How to Handle Losing a Great Client

Moving on after losing a great customer is tough. The shock can linger in your mind for far too long, leaving the rest of your business to suffer. But losing a client doesn’t have to be an entirely negative experience. 

A lost customer can be a wake-up call and a valuable opportunity to change and grow your book of business. So once that account is gone, it’s time to step back, reassess, and make a plan for how you’ll move forward. 

Speak Volumes with Gracious Transition Services

The period after an account changes brokers can be difficult, but your job isn’t done. You likely have documents and information your former client will need.

When you lose a major customer, your first instinct should always be to try and retain them. Think beyond the commission and explain the pain points and risks of canceling a policy and switching carriers, so they are prepared for what comes next either way.

Unfortunately, more often than not, they’ve decided to work with someone new and that won’t change. 

Next, you’ll probably be angry: at yourself, your customer, and maybe even at no one in particular. Avoid an emotional overreaction. If you’re on the phone, take a deep breath and ask why they’re making a change. If you’re corresponding via email, ask a colleague to review your message before your press send. Maintain professionalism and avoid pointing fingers. See what you can learn from this relationship. 

Be gracious during the transition. Provide what your client needs to prevent delays and coverage interruption. Even when they’re no longer your client, helping them will show a lot about who you are as a broker. And it could be something that brings your client back in the future. 

Go Forward and Reassess Your Business 

Losing a client never gets easier, but once it happens, industry experts say it’s vital to make the most of it.

As Chief Insurance Officer at Foresight, Emilio Figueroa encourages brokers to “reach out to the insured to see what the cause [for leaving] is to mitigate future client issues. Communicate with your staff about the cause of the loss and engage your brokers on retention.” 

Ask every exiting client what led to the decision for them to change brokers: it’s not always price related. It could have been a processing issue or service-related: for example, you had a hard time implementing a claims management process that worked well. Payments were delayed and the carrier would drag their feet. With that knowledge, you can change future outcomes with a better approach. 

Understanding why a customer left will position you to retain customers at a higher rate because you can reassess your business.

Address the Parts of Your Business That Cause Customers Pain

You need a mindset shift to improve your service offering. Find areas of weakness, those that caused your client to leave. Most customers switch to a new provider when it becomes painful to work with their existing broker. Maybe the pain is felt in their wallets or in the claims handling process.

Find Ways to Diversify Your Book of Business 

Every broker will go through a loss at some point. For those than take a loss as an opportunity to grow.

“Don’t focus your book of business on keystone accounts. Make sure industry and account size diversity can weather economic impacts on your agency’s worth and evaluation,” said Figueroa.

Review your portfolio. If any clients take up more than 30% of your revenue, diversify so that a loss doesn’t feel like a death knell.  

Find New and Improved Client Strategies

It’s natural to feel pretty low after losing a customer. But it’s not something to beat yourself up over. Lost accounts are part of the insurance industry. It happens to even the best brokers. The best way to move forward is to find what drives you to succeed. 

Motivation to find new customers can come in many forms, but none is quite so powerful as replacing lost income. Use that mentality to drive your hustle as you find new customers. This type of energy can produce an edge. Go out and start working your sales pipeline to close a new account. You likely have a few in the works, and now you can focus on closing them. 

Offer Additional Services 

Generate revenue with your existing block of business. Think about your current clients and what you can do for them. Are there ways to increase your service offering? You can deepen your relationship with them and offset some of the financial pain of losing another client. 

Niche Down for Better Relationships

Drill down into a niche. Who is your ideal client? If you’ve never asked yourself this question, now is the time. Maybe this customer wasn’t the right fit. Talk with your team about the kinds of prospects that fit your business well and start targeting that market. 

Implement Retention Strategies 

Avoiding a lost account starts long before your client says they’re moving on. Develop a retention plan for your agency that focuses on delivering value to your customer. Include goals like check-in meetings, or regular emails, to keep a pulse on your customer. Understand the pain points they experience and offer solutions that eliminate the problems.

Deploy Technology that Helps You Help Your Customers

Leverage technology to create value for your clients. When you save their business money or time, it’s a win for them. Using an insurtech to support your relationship with a customer can deliver even more of the results they love. 

An insurtech like Foresight empowers your client to create a safer work culture. Foresight’s competitive rates can be further lowered through demonstrated safety engagement, supplying added value and increasing the likelihood of renewal.

Foster Resilience 

A lost account doesn’t define you. It’s how you respond that matters.

Build resilience, manage tough moments by adapting, and overcome losses by finding new opportunities. Motivate yourself and your team to develop a pipeline of customers that fit your business model.

Next time you lose an account, you’ll know you did your best and the customer is a simply better fit for someone else’s business.

Author: Foresight

We’re a team of compliance, safety, and commercial insurance professionals transforming workers compensation. We write about technology, trends, regulations, and value-adding services.