Building your CX Brand: Improving Client Retention Rates Through Customer Service
by Chad Donnelly
This next statement may elicit an eyebrow raise, a dubious chuckle or a dismissive “PFFFT!”, but I’m ready to defend it.
Dealing with our client services team is something our customers look forward to!
We tested a theory with proven results, a 98% client retention rate for our business.
In fact, I want to map out how and why my partners and I intentionally and systematically built a customer service brand to define our boutique health benefits services company.
Experience Doesn’t Always Equal Results
Customer service departments in many industries are infamously known as the squeaky wheel that never gets the grease it needs to run smoothly. It was the one thing I was determined to fix if I had the opportunity.
Fast forward to 2008, when we founded Peak Benefit Solutions. As a company providing benefit plans for companies of all sizes across Canada, of course, our first priority is always finding the best employee plan to meet the needs of staff while saving the company money. But we all agreed that the linchpin for that squeaky wheel, that would make us stand out in our industry, would be to offer a boutique experience with effective and personal customer service for our clients.
Provide Relationships and Solutions
Coming from the insurer side, one of the challenges I often saw was that many times clients would call and they would be dealing with someone new who didn’t know their company, wasn’t overly familiar with their specific benefit plan, and could only offer by-the-book solutions. Many times the same client could call four times a year and speak to four different people; frustrating as a client to not have one person to go to when you run into an issue with a claim or need to add a new employee.
Our report reveals that 96% of respondents say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand. MICROSOFT’s 2017 STATE OF GLOBAL CUSTOMER SERVICE REPORT: https://info.microsoft.com/rs/157-GQE-382/images/EN-CNTNT-Report-DynService-2017-global-state-customer-service-en-au.pdf
When we first envisioned how our client services would function, we analyzed the client pathway after joining us. While we had a general idea of when clients would reach out with problems, we wanted to have a more strategic approach in our delivery of client services, and we envisioned this starting as soon our provider relationship began.
We focused on three aspects of client interaction and committed to delivering them exceptionally well.
A critical priority for us is education for the client staff members responsible for administering the employee benefit plan, but also for the employees. From an employer perspective, it’s critical that your staff understand the value of the plan – what it covers for them and their dependents, the cost savings impact for them, how to secure reimbursements and the protection that it provides for their families.
Training and On-Boarding • Our client services team host education sessions, providing training and on-boarding for benefit administrators so they can best understand the plan and process.
On-Site Information Sessions • We also bring our team on-site to the organization for a full staff information session communicating the value of the plan to all employees. Since employers are investing into a benefit plan to enhance their employees’ lives, it’s critical those employees understand and enjoy the benefits available to them and their families.
Our client service team actually acts as an administrative arm for our clients when it comes to implementation and functionality of the plan; allowing the client more time to focus on their organizational needs while we take on the burden of benefit administration.
These include: adding new staff to the plan, on-boarding education for new team members on benefit plans and claims, supporting clients when there are terminations or navigating the complexities of leaves. With a call to our client services team and providing the necessary details, we can alleviate the administrative components and oversee the changes to the plan, saving the client time and ensuring all the necessary items are complete for maximum impact of the plan.
Complex claims can often lead to complex navigation and that’s where our client services team comes in. Even after our client education sessions, the claiming process isn’t always straightforward, so we play the role of concierge to the insurer, to be sure our clients never have to worry about red tape and work-arounds. Since our team deals with these issues on a daily basis, we are experts in avoiding and circumventing roadblocks and finding solutions for our clients; not only saving them time, but also maximizing their benefit plans to ensure they are doing exactly what they were meant to in providing comprehensive coverage.
Size Your Customer Service Team to Reflect Your Growing Clientele
Our client service team continues to grow as our client base does, an intentional promise we honour to ensure that the service clients have come to expect from us can be maintained, and wherever possible, improved.
We credit this committed group of people, and the rest of our staff, for our exemplary client retention rate, well above industry standards.
Do the Research
For any new or existing business wanting to improve their client retention figures, I would encourage you to take a close examination of client pathway.
To start building your own journey map, ask these questions about your company CX:
For us at Peak, the answers are clear. We live up to our tag line: “Every step of the way, we are with you.” And for us, that means ensuring a customer service experience that is consistently solution-based, timely and rewarding.
CEO & Co-Founder
Peak Benefit Solutions
Chad Donnelly is the CEO and co-founder of Peak Benefit Solutions, a leading benefits company in central Ontario dedicated to providing business with extensive benefit plan options.
With over two decades of experience in the group benefit and retirement industry, Chad is consistently recognized for his unparalleled customer service and individual hands on approach with his clients. He built his business believing all company owners can benefit from his guidance and customized designs for group benefit solutions. Under his leadership, Peak Benefit Solutions has grown to be one of the most respected benefit firms in central Ontario, recognized for both their customer service and solid expertise in benefit plan options.
Chad lives in the Kawartha Lakes region with his wife and their two daughters. He is an avid volunteer with community organizations and coach’s hockey and rugby.
Peak Benefit Solutions Inc. was established in 2008 and have helped more than 400 clients from entrepreneurs, manufacturing, professional services and public organizations with their comprehensive benefits planning. Every step of the way, we are with you.