Customer Service vs. Sales Culture

At ReNu Insurance Group, we understand there is a stereotypical image of the voracious insurance salesperson, always hungry for that sale, ready to pounce on anyone calling into the agency. If we want to counteract this assumption in our customers’ minds, we have to not accompany every service call with a sales pitch, but of course, we can’t simply let opportunities to make sales pass us by! The trick is striking a balance between building a culture that emphases striving for stronger sales numbers and building a culture that strives for optimum customer service.

One way we can try to reach sales goals while not annoying our customers is to be sure sales suggestions are relevant. Picture yourself going through a fast food drive-through: you’ve finally made it to the speaker when there were ten vehicles in front of you, your kids are hangry, you’re tired, and all you want to do is place your order, get your food and go home. But instead of just taking your order, your server first suggests you try the brand new special turducken sandwich with Spanish rice and chili cheese fries. You know he’s wasting his time and yours, but you politely let him finish his spiel, say “no thank you,” and place your order.

We do not want interactions with our customers to be like this. If we make recommendations for additional lines of insurance during service calls, we want to make sure that: first, the customer is in a patient, receptive mood, and second, it’s your professional opinion the customer actually needs that particular line. If the customer is agitated and in a rush, trying to sell to them when they only need a question answered will only make them more annoyed, which could lead to you losing them as a customer, or even having them write a negative review on social media. If the customer seems willing to talk, be sure you keep your recommendations brief and tailored to that customer’s specific needs, or else it will lead to the impression that you just recommend this to everyone, so they probably don’t really need it.

Another way we can get around seeming like we emphasize sales over service is to alter the way we recommend additional lines. If you frame it so you, as the insurance expert, are ensuring your customer is informed about a coverage gap that could cause them a problem down the road, rather than simply suggesting they buy a product, it will make you seem less pushy. The customer may even appreciate that you alerted them to a potential hazard they could prevent!

There is no easy solution to making sure we reach our sales goals while not alienating our customers with the necessary practice of trying to sell to them. There are, however, small steps we can take to make the process more customer-centric by focusing on building relationships and adjusting our strategies to suit different customers’ needs. We hope that you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing boosting your sales numbers in providing the best possible customer service, or vice versa. With time and practice you’ll figure out what works for you and manage to balance the two.


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