My wife recently gave birth to our daughter very early, at just shy of 28 weeks, and is now in the NICU. This experience has been amazing, scary, overwhelming, exciting, and several other feelings that I can’t quite describe.
Now that things have settled down some, one thing that stands out is how some people have a knack for jumping right in and helping, without being asked. It’s very humbling to know that so many people care, and I can’t help but to think this is a skill that can be learned.
Now that I’ve witnessed it, I think I can offer some tips on how you can demonstrate that you care about your clients and their families.
Want to learn more about improving your customer service? Check out An Insurance Agent's Guide to Mastering the Senior Market Client Relationship
Showing Beats Telling
Maybe I’m naive, but it never would have occurred to me to just do something for another person if they’re in the hospital.
When a client is in the hospital, or worse, when a client passes away, most people are going to say to them (or their families) “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” Now that’s fine, and those people have the best of intentions, but in most cases that offer will be forgotten in the amount of time it took to say. What they’ll remember most is the person who took action, sent a gift, checked in, got their mail, bought meals, or showed concern in some physical manner.
Most people are only going to say “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” But not you!
Let’s say you have a married couple of clients named Mildred and Carl. Carl just passed at age 68. By all accounts he was in good shape, and maintained things around the house for his wife. His passing came as a complete surprise to Mildred, and she is devastated. There are a few things you could do here;
- Send her a sympathy card saying, “Let me know if I can do anything”
- Send flowers
- Stop by to deliver a meal in person
Which of these do you think would mean the most to Mildred? Every situation is unique, and if she has a house full of guests that may impact your choice on what’s appropriate, but you should do something, and most people simply won’t ask for help.
And remember, her pain isn’t gone after you stop by one time. It goes on, and many people will move on quickly, but she may not. Put a reminder on your calendar or in your CRM, and follow up with her later. Call to check on her - not because you need to sell her more insurance, but because it’s the right thing to do.
Here’s How You Can Afford It
How much money you spend, if any, is up to you. If you donate to your client’s favorite charity or send a meal to the whole family, it could be expensive, but stopping by to visit is free. The best way to afford this is simple; just plan for it. Open a separate savings account, and put a few bucks from each sale into it ($5, $25, $50?). Keep it up until you have a nice-sized account, then you’ll have money earmarked for those occasions when you want to help your clients. Make this a part of your process.
Once again, this isn’t something you do to get more business, it’s giving back, after your client has been sending you checks for many years in some cases. Show clients and their families that you care, and more business will be a nice side benefit as your reputation for being a compassionate person grows. Relationships matter!
Lastly, in case you’re wondering, our daughter Amelia is doing wonderfully. She’s still in the NICU, an hour away from home, but we haven’t cooked a meal in over a week, and we have lots of little clothes for her, and gas cards for us, thanks to the people who recognized that they could help us out, so we didn’t have to sweat the small stuff.
Update Feb. 2019: This post was written in 2014. Our daughter is doing wonderfully - she's healthy, happy, hilarious, and a handful.
Do you do something different for your clients? Please let us know in the comments below.