 or 10 on their NPS survey, can be a great source of referral business. Many times they will recommend their friends or family if you ask them.

They will also provide you higher ratings/reviews on sites such as Yelp, Google, and Facebook. If you run a campaign to get more reviews, you can target just your Promoters. (23:30)

Tools For Executing NPS Surveys

There are many softwares and tools that can be used for running NPS scores. It can be done for a fairly low cost. Several tools that Eric suggests:

More About Eric Wistrand

Eric Wistrand is the IT Director for Couch Braunsdorf Insurance Group based in New Jersey. He’s been in the insurance industry for eight years and has a background in consulting.

You can contact Eric via LinkedIn.

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