When you are running an insurance agency, you have so many KPIs (key performance indicators) you have to monitor: hit rate, conversion rate, quote rate, decline rate, average premium/revenue, retention rate, loss ratio, and so on. One KPI that is often ignored or simply unknown is the customer LTV or customer lifetime value.
It’s no secret it’s extremely difficult to find and hire top talent, especially if you are a small agency. However, it is often times even more difficult to retain these great employees once you’ve found them. Smaller agencies have the same challenges every other business has: competition from other companies, better salaries, benefits, positions, etc. Unfortunately, they also face additional challenges due to the lack of resources, and frankly, their size.
So how do you keep great employees from leaving when you don’t have the big bucks like the larger agencies or companies?
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes, there are those amazing opportunities that come around that you wouldn’t even turn down. When those come around, there is little you can do to keep that employee from leaving. However, aside from these opportunities, an agency owner has the ability to retain their top employees if he/she focuses on the following key steps.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever checked how many people liked your posts on Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, etc.… Don’t worry; this is a judgment free zone. We’ve all done it at point or another. Just no duck face selfies please.
In these days of instant gratification, 24/7 connectivity, and online social networks, it’s all about speed and ease of use
Why call when you can text?
Why talk when you can tweet?
Why mail when you can email?
You get the point. We are all guilty of it. However, when it comes to getting someone’s attention or building meaningful relationships, it’s not always about your latest post, or vlog. Sometimes, the “old fashion” ways of doing things are the ones worth investing in.
And trust me, it doesn’t cost a lot of money.
Just because it tastes "better," it doesn't mean you should change it.
Sometimes, the best lessons on what to do, is from learning from massive failures on what NOT to do. One of this biggest example is to epic failure of New Coke. The massive failure of New Coke has been well documented. So why am I digging it up decades later. The simple reason is that Microsoft made nearly the same mistakes Coca Cola did decades later with Windows 8. Countless other companies have also made and will continue to make similar mistakes.
If you watch Food Network, Travel Channel, or other similar channels, you have probably seen one of the shows where there is a struggling business, often times a restaurant, bar or hotel, and an expert is brought in to fix the problems and turnaround the business.
When I watch these business makeover shows, I always notice a common theme on why they are failing. Week after week, show after show, the problems are always the same. These businesses always seemed to lack the same things: Leadership, consistent processes, and marketing. These businesses struggle with low revenue, which are exasperated by poor customer satisfaction and employee morale. Not too different from real life. Think of the businesses you avoid going to. What do they have in common?
Poor customer service?
Bad service or products?
The business is just "meh," and doesn’t stand out?
Who is to blame for the business’s failure? Is it the staff?
New Years is the time when majority of people set “resolutions” for the upcoming year. Whether it’s making more money or losing weight, many people set resolutions that unfortunately will never be attained, and there’s a big reason why.
“The best offense is a good defense”
If you’ve ever played or followed sports, you’ve heard that championships are won with defense. Even if you don’t follow sports, logically speaking, if you hold your opponents to zero points, how many points would you have to score to win the game? Conversely, if you allow them to score 100 points, how many would you need to score to win?
So why am I talking about defense and sports?
Too many years ago, when I was in high school, I played sports like basketball and volleyball for the school teams. As much as I loved playing the sports, being 5'9" made it quite a challenging to succeed in tall people sports. In spite of this, I found some success and even made varsity.
However, as I played on these teams, I never truly felt the sense of “team”. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun. But many times, it felt like we were several individual players playing the same game, instead of a team trying to achieve a common purpose.
The activity that brings me the fondest memories and also taught me the most about teamwork, mindset and winning, was not playing sports, but being in the marching band
People leave bad leaders, not companies.
Finding and hiring great talent is tough. Keeping great talent is even more difficult. In fact, one of the top reasons why people leave positions is due to bad leaders. As great as a company or agency can be, a bad leader can cause the organization to lose great talent it should have retained.
One of my favorite TV shows is Shark Tank. In fact, my kids watch it with me religiously. They still don’t quite get concepts like valuation and equity, but they love cheering on the entrepreneurs, and critiquing their businesses like the sharks. Even though the show is designed to entertain, there are always good core business lessons in every show.
The fundamental flaw of every entrepreneur, myself included, is that we fall in love with our business. Why not? We put our heart and soul into the business. It doesn’t matter if you are starting your agency or have been in the trenches for decades; it’s your blood, sweat and tears. It's your baby.