As a broker, you know relationships are everything. But amid the chaos of the past year, the largely remote setting may have made it more difficult to stay connected to your clients than you would have liked.
Regardless of the varying circumstances we’ve encountered, we’d likely all agree that relationships are more important than ever. And perhaps that’s even more so the case with clients who have depended on your expertise throughout the pandemic. Nurturing those relationships is a winning business strategy.1
Here are five reminders and tips on relationship-building in today’s environment as we all look ahead to open enrollment season.
1. Nurture relationships year-round.
Continue to let your clients know you are there for them all year long. Cultivating ongoing relationships with your clients means that you’re likelier to hear about opportunities, bids and RFPs with them before they come to fruition. Business experts recommend reaching out with support versus marketing, to keep the focus on caring for your clients.1
2. Ask – and answer – questions.
If you don’t understand the need, you can’t fix it. And if your clients don’t understand the enrollment strategy you present to them, they’re not going to make the most of it. This is one place where the remote workplace can have benefits: Instead of asking questions ad hoc in a conversation, you can draft questions, review their phrasing and send them to clients as a bundle. Consider keeping a running list of questions in a convenient place so you can address them with your clients all at one time, alleviating the need to ask numerous questions at various times. Then note how your clients respond, and consider whether that process will be appropriate to “mirror” when it comes time for you to answer their questions.
3. Understand your clients’ digital user experience.
If the future of enrollments and customer service is digital, it’s important to know what kind of service your clients are getting when you’re not around. Do a mock walk-through from your clients’ perspective of any technologies or portals you ask them to use. Is the user experience, as McKinsey suggests it should be – simple, predictive, proactive and responsive?2 There might not be much you can do immediately to create a better user experience, but the more you know about your own systems, the better equipped you’ll be to discuss them with your tech team and partners.
4. Consider measuring your relationships.
You know that your success is about more than the sales numbers; it’s about the quality experience you provide to your clients. Measuring such categories as ease, holistic experience and satisfaction could help deepen client engagement.3
5. Share in the human connection.
The pandemic has brought us into one another’s homes; we’ve been witness to each other’s shared messiness. You probably already know that your clients’ employees value a personal approach among their own leaders.4 That drive for human connection applies to your clients, too. Remember the Brené Brown TED Talk about the power of vulnerability?5 It’s never been more relevant than it is now.
1 McKinsey & Company. “Adapting Customer Experience in the Time of Coronavirus.” Published April 2020. Accessed 3.10.2021.
2 McKinsey & Company. “Simple, Predictive, Proactive, Responsive: The Future of Customer Operations.” Published 12.7.2020. Accessed 3.10.2021.
3 Deloitte. “Measuring Human Relationships and Experiences.” Published 6.20.2019. Accessed 3.10.2021.
4 Deloitte/The Wall Street Journal. “Employee Experience? Try Human Experience.” Published 8.14.2019. Accessed 3.10.2021.
5 TED. “The Power of Vulnerability.” Lecture given 2010. Accessed 3.10.2021.
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