How to future-proof your business

How to future-proof your business

As an intermediary, you experience the same vulnerabilities as any other business in South Africa: a weakened rand, political instability and an uncertain trading environment. That’s why Santam is committed to helping you flourish with a few sure-fire ideas on future-proofing your intermediary business.

Map your client experience

These days, a customer-centric company is expected to be more than one that provides good service – it’s about putting yourself in your customers’ shoes at every interaction. Every single touchpoint makes an impression, from how you answer the phone to your reception room, website and social media presence. From the awareness stage, through to the purchasing process up to post-purchase, it’s important to map your customer’s journey to ensure that you are the best you can be at every stage.

The first step to take is to create a customer journey map (if you do an online search, you’ll see that it resembles an infographic). You can use a specific online tool such as Smaply or any project management tool such as Trello or Asana to gather information, share ideas and put together your visualisation. Or brainstorm with your team using a whiteboard or sticky notes to gather your ideas.

To get started, decide:

  • Which client journey are you focussing on – you may have to create different ones for business, agriculture and personal lines clients.

  • Get input from your staff – host a brainstorm where everyone can give ideas where they think the gaps are in customer service or communication.

  • Talk to your clients: ask them informally where they would like to see you improve (a simple email will suffice) or use a free tool such as SurveyMonkey for a more organised opinion survey.

  • Understand your unique customer relationship life cycle – write down what works and see how you can improve on it. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. 

  • Don’t get analysis paralysis where you feel completely overwhelmed by all the data you’ve gathered. Decide on a few quick fixes and implement them. It could be as simple as offering a WhatsApp number on your email signature for improved communications.

Look for new ways to be ‘found’

As consumers become more tech savvy, they become less receptive to outbound or ‘push’ marketing. They are more likely to do a quick online search to review a product. According to one study*, South Africans spend 8 hours on the internet daily. Therefore, it’s imperative for your business to be present and easy to find through a website, opinion articles on your blog and by having a strong social media presence. Here are a few ideas on improving your visibility:

  • Social media: Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn are the top 3 most active social media platforms in South Africa.

  • Video content: Think you have nothing to say on camera? Think again. Many intermediaries use video content to showcase a business philosophy, for an FAQ series, to explain products and services, for client testimonials and much more. Beyond YouTube (the 2nd most active social media platform in SA), you can post it to your website, send it via email or use it as a premium download.

  • LinkedIn is ideally suited to business networking. Be sure to update your profile with your skills, experience and client testimonials. Get more ideas here.

  • Opinion leadership: Use LinkedIn’s self-publishing tool, Pulse, to share your views on risk management, or write a weekly/monthly blog article.

  • Facebook: Add a ‘get a quote’ function on your business page to make it easy for potential clients to get in touch. Targeted Facebook advertising is an affordable way to speak to certain groups of clients.

Sell your value proposition

It’s a tough economy, we know, but you don’t have to compete on price alone. Apply your value proposition to grow your business. This ‘in-a-nutshell’ that sets you apart from competitors can improve every part of your business, from marketing and sales to customer service and recruitment. If you haven’t narrowed down yours, this article runs you through the steps.

 

Put your value proposition to use in the following ways to sell your business:

 

  • Streamline your business strategy: once you’ve highlighted your strengths, you might find that you should focus more on one type of client, e.g. farmers.

  • Create headlines and sub-headlines for marketing messages on your website, social media, etc.

  • Collaborate with the insurers you work with to ensure that your value proposition is aligned with what the insurer offers.

  • Use it as part of staff training – to ensure that everyone understands and supports what makes your business unique.

  • Sell your business to potential employees, ensuring that you attract like-minded people.

Stop client ‘churn’

It can cost up to 5x more to win new clients than to keep existing ones, so it’s important to know the warning signs when a client could consider leaving your business for another. It could be obvious things such as better dealing with client complaints but you could also formulate an upselling action plan around life events, for example:

  • Contract renewal: Use an administrative or sales tool to keep tract of contract renewals or anniversaries, and be sure to get in touch with a client well in advance. Be pro-active to see whether they are still happy with their insurer, the claims process, etc.

  • Marriage/divorce/death: With these life events, people tend to review insurance cover. By being pro-active and supportive, you can continue to be a trusted sounding board for a newly married couple/single person/widow.

  • Buying property: If a client buys a holiday home or invests in a new business property, see it as another opportunity to review cover to ensure that he/she doesn’t move their business elsewhere.

If you want more advice on growing your business, visit the dedicated intermediaries section of our blog. Articles such as the 7 main industry changes coming over the next few years will help you flourish in a tough trading climate. Get in touch with your relationship manager or contact us if you have any queries about Santam products.


*Source: https://www.slideshare.net/wearesocialsg/digital-in-2017-southern-africa

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