ACG - Agency Consulting Group

The PIPELINE

A national monthly newsletter for agency principals dedicated to agency management topic

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Customer Satisfaction Surveys have not yet become popular in the insurance agency business. Too many agency owners fear, rather than look forward to, the results of a survey of their customers. Some agents have tried self-designed surveys but have found that the results are extremely inconclusive because they don not know the right questions to ask. But Customer Satisfaction Surveys and the Focus Groups that can follow them are the only ways of finding out what your customers really want and whether you are providing them the quality of service that you think you are.

Building Service Excellent

The Customer Satisfaction Survey is a superb tool to create service excellence within your organization by reacting directly to customers needs and desire.

For too long we have guessed what the customers need and want. Our success has been determined by how closely our guesses of their needs converge with their true needs and wants. the customer Satisfaction Survey permits you to know what your customers feel is important and allows you to build your team and operation to match those customer desires. The Customer Satisfaction Survey will also tell you where your customers feel you are strong and where you are weak.

Areas Covered by the Survey

The questions designed by the Agency Consulting Group in its Customer Satisfaction Surveys are tailored for your specific type of agency and are designed to illicit customers true feelings about your organization. Some of the categories covered in the survey are:

1) Delivery of services

2) Dependability and accuracy

3) Perception of individualized services

4) Employee knowledge

5) Promptness of service

6) Employee empathy

7) Perception of the agency's physical appearance

How the CSS is conducted

When an agency assigns us the responsibility of performing the Customer Satisfaction Survey a letter (prepared by our office) is sent to your customers on your letter head along with the survey form itself. A postpaid envelope to the Agency Consulting Group is included with the survey. Agency Consulting Group collates, tabulates and analyzes the responses. A report is prepared that clearly indicates where your customers feel you are strong and in what areas you are weak. Agency Consulting Group either presents the report directly to your team in order to create action plans for strengthening areas important to your customers, or simply send you the final product. Agencies participating in Total Quality Management initiatives follow up the Customer Satisfaction Survey with focus groups conducted by Agency Consulting Groups staff on different homogeneous groups of customers. The results of the survey are shared with the customers and they are asked to assist in the improvement plan for the agency. We have found that when the customers are included in the development plan and the employees are responsible for it, the chances of positive changes in an agency rise dramatically. The Customer Satisfaction Survey becomes both a public relations tool and a self analysis tool for the agency.

Who Knows Best What the Customer Wants?

Successful entrepreneurs profit by giving the customers what they want. But who determines what the customer wants? We all know that the customers need high quality and comprehensive insurance products. We believe they desire the lowest price available. But if low price is the key and if most insurance contracts are relatively similar, why don't all customers buy from the lowest priced insurance company - all the time??

The answer is that while price is important other factors determine where a customer buys his insurance. If the lowest price agency is also the most difficult, customers will seek excuses to leave them. If the grade of service in an agency is consistently excellent, customers will stay even if your price is not the lowest (as long as it is competitive). The Customer Satisfaction Survey is a unique tool to determine:

1) What does a customer want from your insurance agency?

2) Are you satisfying your customers wants?

3) What are your customers perceptions of your strengths and weaknesses?

Whether you know that your business needs a great deal of improvement or whether you think that you are the best in the business, the Customer Satisfaction Survey will give you a great deal of worthwhile information. We urge you to consider it as one of the tools that you use in analyzing the future direction of your business.